the gift we give.

Sharing.  What a gift!  I had the pleasure of spending last week with 25 teachers who were concentrating on becoming more effective writing teachers. 

I’m a firm believer in one of the best ways to become a better writing teacher is to become a writer.  Therefore, each day was devoted to experiencing writing workshop first hand.  We spent time writing and conferring and sharing.

It’s the sharing that gets me.  Each time I lead this workshop, I am amazed at the way writing connects us.  This time, I realized what a gift we give others when we share our writing —  share our lives.  I am a better person after hearing the poems and short stories that were courageously shared.

I’ve also realized how sharing connects people more often than we expect.  A few years ago the class was blessed when one of the teachers shared the story of her husband’s death.  It was a moving story and one that lingers with me even a year later.  She wrote about a stranger who helped her as she approached the accident her husband was in.  He drove her to the hospital and his quiet strength was still charred on her memory years later.  She never knew his name.  Never had the chance to thank him.  So she wrote.

After sharing, I saw her weeping while a man hugged her.  He was the stranger in her story.  Writing workshop — and more specifically, sharing time — brought them together.  Now that’s power.

Often we’re tempted to skip sharing because we have so many other things to squeeze into our days.   The challenge is to not succomb to this pressure.  Sharing is imporant.  In fact, it may be the most important part of writing workshop.  It binds people together, builds community, and makes us want to write more.  All this power and we don’t even have to say a thing . . . we just need to make the time.