I’ve been a writing coach for four years now. My arm was gently twisted at the end of the school year when I was planning on looping my seventh graders into eighth grade. After the painstaking art of decision making I decided to venture out of the classroom to see what life was like for students across grade levels. I assumed I would return to the classroom the following year. I’ve assumed that for the past three years. And with that assumption came a hole-in-the-wall-office that I never made my own. I simply sat up camp with my computer and a photo of my family and the hole-in-the-wall office became a place to stop — dump — check email — and gather materials for the next classroom.
This summer I realized I needed to make it my own. A place I could feel at home. A place I could be a writer and I’d want to write. A place that has tracks of my life and I can find meaning. It’s something I should have done the moment I moved in. Ah . . . live and learn.
In his book, How Writers Work, Ralph Fletcher writes: “Our brains are conditioned to know what to expect in particular spaces . . . Find a place that feels right. Get a good place to sit . . . Make sure you have what you need to start writing. These may seem like small details, but I have found they matter a great deal . . . When you come right down to it, you are the place where your words will grow. But most writers find it invaluable to have a regular writing place, a physical space, where they can water and weed a garden of words (9-10).”
So here are some of the ways I’ve made my space just for me . . .
Baskets and containers and hooks to be homes for things. Photos of those who matter most to me. Part of my “A” collection. Inspiring words. My favorite kind of flower.
Books that inspire me to write and to teach and to live. More of the A collection.
Some color. A bit of whimsy. And black and white art.
So it’s a start. A work in progress. There’s still more to go — like a comfortable chair and a slew of my favorite pens and pencils. And a canvas I’m working on. And more A’s. Definitely more A’s.
And when I return to the classroom I’ll make a space just for me and the other writers who will inhabit the space. It is imperative to our success.
Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.