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Farewell, from Lanny

I will never forget “the call.”

This journey began for me with some encouragement from my assistant principal, Jen Bourque. “You should start a blog,” she told me one day in her office. “You have a lot to teach people.” So I did. And for all of you who have done this- you launched a blog- you will remember the exhilaration, the worry- will anyone think this is any good? Will anyone read what I write?

And then… my first retweet of a blog post! And from none other than the formidable and wonderful Fran McVeigh, a friend to many of us in the literacy community. I felt I had crossed a threshold. I was off to the races! as they say.

Flash forward a few years, when “the call” came. Turning the corner one overcast and otherwise normal school day, I began to make my way around the lake toward my home. Suddenly, I noticed a rather lengthy Direct Message pop up on my phone. Curious, I pulled over to read it. Opening up the message, I noticed it came Stacey Shubitz, the Chief of Operations of a blog I had been following for years entitled, “Two Writing Teachers.” She had extended an invitation to discuss a possible co-authorship position with the TWT Team. I felt similar exhilaration and worry- could I really take this on? I wondered.

It has now been three and a half years since that fateful message arrived. Since then, it has been my great honor and privilege to write alongside this amazing and dedicated team: Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Melanie, and recently Amy, Marina, and Therapi. This work has pushed me in some of the most gratifying ways, and for that I will always be grateful.

That said, a different “call” has now sounded: the time has come for me to depart from my role as co-author in the TWT Community. With new complexity posed by our current COVID reality, and a still-very-young family, I am finding that work-life balance now means deepening my focus within a shorter list of commitments. I want to thank Stacey for the opportunity to contribute here on Two Writing Teachers- Stacey, thank you for believing in me and the power of my writing. I also want to thank my co-authors, both past and present, for your support, inspiration, and collaborative spirit. It has been such a pleasure to work with you and read your work (which I will certainly continue to do!) You have all taught me what it means to perform a labor of love for the betterment of kids, teachers, coaches, and literacy. You gals rock!

Finally, I want to thank our readers. Please know your comments and retweets mean so much to me, and to all of us- especially now. It has been my honor to know that you have read and valued some of what I have written on this blog. I have learned so much from the insights, comments, and writing that you have shared with us over the years. I consider you all friends, even if I have never met you.

Let me close with a quote from E.B. White that I dedicate to all of you- readers, co-authors, commenters and non-commenters alike: “You have been my friend, and that in itself is a tremendous thing” (Charlotte’s Web, 1952).

I look forward to seeing some of you on Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge days.

Farewell friends and colleagues,




Lanny Ball View All

For more than 27 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

42 thoughts on “Farewell, from Lanny Leave a comment

  1. Lanny, I commend you for making a well-thought-out life decision with your family in mind. We have grown as a community of reflective thinkers and writers during this COVID-19 phase of life. Thank you for your wonderful blog posts as a co-author of Two Writing Teachers. May your writing journey continue with brilliance. Thank you for all your contributions to Two Writing Teachers. You will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have only known you through the slices for a short time, but you have been kind helping me with my posting problems and offering comments on writing. I also enjoyed reading your pieces. I wish you the best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have appreciated your posts so much–loved reading them for your writing craft and loved learning from them for your thoughtfulness and wisdom. I’ll miss reading your posts on this site–and I’m also glad that you are being a role model of knowing when to take care of yourself. That’s definitely something we all need to see mentors doing these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lanny, thank you for your work with TWT over the last few years. Decisions like this are hard to make, but I’m certain it’s for the best. I appreciate all you’ve done and wish you and your family the best in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lanny-
    I am so glad that we met and shared notes and then met again and again. I have been secretly following your posts on TWT because of your wisdom and simplicity and just great story-writing. I will miss having you as my virtual coach! Know that you will be in my thoughts! Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sally, thank you so much for this comment…it means the world to me. I, too, enjoyed our Slicers’ dinner in Baltimore. After hearing your NCTE presentation, in know you are a force to be reckoned with! Thank you for your support and comments over the years. Be well, and I shall see you on SOL Tuesdays 🙂


  6. Your contributions have been well read and helped move us forward as writing teachers and writers! I especially enjoyed your down to earth style and natural voice. Thanks for all your posts! (The interview with Cornelius is a favorite!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wishing you all good things, Lanny. One of the hardest things we must do in life is learn to step back when we can’t do all the things with the level of commitment they deserve.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lanny, you have been kind and generous and inspiring. I will miss your posts. I’m so glad I was able to meet you face to face at NCTE last fall. Seems a lifetime ago… I know there are great and wonderful things ahead for you. Take your time and take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Adieu.
    I look forward to seeing you again in Riverside Church as well as on Twitter or Slice of Life. Your blog posts are a source of wisdom, inspiration, and support as you so readily tie in small moment stories with practical life lessons.
    And the learning. I didn’t know I was your first blog post RT!
    Take care . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think that is amazing that you are able to know when to lessen your list of professional commitments and focus on your family. I always loved your practial posts. Thanks for the time we got to lean in and hear your expertise.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lanny,
    Good luck to you. Thanks for teaching me so much. I’ve always found your blogs to be thoughtful, reflective, and inspiring. I didn’t always have time to read the Two Writing Teachers blog, but I never missed your posts. I somehow made sure fit them in.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is a time where many are prioritizing and simplifying — you, your experience, and wise words will be missed here. However, I have a feeling we’ll still “see” you in cyber world. Here’s to you and your wonderful young family that we have gotten to know just a little bit through your slices. All the best in health and happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I can appreciate the need to pare down, and I’m grateful you will still be joining us to Slice. I look forward to seeing where your path leads through your posts. Stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I appreciate the decision to step away from one thing in order to focus on another…I have not just enjoyed reading your posts, but have learned a great deal and often felt bolstered in my own practice after reading about yours. I look forward to catching glimpses on SOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Noooooo! I will miss your posts so much. They are always so wise, so thoughtful, and filled with ideas that I can use with teachers and students. It sounds like you are making an important decision for yourself and for your family. That will be the right decision. Keep seeking that balance. You will be missed here at TWT.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re leaving, Lanny, but I admire your decision to “deepen your focus within a shorter list of commitments.” These are such hard decisions to make. Thank you for your many thoughtful posts. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

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