community · key beliefs · writer identity · writing workshop

And Then. . . IT IS MAGIC

“Anyone who creates understands—that art is not magic. It is work, and work, and work, and then. . . IT IS MAGIC.”

This line jumped off the page at me from Barb Rosenstock’s picture book biography, Mornings With Monet (Alfred A. Knopf, 2021). I went back to reread it (multiple times), and then I wrote it down. It has been swirling in my mind ever since. 

This is my second to last topical post for Two Writing Teachers before I step down as a co-author, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to me to be a teacher of writers in a workshop as well as a teacher who writes. There is something in this quote that speaks to both. 

I skimmed through my previous posts: thirty-six over almost four years. 

Joy. Agency. Feedback. Conferring. Building deep content knowledge. Intentional planning. Craftsmanship. Engagement. Working as members of collaborative teams. 

These are topics that matter to me. 

It brings me joy to dig into them, to wrestle with the hard parts—because, “They’re all hard parts,” as Katie Wood Ray would say. 

The magic is worth the work. 

I believe that writing is hard, and we should be transparent with writers of all ages about what makes it hard—so that we can discover how to get ourselves through the tough parts. 

I believe writers/learners/artists should embrace the challenge, lean in, and revel in the moments we work through it. We should celebrate the figuring out, because that is how we know we’re growing. 

It takes space and time—the space and time that workshop creates over days and weeks and months and years—to be able to do this. 

I believe learners need to make authentic decisions in the context of real-world writing work, to notice and reflect on what happens based on those choices. To wrestle with the hard parts.

I trust young writers to do this essential thinking and writing work. To discover the magic themselves.

I trust teachers to do the essential thinking and writing and planning and teaching work to make this happen. 

I believe in communities like this one, where teachers of writers come together to learn and to share, where we do the writing work we are asking kids to do. 

Teaching is an art. It is an act of creation. 

Teaching is not magic. 

Teaching is work, and work, and work, and then. . . IT IS MAGIC. 

I love being a part of the Two Writing Teachers Blog community, where I am surrounded by other teachers of writers who are invested in doing the work that generates this magic. 

9 thoughts on “And Then. . . IT IS MAGIC

  1. Amy,
    This is a beautiful post in the shadow of sad news. I will miss your presence in this space, especially during March. Last year in particular you were a constant source of help to me. Do you remember the trucker? His were some wild posts. Thank you for your service to this community.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is my favorite line: “I trust young writers to do this essential thinking and writing work. To discover the magic themselves.” These core beliefs are such an important part of TWT. Thank you for contributing to them here!

    Liked by 1 person

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