Hero #sol18

thumbnail_IMG_6575Hero #sol 18

March 4, 2018

Today’s writing challenge: write about a hero, someone who has changed your life. I watched  some of the PBS videos on We’ll Meet Again.  Inspiring… truly.  They aren’t my hero story.

My hero didn’t rescue me from Mt. St. Helens or an earthquake.  In fact,  my hero doesn’t know my name.  She couldn’t pick me out in a crowd.  In the last eight years, we have spoke to each other four or five times.  The longest exchange was yesterday.  We spoke for about ten minutes.  She gave me her full attention.  She asked me what was going on in my school. And then she moved on to the very important work she had to do.

I wanted to ask her for a photograph together.  I have thought that every time I’ve seen her for these six-seven years.  I am not sure why, but I can’t ask her for that.  If I had one,  it would be on my desk and perhaps on my phone because this one singular woman has changed my life.

If you read my blog or know me personally or were in the crowd at Riverside Church with me yesterday,  you already know who I mean.  Lucy Calkins.  I contemplated writing in all caps or a different color or some other way to type in a way that I say it.

Sixish years ago, my friend MaryLynne,  convinced me to get up at 3:00 am,  drive to New York (235 miles give or take) and spend the day with 3,000 other educators shuffling around at Columbia,  eating a bag lunch,  furiously taking notes, and trying to slip into our consciousness the utter brilliance that is the thinking, speaking, acting, existing that is the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project only to process the 200 miles home arriving after 8 pm.   MaryLynne was already aware,  she had attended.  She knew the project members and the buildings and New York.

Back to Lucy.  I know,  shouldn’t I call her Dr. Calkins or something?   All of us seem to call her Lucy.  Lucy’s words,  her colleagues,  the people she draws together,  the books she’s inspired,  the speakers I’ve met that have worked with her,  all have come together to inform my current practice as a literacy coach.  Her reach is amazing and all of it is grounded in a simple and profound place.

Yesterday I wrote down just three lines in her twenty minute speech.

Intimacy is when someone listens to your writing. 

Love is when the difference between giving and taking is as little as it can be (Siddhartha)

It’s the personal that matters. 

I am certain that Lucy Calkins and I will never have a thumbnail_IMG_0789.jpgpersonal relationship.  However,  her sharing of her beliefs,  the path she choice,  the words she speaks and writes,  will be a part of all of my coaching and my teaching.  I know she knew that in those moments we spoke yesterday.  I know that she doesn’t take that responsibility lightly.

So Mrs. Calkins,  how is it going in my school community?  What I should have said is that it’s growing exponentially because you took an interest in growing my practice, in encouraging me to help others grow their practice, to care about the personal.  

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 9.10.00 PM  Today,  day 4 of the 31 day Slice of Life Writing Challenge,  thank you to all of the bloggers and readers and learners and writers that fuel my learning because it’s through writing that I explore my thinking.  It’s through writing that I think about teaching writing.  When I become a writer,  I join a community.  Here’s to the writing community created by Two Writing Teachers.  

10 thoughts on “Hero #sol18

  1. I wrote down all of the same lines. They are still swimming in my head, as I try to figure out how to get them into a slice for tomorrow. Lucy is so human and her work is all about those connections ruins she spoke of. Everyone should hear her speak, especially those implementing the work coming out of TC. When you hear her speak, reading the units makes more sense. It’s less about the script and more about the reader or writer. Lucy’s work is so important because she helps and inspires all of us to do better. I enjoyed reading your take away from the day. Next time we will have to make a plan to meet. ❤️

    • I try to tell everyone, especially the critics of the units, if you just go, if you just hear her, you will forever view the units differently. Until we meet, we remain strong partners in the work. Looking forward to reading your words as well. I know I’ll have more to write from yesterday’s thinking.

  2. I was fortunate enough to travel from Colorado to NYC last summer to attend the Writing Institute. Lucy is certainly a gift to the world of education and an inspiration to teachers worldwide. Thank you for sharing some of her speech from the Reunion yesterday… I wish I could have been there!

  3. >It’s the personal that matters. <

    I love the line you gave us, and the passion with which you speak of your hero. While there are many things great about living where I live, one of the drawbacks is that speakers like this rarely travel to the flyover states, and if they do, they don't come to the rural areas. I envious of your experience.

    Thank you for sharing your hero with us!

  4. She’s my hero, too. I love you your writing sets this up, comparing her to people who save others. She influenced me so much that I left my home on the west coast to work for her. She is a national treasure. Glad you were there! I had to leave early, so I missed her keynote…sounds like I missed a good one! Thanks for sharing this slice 🙂

  5. Love everything about it…. especially the ending … because you chose to act, you chose to care, you chose to listen and you chose – continue actually on all counts – to give. Thank you for sharing – hoping to make a reunion again soon. Life has gotten a bit hectic!

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