Saturday, January 15, 2011

Writing Regularly

It's just days before the start of a new semester full of new (and returning) grad students and I do feel the familiar excitement and promise that ALL new beginnings offer. As teachers, we have the "gift" of allowing ourselves a "fresh start" every time we begin a "new" school year. So with this new semester, I will once again try to live "publicly" the reading and writing life of a teacher. This morning, I WANT to write and feel the need to share (with anybody) the excitement / energy? / the feelings that come with finishing a good read. And as I reflected on my "public" writing through this blog over the past year, I realized that when I chose to write, I usually had just finished reading a great book and wanted to share. So my timing is perfect!
Early this morning, I finished reading Sarah's Key (Tatiana de Rosnay), a book I picked up on the Costco best read table and passed to my daughter to read. Yet, I felt like I had read the book when she gave it back to me to read? Perhaps it was a conversation that I had about the book with a partner at work? Or perhaps it was my thinking that she was talking about Sofie's Choice (Styron)? As I cleaned off the bookselves (nesting in preparation for a new semester) I skimmed the book and became engaged with the main character whose life seemed to be falling apart around her.
Perhaps I connected because indeed my own seemingly picture perfect life has been far less than picture perfect in the past couple of years. Like the characters in the story, I too had hidden (pushed back) the sadness of my life as I have moved forward through illness and sadness and death. Yet, unlike the characters in this moving story, my life has for the most part been pretty picture perfect (good job, healthy family, nice home). Sarah's Key describes unimaginable pain and suffering that could not be buried or escaped - until the heirs of the pain talked about the issues.
As I finished the story this morning, I at first thought I was indeed "connecting" with the story - a simple text to self connection as teachers would say. However, after some tea and reflection AND a chance to share (through MY blog), I realize that more likely it is the message woven into this story that I connect to and will take with me. Perhaps, deRosnay used the horrific setting of the Holocaust to get our attention and to do what writers do: share her messages. I will (as the week unfolds) likely refer to Sarah's Key in my teaching and in my conversations with my reading buddies. However, the message I will carry will be the need to talk about and the human need to do something about the hurt and suffering that is part of all life. Like the Dufares in the story depict, sadness buried in our souls will eat slowly away at us all the days of our lives. We can, however, always restart ourselves. The promise of a new day (and a new semester!) is indeed a gift not to waste.

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