Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#sol17 Writing Through Tough Times

We ask students to share their "hearts" and write about the special small moments in their young lives early in each school year thinking that sharing "Personal Narrative" stories might be the easiest things to write!  As I reflect on my own difficulties writing through tough times, I've decided this is a practice we might want to reconsider!

Sure, for MOST students whose summers are filled with special moments at camp or family vacations, finding a "moment" to describe makes sense.   But, when your life is focused on sadness or sickness or anger or hurt, it can be difficult, perhaps even impossible to notice and write about those moments amidst the strife.  It can be hard to trust that your audience will understand or may even want to hear your story!  

Sure, I can write about my elderly Aunt's tough times.  I can write about my students and their challenging journeys. I can even write about flat tires.  I'm guessing most of you can connect on some level with those tough times.

 At times, I've wondered if I should share  about my own "tough times" wondering if my own story might help someone else?  I've wondered if it might even help me? Yet, as I am returning to writing and this SOL community,  I've chosen mostly to share about the "easy-to-write-about" moments that I can now notice.  Perhaps some day, I may share my tough times, but for now, I'll just ask you to consider how hard it must be to notice the small, easier to write about, personal moments when you are not sure your audience will understand.  



Jennifer Laffin said...

I think in tough times, we feel so alone. Putting your stories out there -- good or bad -- is a way we can take a chance to connect with others. Your reader, in turn, may feel like they've finally found someone who can relate to their struggles because they've been there too and thought they were the only ones. I encourage you to be brave. You never know who you'll inspire.

Madalyn Bush said...

I have the same feeling sometimes, I get nervous and want to not post or turn away from an idea. Thanks for sharing!

Linda B said...

Wise and thoughtful words, Anita. There are times when I have something sad to tell, but am not sure how others will feel about it. I am an experienced older person, so I know that there must be children who would not write about the harder things. The only way I had students write some very personal things were in letters to me. They wrote three times a week; the letter journals were private, and I replied to each one. Sometimes I urged a student to share, or sometimes I suggested they put that "life story' into ficiton, hoping it would help them to get it told somehow. It's an individual choice for sure. So many of us know each other through slicing, and I imagine you would receieve beautiful support if you want to share.

Ramona said...

I agree with Jennifer. Tough times can be written about too. But it is much easier to share the easy-to-read-about moments. It is something we need to remember when we ask our students to write.

Mary Ann Reilly said...

At the center of the discussion is choice. With agency, students and adults can make decisions about what is necessary and not. Without choice, we may inadvertently harm.

A good post, Anita. Wise.

Mallory Krueger said...

This hit home for me today! I have struggled with wanting to write about a particular tough time, but feeling like it was almost too personal. I think our tough times are what make us who we are - imperfect and a little darker, but more understanding and empathetic to others.