Thursday, November 4, 2010

wRITING REASON 1: Writing is a Far-Reaching Tool

Wa-a-a-a-a-y back in Ma-a-a-a-a-a-y I posted a blog titled wRiting Reasons: The First of MANY Posts, and I did NOT think it would take five and a half months to get around to part 2, but it has. Nor did I think it would grow to SEVERAL postings, but it has. If not, a second part would take a week to read.

So, this is the deal, I am going to record about 10 reasons for writing - reasons we should all buy into, but hopefully, reasons that will also resonate with students. I have my own ideas, but I also checked around to see what other websters had to say about the topic.

So here goes with REASON NO. 1:

"Writing is an incredible tool that reaches farther than other forms of conversation do." ~ Liz Strauss.

Gramma Katie D. Salisbury
Let me tell you a little story about this reason to write. Sometime after my husband and I married, Gary's father gave me a letter written by his mother in 1919. It was MOST precious, and even thinking about it now makes me all teary and stuff. Living in Missouri at the time she wrote this letter, Katie reveals herself through her writing as a woman with a charming personality. Exhibiting her sense of humor, she used TOILET PAPER as stationery on which to write this epistle to her mother and sister. But do not think of Charmin Toilet Tissues here; picture instead a narrower, rougher version of Bounty, "the quicker picker-upper."

Now think about this, Katie Salisbury's conversation about life's joys and hardships in the early 20th century reaches across hundreds of miles and 9 decades of time to talk to her posterity. That means something. Over several days, she updated her sister and mother about the family, the neighbors, the chores, the wheat farm,  the weather, and the celebrations - that included a parade welcoming soldiers home from The Great War.

Because she took the time to record her thoughts, I feel I know her and love her. In fact, I wrote a response to her long-ago letter and posted it on Literacy Link-Up, a wiki site I don't update much anymore.

Today, I noticed some authors I follow on Twitter responded to the meme "Tweet Your 16-year-old self." As cool as I think that is, I wish I could RECEIVE a "Tweet" of sorts from my 16-year-old self to the 62-year-old me. Yes, I can find bits and pieces of writings from those long-ago days of euphoria and despondency, jubiliation and anguish, but none are forward thinking. (But what teen looks beyond the moment?)

While I tweeted 16-year-old Renae to "dump him and never look back," I do wonder what she would have advised me. I can guess, but I don't really know because I won't ever visit 1964 again - except when I watch Mad Men.