Every Tuesday I stop what I’m doing and share a part of my life with my writing community at Two Writing Teachers.
When I met my husband, he was not a reader. People were shocked that I could be so in love with someone who didn’t read. What would we talk about? How could we understand each other?
I’ll never forget the moment one evening after having read to the kids when he said, “I wonder if I’d be different if someone had read to me like that.”
Without skipping a beat I said, “I think you can find out. I think if you read the books you could have read, you can relive that time and change with each book.”
The next night I gifted him with a stack of books many by Gary Paulson, an author I knew he would have loved as a 10 year old. He read each one like a drowning person gasps at air. I couldn’t talk to him or get him to do anything else. He would simultaneously put one book down and pick up the next.
The way he talked changed. He discussed character action and traits as evidence of his thinking. He started asking bookstore owners to help him locate books that were like this or that. He talked about plot and writing qualities as someone who’d been reading all his life. The tipping point came when he got up from a dinner party at our house to pull books down that he thought our guests might enjoy. He shared his loves.
It is possible to get back what you thought you lost. I’ve witnessed it.
This is what I am thinking about as I read Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them. I can give teachers what they think they missed out on during their writing courses that emphasized formulaic writing, grammar, and spelling. I can give them the power to make intentional writing moves. I can support them as they learn that they are writers. They can become writers who share who they are and what they love–through writing.
It is possible to get back what you thought you lost.