Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Awakenings

A girl writes about a painting in a museum. She shares how it looks “like a line of poetry,” and how the colors blend together like “a rainbow under the sea.” After she reads aloud, the class claps. Another boy stands to share his work. He begins to read: “Thor gives dry kisses, not drooly ones. When he is done, the class claps again. This group of fourth graders is doing the difficult work of “showing” instead of” telling” in their writing and they are impressed by the accomplishments of their classmates.

I, too, clap after they share but secretly I am celebrating something very different. These two writers have spent countless writing workshops staring at the blank page watching the clock slowly tick, wishing the period over. As I cheer their accomplishments, my mind wanders to the daffodils I had seen on my morning walk: tiny green stems topped by yellow buds poking out from beneath the hard weathered grounds of early spring. “Finally,” I thought to myself convinced that the flowers would never come out.

How many times had I thought the same thing about these two writers? Would they ever be able to find an idea that seemed worthy of writing? Would writing ever be anything but painful hard work? At times I felt doubtful, but like the daffodils that slowly took root and found their way through dirt and rocks, these writers, found their way to beautiful words and vivid descriptions. They were nudged and nurtured and what emerged? A beautiful flower. Finally.

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