I recently attended a conference where I heard George Couros speak. He so energized  and  inspired me to start a blog and write that I have finally taken this first step. Thanks George! I like to write although I rarely do it other than for academic purposes. When I write academically, I want to do it well, but I want to branch out with my writing.  I am passionate about my work on a personal, intellectual level, but I was feeling stifled, trapped, dismayed by the current state of my work environment.

I love story telling. I am becoming more involved with the power and substance of story and I want to explore my own stories and write them. I want to write the stories of other people as well. For example, one of my very young female colleagues recently traveled to Africa by herself, went on safari and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Who knew she did this on our faculty? I simply asked her if she did anything interesting during her track out as I welcomed her back and she was dropping her class off to my class. She mentioned this in passing to me and we have not had time to talk much about it, but I can only imagine how amazing and wonderful her story must be.

I read literature, mostly fiction and enjoy it very much. I can’t even imagine writing a book. Where does one begin? I believe I have had very interesting experiences and have learned the fantastic; not always happy or joyful, but incredible stories of my own and those of family, friends and acquaintances. So, I want to begin writing them.

I took a writing workshop once with Patricia Gouch, the instructor. She, at that time, was the president or vice president of Philomel Books. I loved her! She was very easy to work with and gave incredible advice. I wrote a story from my childhood. We had to write an experiential story of at least five pages in length and not much longer than that, although some of the other participants wrote longer pieces. She worked with us in small groups and she worked with us individually, helping edit our final piece. We then had to share them orally with the other participants. To a one, with her help, the stories were brilliant! They were hilarious, political, travel and very personal stories.

My young students write an experiential story for my class as one of their projects. They create a visual celebration of their stories and they present them to each other in class. I love this project and it is one of my favorites of the year. I watch them struggle, blossom, become very involved in their writing and I believe what they really learn through this whole project is a lot of confidence in themselves and their abilities. They have an adventure of self discovery that can not be assessed, criticized and they never fail in my class. I help them write, find their voice, search for information connected to their story and finally share it with others. It is a magnificent journey for me and I am so proud of them for completing their project. There is no grade you can attach to the complex and critical aspect of what they have learned for themselves and about each other and it gratifies me greatly.

So, I will begin to write on a regular basis. I know not all of the content I will write, but I will definitely write some of the stories etched in my memory and explore other events I experience. Join me on my journey as I begin to grow as a writer.

To George, thank you!

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