Last week, I attended a writing event titled Writing on the River: A Spring Retreat for Teachers held at the Oyster Point Hotel. It was sponsored by Project Write Now, which is a non-profit organization in Red Bank, New Jersey.
The Writing on the River event was simply lovely. What I liked most about it was that while most participants were educators, everyone there was also a writer and THAT’s the identity we were able to don. No talking about standards, goals, objectives, testing, or the like.
We were WRITERS and were able to nurture the WRITER inside us all.
I felt like I was part of a wonderful community throughout the whole day. Leah Mermelstein was the keynote speaker and she spoke about sharing our writing and how to transfer those skills to the classroom so our student writers have more of a voice.
We were given plenty of time to freewrite in response to prompts and the like, and the food was outstanding.
The day was definitely inspiring and a catalyst to fuel my writing in many ways.
However, there’s one thing I did that I am particularly proud of, and the paragraph below is what I wrote after becoming part of something that was bigger than just me:
I’ve never been into “fan participation” things ever since I was forced to participate at the Busch Gardens Bavarian House when I was a kid. Scarred for life by those German dancers who pulled me onstage as I fought against it, my parents laughing the whole time while I was terrified. Those permanent scars made me tense up when I heard that we were going to be in a drum circle. I was afraid at first, apprehensive and uncomfortable. Part of me wanted to run away, but I took my seat and secured the drum that was given to me with my feet. I had no idea what was going to happen, which added to my discomfort. As the leader began, he would drum a beat on the side and on the front of his drum for two different pitches, and we would echo. And it wasn’t that bad at all. I liked the repetition of the beat as it went on and my drum was in time with the others, and when it wasn’t, it was no big deal. It was good for me to try something new that was completely out of my comfort zone. I definitely awakened my inner 3-year-old.
One of my other freewrites from the day is below. I am very grateful to the three women who planned the Writing on the River event, Jennifer, Colleen, and Lisa. They did a wonderful job planning a meaningful and inspiring day.
My Freewrite #2:
Miniatures: A Reflection
I have an affinity for little things, the tiniest of the figures, the smaller the better, even smaller than dollhouse size. I don’t know where this stems from, but it is innate.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always seen myself as small and insignificant. Even the grocery store’s automatic door sometimes doesn’t open when I step on it. Truth.
Lately, though, I’ve begun to feel that maybe I do matter, if only to the universe. Maybe my place in this world isn’t so small, after all.
My heart is full of love for my family.
I know my words are needed.
No longer do I apologize for being human.
I know we’ve all got our own proverbial shit to deal with.
Authentic is the life I want to live and be as
True to myself as possible.
Under no circumstances will I lie to myself ever again.
Right on, I say, Right on to
So long as I shall life.
There’s nothing miniature about that approach to live moving forward.
The littlest is the mightiest.
Miniatures, so big and so awesome.