#TeachersWrite camp has ended, but I am catching up on posts and the writing I did during camp. Here is what I posted on July 10th when Martha Brockenbrough hosted for Gae Polisner‘s Friday Feedback:

Martha, your words were the ones I needed today. TW camp has gotten me excited to write, and I’ve been writing, and also learning a lot! But, I’m wandering and collecting and not quite sure which way to turn yet. Your words have reminded me that my first goal in joining TW camp was simply to adopt the habits of a writer, and to write! This simple act will make me a better writer, and a better teacher. However, this seemingly simple decision has had me thinking about what I want to say. What do I want to write? I’ve claimed a broad goal of writing biographies for children, but this goal is largely undefined, and it was beginning to stress me out in the last couple of days. Do I really have what it takes? Is this even what I want to do? Your words have reminded me to stay the course (“anxiety and doubt are normal”), and to look at the smaller, more manageable chunks. Take the time to define what it is that fits me to a T. My goodness, if it’s going to be years, and dozens of rewrites (31!), I’d better take time to think carefully about what I want to spend my time doing! Your words have helped me to take a breath today. I will figure out what I want to write, but first, I will take time to think, and wander, and plan…and commit to writing a little every day- persevere. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Here are my thoughts about your WIP…

What works is the imagery of the owl, and these two opening sentences: “The world emptied itself of everything unnecessary. There was nothing in front of me but this child.” The closing lines of the passage are a confirmation of what you’ve illustrated: “If love makes a demand, I offer myself in my entirety.” I also love the tenderness of the paw touching the baby, and then withdrawn in embarrassment. We learn so much in that small gesture, and the character’s revelation of discomfort in being seen and called out for the action.

What doesn’t work? Not a thing that I could identify.

Am I hooked? Completely! Please tell us where and when the
rest will be available. Oh, and I will be following Gae’s advice and adding your book to my summer reading!

Thank you again for sharing.

Here is my writing to share for feedback:

As I indicated above, I am focused on writing more, and writing regularly, but I am not entirely sure of my direction yet. However, I have plenty to write about. Here is a poem I wrote using the “3 words per line” voice exercise, by Erin Dealey called Clearing the Cobwebs (pp. 92-93 in 59 Reasons to Write). It is partly inspired by the Pixar movie, Inside Out, and it is about my son.

Jeremy Flying

Jeremy graduated from
college, degree in
hand, he is
moving to Japan.

Jeremy speaks Japanese
and will be
a Coordinator of
International Relations in
Okinawa, in a
town called Urasoe.

Jeremy is packing
his room and
donating most of
his stuff, which
he no longer
needs because he’s
all grown up.

Jeremy’s mom is
proud of him,
and excited for
him to begin
this new journey,
but she is
also feeling like
her insides will
become a large
knot, or maybe
jello, or simply
become empty because
her baby is
using the wings
he grew on
the path to
adulthood, and now
he will fly
to the other
side of the
world, world, world.
Sadness, Sadness, Sadness.
Joy, Joy, Joy.

Jeremy’s mom says.
“I am proud
of you, and
I am excited
for you, but
I will MISS
you.” And, she
cries, but Jeremy
replies, “I am
only a Skype
away, or a
very expensive plane
ticket.” Wry smile.
Grateful heart for
this child, this
man, who is
ready to fly.