“Finish the book. I want to read it.”

Did someone just say that to me? Yes. It’s a surreal moment and I want to grab it, put it in my pocket, and frame it later.

Just before this comment, I was receiving feedback on a piece of writing I had shared at a Continuity Day meeting of PA Writing & Literature Project fellows. I received praise. I received questions. I received suggestions. I jotted notes, missing more than I was capturing, but grateful for the support of fellow writers.

A moment before that, I had finished reading, and my tear-stained face looked up at the group to find many dabbing an eye, wiping a tear. There had been a spot in the middle of reading when I stopped, not wanting to take too much of the group’s time. “There’s more, but…” A breath of a pause, “Do you want me to keep reading?” Nods and yesses tell me to continue.

Before I started reading, I prefaced by saying that I was nervous about sharing, but I would do it anyway.

Now, hours after those moments, I am happy for the courage I exercised. It’s scary to share your writing, but writing needs a real audience, and I keep learning, through Summer Institute, Teachers Write, and Slice of Life, that the act of writing and sharing is what is helping me to grow as a writer. It’s also making me a better teacher of writers.