|from a Writer's Notebook, 2005|
Here is an image born out of my time with the Louisville Writing Project in 2002.
As a result of that summer work (well, now it's a lifetime of work), I began using notebooks in my classroom routine as a visual yearbook for my students. At times, we traded our work and allowed one another to create memories. We called this "hijacking an entry." This was one of my hijacks into a student's notebook that I had to steal back for my own (well, recreate it)
The two hands are launching magical FROG power: Purpose, Doubt, Creation, Infinity, Soul, Metamorphosis, Birth, Journey, Wonder, and Death. They were the topics that were most often generated in the 11th grade class I taught in conjunction with a World Civilization's class. These themes weren't what I created, but what inevitably arrived from the collaborative curriculum.
And surrounding the hands was a poem I wrote (note: the allusion here is to AnERip, my grandmother, who made my sisters and I lay on our backs and wiggle our fingers all the while repeating, "With these hands I can make miracles. I have been given these hands to create, to sculpt, to write, to compose, to massage, and to make my world."
The poem (in paragraph form)?
these hands are marked. they've been blistered by good intentions of pushing the rock upon Kentucky hills and NY highways. They've layered brick and tile upon concrete, lifted fallen trees into sawed-up epiphanies. They have pushed aside dust into piles of forgotten yesterdays. The blisters eventually popped causing callouses and walls around the soul.
I am thicker today than I was yesterday - a little bit wiser - more cautious of the sculptures I create and more able to relate to what I've destroyed.
from a lily pad, another palmed creation sparkles in bedazzled stupidity.
my humility has sunk below & sits aglow before Koi, catfish, & worms. These ideas squirm from synapse to synapse, of the momentary lapses in human fluidity. At the tips of my fingers are dreams & it seems as if they wanted to burst as shooting stars across liquid landscapes, yet they are struck and stuck by the lack of luck of all my fortune.
i am rich and hold the world at the center of my palm. Stay calm.In the palm of the hand is a Frog. The frog is my daemon. The daemon was born when teaching, but nurtured all the while by the National Writing Project.
And I have proof of the power that was allowed from the magic of the work invested in me. I have notebooks and notebooks full of appreciative notes from administrators, teachers, parents and students, including this one.
Bryan...because we love you, I decided to make you a card with random stickers on it because we think you are a groovy teacher. A+ A+. Love, The Brown School.In the classroom, I learned who to be from a National Writing Project mentor. She led me in the direction of other National Writing Project teachers. The rest is history. It is a model that works.
Investments into the National Writing Project are payment into #OurNWP. If you believe in magic, then you believe in the power of what we National Writing Project teachers do and have done for 40 years.