The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
I have fifty research papers to give feedback on and grade. For many students, feedback is more important than the grade they ultimately earn. They would prefer only positive feedback, of course. Who wouldn’t?
When one spends the bulk of her day teaching and assessing the writing of others, there is almost no time to focus on becoming a better writer herself. At least, that has been true for me. In fact, while I was raising young children and teaching full-time, the most creative thing I wrote in any given year was the family Christmas newsletter.
This is why, during a sabbatical several years ago, I started a blog called The Loonwhisperer where I could practice becoming a better writer. Because I had followers to my blog, I felt a responsibility to post every week. My dear friend, Chris Quaal Vinson, had started publishing her blog, The Minnesota Farm Woman in the Western Itasca Review. She suggested I contact Becky to see if she would be interested in running The Loonwhisperer.When she first suggested it, I will admit that I balked. The relative anonymity of a blog site gave me freedom to write what I wanted, when I wanted. I knew that having my blog published in my home town newspaper would be different. First, childhood friends, old neighbors, and horror of horrors, a lot of my former teachers would be my audience. Would I be graded on my use of punctuation? And second, how honest could I be? Would I need to change names to protect the innocent, I wondered?
I weighed all the pros and cons and I decided I could live with whatever happened. I’m so glad I did. It’s been five years since that first column was published in the newspaper. There are weeks when this column just seems to write itself, and weeks when I have struggled mightily to put words on the page. Seeing my words published and receiving feedback from readers has been extremely gratifying. I have Becky to thank for this opportunity.
If some of my columns made you giggle or shed a tear, and you took the time to tell me, thank you. If some of the things I wrote about brought back happy memories of growing up, and you took the time to tell me, thank you. If you caught typos and told me before it went to print, thank you, especially. I have truly appreciated all the feedback I’ve received through the years.
I will be continuing the blog. If you still want to read whatever it is that flows from my brain down to my fingers and onto the keyboard, because that is just exactly how it happens, you can do so at: http://www.loonwhisperer.com.
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!