I always read the tweets from the Don Graves Write Now Conference with longing–wishing I could be there. This year, thanks to a virtual conference, I was able to attend, and it was exactly what I needed. I took pages of notes, and my camera roll is now full of quotes and writing prompts. I feel recommitted to all of the things I know about reading, writing, and teaching.
What I’m reflecting on this morning is how often I need to relearn the same lessons. I felt so energized and refreshed at the end of the day, so full of learning. And yet there was nothing new. I wrote to writing prompts I’ve used before (in some cases, many many times before). I snapped photos of quotes I’ve copied into my writer’s notebook before. I’ve read all of Linda Rief’s books–more than once–and both of Maja Wilson’s books–also more than once. I’ve heard both present before–Linda Rief many times. There is literally not one word in my notes that I haven’t thought and written before, and yet somehow hearing it all over again yesterday felt so centering and restorative and necessary. I ended the day with a vision for fourth quarter that feels fresh and new, even though it’s exactly the thing I’ve been doing in the classroom for twenty years now.
I wonder why we (I?) need to hear the thing that we already know–hear it again and again–to remember, to hold onto it, to see it fresh, to recommit. It is not that I ever stray in my values and beliefs, but I am not always as strict in my daily practice. I get sloppy, I get distracted by shiny new things. I need these regular reminders of what is essential: reading books we choose, writing what matters, reflecting on our decisions, and talking through it all.