Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thoughts Upon Writing a Book

It has been two years since I finished writing and subsequently published The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks.) At the time it seemed like a gargantuan effort, especially since I began it in 2004.  But little by little, word by word, sentence by sentence, it trickled out of my head and onto the page.

Since that day wonderful things have happened because of the publication of my memoir. I have spoken at the national convention of the National Council of Teachers of English and the 2012 fall conference of the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. I've also presented at a number of colleges and universities to groups of students who are thinking about teaching. I envy them at the very beginning of their careers.

The book has brought former students and colleagues into my life again, some in person and other by email, mail, and phone. Not only did I speak with many of them as I wrote the book, but I also was contacted by others who heard about it and decided they wanted to read it.

Rarely are we offered a glimpse of what our lives have meant--unless we are Jimmy Stewart--but sometimes we do get to see through a tiny crack in the door back to the past. I am humbled and grateful for the many comments by those readers and also their reflective, interesting, funny stories that I didn't know.

To be able to recreate a time and place with people who shared them is a special blessing.

Two of my favorite authors, Emerson and Thoreau, often wrote that winter is a time of reflection, a time to let the smoke go up the chimney and sit down with a good book or even one's own thoughts.  So as I head into this winter season I will take their advice and count my blessings, good friends, and the many times my life has been ordered and enriched with special people whom I called "students," and whose current friendship and trust I respect and cherish.

Blessings to all my blog and book readers during this special season.

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