To reach their public and attain their goal, those stories needed a particular voice, and voice needs time. I finished the draft of a book chapter a former colleague asked me to contribute to a collection of pedagogical essays she is editing for pre-service teachers in French. The challenge here was to synthesize my knowledge and experience on the subject, ground that how-to in the professional literature that gave it life, and connect the parts to a practical narrative that could subsume the whole. At the same time, another writing job surfaced. I needed to summarize a two-year project that would illustrate its impact to an audience in the field but unfamiliar with that specific work. Here, a professional, factual, and neutral voice would want to capture the energy inherent in the project. Yet another concurrent writing job demanded that I create examples of written texts that would correspond to writing prompts provided to students. Both teachers and students could use the examples to clarify criteria and discuss approaches to the task. In this case, the prompt dictated the voice, and my writing purpose the appropriate choice of language register. When I add to the mix the assortment of emails that have been necessary during the past month, I am comforted that I have been writing a lot, just for a variety of purposes and audiences.
I’ve missed the gifts that the regular articulation of sometimes disparate ideas can bring:
· a loose chronology of the big ideas and events in my life at the time;
· the reflection on those ideas and events that records who I am at that moment;
· the discipline, at first, and later the habit, of paying attention to details in life moments that are easy to miss, or worse, to dismiss;
· the challenge to make connections between my lived experienced and those of others and what I might be reading at the time, and weave those threads into a coherent whole that not only makes sense to someone else but could even inspire reflection in its turn.
So, although I’ve mind-mapped ideas and connections onto the pages of my notebook, scratched facts into the margins and spaces of existing pages, and found comfort in details and scenes my fountain pen has inscribed, I haven’t posted for more than a month. In that time, I’ve also read, made music, interacted with wonderful people. My soul feels nourished and replenished. Time to wake up!