Crafted a Session

Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray changed the way I read. Now, I linger in the language of the writer. Sometimes, I ponder the presence of particular words. Occasionally, I try techniques that tantalize readers. Craft stops the reader in their tracks as they mentally note, “Now that was cool!” Wondrous Words made me notice craft which pushed me to use craft intentionally.

Last fall I submitted a proposal to present a session on recognizing craft. Plus I wanted to share a strategy for organizing craft that I learned from Mary Helen Gensch at the All-Write conference. My proposal was accepted. That explains why I had a Speaker ribbon on my name tag (some readers have such sharp eyes).

Saturday morning (final day of the conference) was my scheduled time. The week before I was notified that fifty-four were registered for my session. Yikes, that’s a lot of minds to engage for seventy-five minutes!

Snow began dancing it’s way into the morning. As the flakes twirled and whirled, attendees began the hustle to their cars. The morning keynote population had dwindled from previous days. I wondered if any would attend my session, which followed the keynote.

As I busied myself with setting up my materials, people drifted in, choosing spots at tables closer to the door for a quick escape. The tables began to fill. By the time I started, there were about forty-ish listeners.

Soon, it was time to retrieve the books I spread out on the tables. Several thanked me for my information. So all in all, it was a success.

The snow continued to fall. The masses continued to exit. There were only three of us attending the final session. How disappointing for those presenters! You just can’t count on February weather to cooperate.

22 thoughts on “Crafted a Session

  1. I love the alliteration of your first several lines! It definitely drew me in – underscoring your very point. I’m so glad that you had some 40 or so; how hard it must be to see the numbers dwindle to three after all the hard work of preparing. Another good perspective on the challenges of this wintry weather!

  2. Tam says:

    Yes, you were a presenter!!! You have arrived, Elsie. From “not a writer” to a writer and presenter!!! This is just the beginning, my friend! Congratulations!!!

  3. This sounds like such a great session — I LOVE “Wondrous Words.” I’ve used content from this book to design many presentions. I especially love KWR’s metaphor about reading for craft — she tells the story of how her friend, a seamstress, looks at clothes at the mall. She isn’t shopping for clothes, she is shopping for ideas for clothes. I also like the way she talks about how we all have access to so many writing mentors — all the ones sitting ‘on the ready’ in our classroom libraries. I like how you connected the snow falling and the conference’s flow. Like one described the other… What a fun topic on which to present! Congratulations on your proposal acceptance!

  4. I am still dying to know more about what you presented. You keep teasing me with these posts! I feel bad for the presenters that only had 3 people attending their session. All that work. However, I probably would have been one of the people leaving early because of the snow. Your words will make me think twice about that.

  5. Jaana says:

    If you would hold a conference or just a session at poolside, I would come; just not in February (or maybe not even in March.)

  6. I’m glad you had about 40, Elsie, & good for you for presenting. I wish you would share what you did present! Those sessions do dwindle on Saturdays at my CCIRA even with good weather. Some just need to get home I guess. They’re missing good stuff!

  7. I wish I could have attended that conference and come to your session. I agree – it is so true that craft is the essence of good writing. It is what makes anything worth reading. The story line is important but craft gives it life. Lucky folks who got to hear you present!

  8. Wish I could have heard more of your great wisdom. You are missed at our school. I like how you wrote, “craft stops a reader in their tracks!” You really capture some interesting details.

  9. I was so sorry I couldn’t stay for your presentation! I’m sure it was wonderful. Lynne and I took off just as the snow was starting in St. Louis. Hope to hear more about the craft ideas you presented.

  10. Your recent entry led me to relive my own experience at an annual TESOL conference when I, too, was scheduled to be one of the last workshops. Unlike your experience, very few showed up for mine and that was terribly disappointing considering all the preparation (and nerves) involved. But the show must go on…so you present as professionally as you can and hope to connect with someone. No matter…you learn something from each presentation you give. Thanks for blogging about the Crafting of Words. I’ll pay more attention from now on!

  11. Sounds like a nerve racking day – to contend not only with presenting but the weather as well. Congratulations! I will have to read that book. Love to be inspired.

  12. I noticed the presenter sticker too. So glad you shared. I wish I could have sat there in the audience and heard you present. Maybe we could collaborate on leading a session some time? Wouldn’t it be fun?! Glad you had several stay. Lots of work and then you wonder if what you have said has impacted anyone. I know you did! Thank you for impacting my life!! (I would love to know what books you shared)

  13. As if presenting isn’t nerve wracking enough you had the weather to deal with as well. I am glad you had such a good turn out for your session. I know that those present left fully energized. I once presented at NCTE. I had the first slot on Saturday morning. You can imagine what the turn out was like.

  14. Judy C. says:

    All the planning, thinking, rehearsing, and presenting. So glad that you had a good attendance and I’m sure they all took some great information home with them.

  15. Wonderful, I am so proud of you! I am always telling you,among other things what a great teacher you are. :)Those teachers were glad they stayed because I know they were highly rewarded.

  16. Your post brought back vivid memories! Being a presenter is hard work. Not just preparing for the session, but also actually doing it. Your mind is on your material, but a small part of it is also talking to you. Do they like me? Do they agree with what I’m saying? Am I making myself clear? Congratulations on sharing your knowledge with others!

  17. I also noticed your presenter ribbon but took it for granted that you have a collection of presenter ribbons :). That’s a great number, especially with snow falling. BRAVO friend!!!!

  18. Yes, I noticed too. I am glad that the snow did not keep many away from your presentation. Of course, it could be that they knew you would be conducting an interesting session and did not want to miss it. You lead such an interesting life.

  19. Elsie, I am a huge fan of Katie Wood Ray also! (Have you read her book: In Pictures and In Words – for K-2 writers!) Anyhoo…I really appreciate this slice…you captured the nerves of presenting to an audience! (I’ve never presented where I had an official “speaker” ribbon, but I bet it feels fantastic!) I would really like to learn more about your teaching about noticing craft!!!

  20. Leigh Anne says:

    Yes, I did notice that ribbon and thought you were holding out in us! Would have loved your session. I bet the attendees at All Write would love this presentation too! I guess you could always hold you’re own – poolside!

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