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.

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Write to Learn

The final three days of February sent me to a lake resort in the middle of my state for the Write to Learn conference. At one time the title of this conference made me tremble in my boots. Write? I’m okay with the learning part, but writing, that’s hard. I’m not a writer. I’m a listener, a reader, a synthesizer of information, but I’m not a writer.

That was my thinking before. Before I started reading Two Writing Teachers.  Before I was encouraged by Ruth Ayres posts begging the readers to jump into the blog world. Before I dipped my toe into writing weekly, then daily for a month.

That was five years ago, now I realize I am a writer. So writing to learn doesn’t make me tremble anymore. I see it as a challenge to create now. I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to spend and entire day with Rose Cappelli and Lynne Dorfman. I knew they would teach me new ways of looking at mentor texts and using those texts to raise the level of my writing. I was not disappointed.

The day flew by. We studied mentor texts. Then we had the gift of time to try it out. Here is one example I jotted in my notebook.

Pans clattering in the kitchen, as the smells filled the air, while family arrives, greetings and hugs, before finding their place at the table. Prayers of thanks offered. Silence.

Rose and Lynne became friends during those days of the conference, not just authors of books I own.

Friends, Rose Capelli and Lynne Dorfman.

Friends, Rose Cappelli and Lynne Dorfman.