4 August 2017
Dear July Denise,
You will be home in Bahrain this summer with no distractions. Many friends are traveling. Your husband works full-time, and you will be able to do whatever it is you want. This will be my first summer like this in, oh, I don’t know, maybe like forever.
When you realized you would have a quiet summer, you chose to make Teachers Write a priority, something you have not been able to do ever before since it started in 2012, though you tried at times.
I know you have a long list of additional things you want to do to go along with TW: Read a lot — the Bible (to keep your sanity in the trump era), professional books, and 12 fiction books to inspire you as you go back to teach grade 5. You need to get ready for a new school year, and you want to declutter one cupboard or drawer each day, exercise, cook and bake. That’s a lot to do, so don’t be afraid to let some of these other things wait until August. You’re lucky, you’ll still have a few weeks after Teachers Write to finish the decluttering, to continue reading through your book pile, and still get ready for the new year of school. Some of those things on your list you will enjoy doing while you also write. Don’t be afraid to be an author in July and enjoy it.. The time will go so fast. You won’t have time to follow all the posts, at least not all the comments, but relax. Remember Kate said you can do as much or as little as you choose.
This year you decided you want to write a MG novel while you work on the exercises, but it will prove harder than you now think. Just enjoy the process. At least your MG novel will be much further along in August than it is now. (Since you don’t even have an idea, a character or a plot for it yet.)
You will get discouraged along the way. (Like 40,000 words, no chance. Plot, perspective and point of view? What are those?) You’ll gain a lot more respect for the authors whose work you love to read, and all the teachers you are working with in Teachers Write. You will even have more respect for the fifth graders last year who wrote their own novels. It’s good to do what you ask your students to do, and you didn’t do that last November when your students wrote. This November you can keep writing Bailey’s story. Also, you will discover some healing coming for you, as you write about Bailey and Lisa and Debra. It just might be true that you can only write who you are.
With love and forgiveness,