Today is Reading to the Core’s second birthday! It seems completely appropriate that today is Tuesday, the day I usually participate in Slice of Life, a weekly writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. During my first year of blogging, I posted a grand total of eleven times. But last year, I committed myself to blogging, and this commitment has led to many positive changes in my writing and my life.
My life is much richer because of the connections I’ve made through blogging. It was a thrill to met several “slicers” personally during the past year, and I’ve also forged many online friendships. The stories shared by this community run the gamut from hilarious to heart-breaking, and they have inspired me in countless ways.
Not long ago, I visited the Philips Collection in Washington, D.C. to view “Van Gogh Repetitions,” a show devoted to Van Gogh’s artistic process. I never realized that there were different versions of some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings (five different versions of “The Postmaster” alone!). The changes from painting to painting were sometimes dramatic, but more often were subtle, barely noticeable if you weren’t paying close attention.
(On left, “The Postman Jospeh Roulin,” February-March 1889, Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. On right “Portrait of Joseph Roulin,” 1889. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY)
It seems to me this is the pattern of life, and this has been true of my writing over the past two years. Most changes were minute, and often recognizable only in hindsight. Other changes were seismic; real breakthroughs for me as a writer. Taking part in last March’s daily Slice of Life Challenge was one of these watershed moments for me. I truly felt that I was part of a community, and this made me more confident about sharing my writing. I even branched out and began taking part in other memes, It’s Monday! What are You Reading? and Poetry Friday in particular.
Being a teacher who writes has improved my teaching, both with my students and the teachers I work with. I can help them through the hard parts (and as Katie Wood Ray would say, “they’re all hard.”) because I’ve worked through the hard parts myself. I can show them drafts full of cross-outs and arrows and say, “See, it can be done.”
This generous online community has also enriched my teaching. Blogs and tweets are full of ideas, resources, and book suggestions. My students have Skyped with authors, enjoyed books you’ve shared in give-aways, and benefited in countless ways from your collective brilliance.
So even though it’s my blog’s birthday, today I’m celebrating all of you, my PLN, my friends. Thank you for two exciting and inspiring years. I’m looking forward to many more!
Don’t forget to head over to Two Writing Teachers today to read what others are celebrating today.