My father and grandfather built the house I grew up in when I was two years old. The house wasn’t completely finished when we moved in, and the closet in my bedroom remained unpainted for several years. That vast, empty expanse of sheetrock became my own personal graffiti wall. I can barely remember what I drew on those walls. If I wrote anything, it was the scribbles and loops of an emergent writer. Of course this drove my mother crazy, but I wouldn’t stop. I had a story to tell!
Humans have always been compelled to tell their story. Recently discovered cave paintings in Spain were made by Neaderthals, our close ancestor, at least 65,000 years ago! In his novel Waterland, Graham Swift writes, “Man—let me offer you a definition—is a storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker buoys and trail signs of stories.” Those handprints deep inside caves around the world are the ancient equivalent of “Kilroy was here.”
I stopped scribbling on my closet wall once my father painted it, but I’ve always filled notebooks with what Wadsworth calls “the breathings of my heart.” I love the joy I feel when I uncover a forgotten memory or make some other discovery about myself when I write. I love the clarity writing brings to my thinking about relationships, work, and the world around me. For the next month, I’ll be joining hundreds of writers and teachers around the world delve into the mysteries that writing uncovers as well tell our stories, one slice at a time. I hope you’ll join us.
Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.