I’ve been trying to write about All Write for a few days now. I’m so filled with thoughts and ideas that I need to write about that it is all a jumbled mess. I read a quote once, and included it on my resume even, that said: “Education is not the lighting of a fire, but the filling of a bucket.” I don’t remember now who’s wise words those are, but I have thought of them many times in the last week or so. After attending All Write last week, I can honestly say that my bucket is more than full. It is overflowing!
My trip to All Write began with a relaxed car ride with fellow teaching buddies, Tina and Betsy. We chatted about being many things, even which sessions we wanted to attend at the conference. But the real fun began when we checked into the conference. Betsy and I both spotted Elsie right away in the vender room. Seeing a fellow blogging friend’s real live face in the crowd was great but I wasn’t brave enough to introduce myself to her just yet.
As we left the vender room, excitedly whispering our “Did you see Elsie?” comments to each other, who should be standing before us? It was Ruth!
“Hi Betsy and Robin!” she said with a wave and a smile. We made plans to meet up in the hotel lobby before dinner.
The slicer/twitter friend dinner was nice. It was so interesting to meet the people I feel like I’ve gotten to know through reading their words; to put faces with stories. I sat at a table with fellow slicers LeAnn (Elsie), Ramona, Nanc, Cathy and Betsy. Linda, Ruth, Christy and Mary Helen were at the table next to us. And then…guess who joined us at the end of the table? Carl Anderson! When does this ever happen? It was a bit surreal.
And the next two days were just as amazing! The conference began with a keynote given by Carl Anderson. He spoke about cultivating creativity through writer’s workshop. Even though his address was interrupted by a fire alarm, it was motivating and thought-provoking.
Next, I attended Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poetry session. She was so bubbly and exciting! I wrote several things in my notebook during her session that spoke to me. She said, “Fill up on poetry and fall in love.” Doesn’t that sound lovely? “Look at a picture, read something, allow yourself to have a memory.” Yes. Amy is dynamic. There is no other word that I can use to better explain her sparkle.
After Amy, it was back to Carl Anderson for a session on focus and elaboration. It was just as good as his keynote and we didn’t have to leave in the middle for a fire alarm!
Then I had the luxury of listening to Mary Helen and Tammy Shultz introduce me to a stack of beautiful picture books. This is the third presentation I’ve seen from them and they never disappoint. Now I think a trip to Amazon is in order!
The day ended with Ruth Ayres and Deb Gaby. Ruth spoke about journeys. She even gave us time to write about the topic ourselves. (I posted my journey poem here on Friday.) As Deb talked about conferring, she shared a quote from the book Courage by Bernard Waber. “Courage is what we give to each other.” Isn’t this the heart of slicing? The comments we give to each other are little morsels of courage; courage to keep sharing our stories because our stories matter.
After the conference, it was on to dinner with author KateMessner. Kate spoke of the importance of having mentors, whether they know they are your mentor or not. She had many great things to say but these words struck a chord with me. She said “Writing for my students provided them with a mentor text. Writing with my students made me a mentor.” If that doesn’t make the power of writing hit home, I don’t know what will!
It’s hard to believe that all this happened in just a day and a half and there was still another day of the conference to come! Stay tuned for more!