Friday, July 13, 2012

The growing silence of a writer's life

I spoke on National Writing Project radio last night, interviewed by my friend Tanya Baker. We spoke about Writing on the Bus and the two companion books. Joining me were Amy Edwards, head soccer coach of Gonzaga University; Emilie Manhart--marathoner, triathlete, blogger, magazine editor, and English teacher; and Sam Morse, a 17 year old alpine ski racer and journaler from Carrabassett Valley Academy at the base of Sugarloaf.

Since arriving at UMaine in 2003, I've been hunkered down writing. Often, I say that writing a book takes me around 1200 hours. Honestly, I have no idea how many hours it takes--1200 sounded like a good round number. It's usually 1-2 years of work mixed in with my other obligations. As for journal articles, they take 4-6 weeks of work over the course of a year or a bit more. For example, "Charlie's Words" took 14 months to complete. Here's the list of my books and articles:  

The Soccer Team Notebook
The Athlete’s Workbook: A Season of Sport & Reflection. 
Writing on the Bus 
Teaching the Neglected “R”
A Guide to Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers

Writing About Place

Foreword in:
The Successful High-School Writing Center 

“Writing Across the Disciplines: Athletics”  
“Charlie’s Words: Supporting Gifted Male Athletes Using Athletes’ Journals” 
“Team Notebooks & Athlete’s Journals” 
“Power of the Pen” 
“Writing, Learning, and Competing with Team Notebooks”  
“Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, Grades 6-12: Thoughts for College Writing Center Tutors (and their Directors)            
“Room 109’s Portfolios and Our High School Writing Center” 
“Funny Guy: A Look at Boys Who Act Out in Class” 
“Revision: Different Editors for Different Drafts? How different editors for different drafts help students to discover themselves and their writing” 
“Boys & Reading: Responsive Instruction” 
"Team notebooks: Writing to the next level, Part 1"
"Team notebooks: Writing to the next level, Part 2" 
"Team notebooks: Writing to the next level, Part 3"

I write this because I felt uncomfortable on the radio. Since the 1970s I've been on radio and TV; I've given keynotes and speeches ... and I actually looked forward to the experiences. But last night, I just wasn't feeling it and this feeling has been escalating over the past few years. 

I think I've spent so much time hunkered down behind the computer throughout my writing life that my brain has shifted in some way and my speaking abilities have dwindled. Although some writers love talking about their writing, cats, or process, I don't anymore. It's a bit frustrating to be silenced in way, but I suppose I'll get over it. 

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