When working with students to support their creation of ideas for writing, I often use an idea from Georgia Heard where students grow their writing territories in their notebooks, thinking about stories within their heart. They draw a picture of a heart and write stories that are on the edge of their heart, deep within their heart, on the outside but close to their heart and outside of their heart. They use this image throughout the year as they develop their writing ideas. I will remember my own experience today as I teach children how to mine those heart stories.
Today I began writing about a topic that was smack-dab in the center of my heart. And I couldn’t finish it. The idea was great. The parallel images with the idea were strong and poignant. I loved the imagery. And the writing would not flow. It began as paragraphs, went to poetry and then back to paragraphs. The words wouldn’t show themselves. The meaning within the words was too close. I froze and felt incapable of making the image in my mind come alive with my words. The image was too close.
Sometimes I need space from poignancy, allowing it to distant so I can make it real with my words. This was true tonight as I wrote something that I was sure would just emerge out of me. So I jotted my half-finished ideas and incomplete words into my notebook for another day. A distant day when the memory is detached and the lesson isn’t quite so fresh. I will give it time for the meaning and lesson to percolate and become a part of my fabric, and yet a distant thought.
Heart territories demand to be honored. Smack-dab in the middle of the heart might not be the best place to start to write. At least for today. And my words told me so.