Tuesday, November 26, 2013


We can't work in a vacuum.
We don't work alone

We need new ideas and fresh perspectives.

We want to know what important work our fellow teachers and colleagues are doing.

We want to hear about the wonderful things they are discovering  about and with their students.

And we simply need to be in the company of like-minded colleagues (and the not so like-minded, as well) to talk and think and wonder, to learn and  laugh together.

I just got back home from NWP/NCTE 2013.

I am dead tired (and returned to a flat tire--that's another story)-- yet I am refreshed, renewed and excited about new learning, new contacts, and the many conversations in which I was able  to be a part.

I was privileged to lead a session on mentor texts at NWP with three amazing new friends and colleagues: Rose Capelli, Lynne Dorfman, and Carla Truttman.  The collaborative conversations around mentor texts were rich and thought-provoking.  Teachers are using all sorts of texts in remarkable ways.

We began this session by writing, talking and sharing in response to the following quote:
You can’t write until you have been flattened by a book.

Stephen King. On Writing 

Here is my poem written around this quote:

Flattened by a Book
with thanks to Stephen King

The words don't come unless I remember
that one time
that last time
the book I was reading stole my life
and reproduced it on the page.

I can't write  if the sun in Chapter 6 from yesterday's book
doesn't rise again

If your words cover my sadness
or narrate my joy
then there is space for me to write...

If your story meets mine
then I can discover my story...

The book that keeps me up still
opens the door to more
than I could have possibly said.

My words hang on your ribs and your breath...

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

What does Stephen King mean by 'flattened by a book'?
When was the last time you were flattened by a book?  

Think about your response to a particularly memorable book. Which book comes to mind readily?
How did this book affect you at the time?  How does it still affect you?

What other "texts" have flattened you?  (Other texts might included film, theater, songs- lyrics and/or music, art and so forth)

Write a poem in response to the text that flattened you.
Write an essay exploring your response to this text.


  1. I love this quote! I'm so glad you enjoyed NCTE and NWP. After watching and reading about everyone's experiences, I know that I need to be there next year. I missed it too much! I'm going to use this prompt with my kids. I'll let you know what they come up with. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. We missed you in Boston-- hope you will be there in DC next year.
    Please do share what your students write. I am looking forward to what books have flattened them.