Hello writers, from Adair Heitmann. With the recent, tragic and unimaginable losses in the Sandy Hook community in Newtown, CT, I can barely focus on this post. Yet, writing helps me through grief, it has universal curative powers.
Kahlil Gibran wrote, “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Much of our collective grief has to do with the senseless killing of innocent children. Children who were in a safe place, school. Children who were with teachers and administrators, loyal to the children’s welfare and capable of taking care of them, until, the unthinkable happens. Gibran’s quote helps me see that I cry because I love children, because I’m a mom, because I’m a teacher, and because I love teachers. All those things, when taken in the balanced order of life, bring delight. I mourn, with the rest of our country and the world. As a writer, I write, to help me get through this grief. So, I am going to continue with the essay I planned, an article about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Dipping my toe in the NaNoWriMo seas again this year was truly delightful. This past November, I managed to participate in NaNoWriMo and still keep my job. Plus keep all my diverse professional and personal plates spinning. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to inspire writers of all ages to write 50,000 words in one month. I entered with my eyes wide open, knowing that reality prohibited me from having the spare time to write a 50,000 fictional novel. However, if I added up all the words that I wrote for work, I’m sure I’ve written several full-fledged novels during the month of November. I used NaNoWriMo as a way to fertilize my own writer’s platform, by playing in a national arena. I knew I couldn’t complete a new novel, but my day job gave me the opportunity to participate as part of a community outreach. (It’s nice to write for a living.)
To complete the participation in NaNoWriMo, I needed to look into my own resources of what I’d previously written. I brushed off a parable, for children of all ages, that I wrote 21 years ago. I re-worked some sections, and wrote some with fresh eyes. NaNoWriMo inspired me this year. I had to submit something to get the dandy “Participant 2012” icon you see above. I submitted my children’s parable in a word document to the official NaNoWriMo word count counter on their website. The word count added up to a spanking 2,369! Like any good teacher who acknowledges an advancement that his or her student makes, I’m giving myself an A for effort.
Being involved in NaNoWriMo writing circles also gave me a chance to learn more about their Young Writers Program for kids and teens. It looks like an energizing and creative way to engage young writers. I’d encourage any teacher out there, reading this post, to incorporate this into next year’s Language Arts syllabus.
I end today’s piece in a dedication, with love, with compassion, and with inspiration to all the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
On a holiday note: All of us at the Fairfield Writer’s Blog wish you a peaceful season and a New Year filled with hope.
Until next time, keep on writing.