My best work was not in that notebook. But my first work was.
I was a teacher starting out on this thing we call writer’s notebooks. The standard composition notebook, school spirit blue no less, adorned with the obligatory photos and keepsakes to show my young writers how this works. I had no idea what I was doing, but they were never the wiser. See, I was not the avid writer (am still NOT the avid writer) that notebooks usually find a home with. I wrote in it when I had to write in it. Like for lessons and that was it. That notebook held every lesson that was all the rage in learning how to live the writerly life. For my students. Not for me. Like I had the same notebook for TWO years. New entries for new kiddos of course, but that same notebook graced my document camera and came out when I needed a model for my students. See? No inner drive to fill it.
Somewhere around the middle of I don’t remember when, I found myself writing entries outside of the lessons. At first, entries that could be a lesson, someday. Then, entries that I wouldn’t show to anyone, ever. It was at that point I came to realize that this notebook was more than a collection of possible mentor texts. It meant something to me.
Then along came a little thing called the Slice of Life Story Challenge, that some
crazed amazing lunatic colleague suggested I try and I started really writing for the first time. I mean, I had 30 days to fill for goodness sakes. I write mainly on the computer, but I still jotted thoughts in that first notebook.
This year I made the transition from classroom teacher to literacy coach. During my first coaching cycle, I wanted to share some writing with a group of young writers. What better place to glean some text than that writer’s notebook? It was rough in spots and sparkly smooth in others.
But it was lost. I’ve searched high and low, far and wide, to no avail. It is gone. The ideas float around in my head and I can recall a page here and there. It’s a strange feeling to have lost words put down on paper.
I know I am full of words yet to be put down and have those words already written still in there somewhere. But while they were not my best words, they were my first. I won’t be able to peruse through them and see my journey from then to now.
They are gone.