Slice of Life: Buried Stories

This morning I read Jess Lifshitz’s brilliant posts on the Dangers of a Single Story.  I thought about the way others read stories, but I  also thought about the stories we choose to give the world.  The pieces of us that we share. Certain things for certain audiences.

There are layers of stories.  Parts get left out, forgotten. Maybe this happens because they tell too much. Or maybe because they go unnoticed. Memories flit by and hide under things.

This morning the sun took me back and the feeling of summer washed over me. It was undeniable and the desire to go to the beach was intense. Still, I drove home.  I tucked those thoughts away with like memories. Now, because of my wonderings and writing right now, I pulled out that morning moment and push myself to remember.

Kid play muffled by the surf is just enough to put us to sleep. For how long? I wonder. Long enought for the sun to leave patches of salt on our skin. Burned? I wonder. Standing, the breeze from the ocean hits and cools enough to wrap towels around us.  Standing, just seconds on the hot hot sand is unbearable. Rubber zories come to the rescue, only to scrap the sand between toes and on the tops of feet as we walk. The straps pull and snap the backs up, kicking sand on our legs. Feet dig deep into the soft pack sand. At the base of the cliff, the ocean winds disappear, and we start to sweat. Finally, showers rinse and wash away irritants, leaving sandals that slip and squeal up the ramp.

A small slice of many summer days. A buried story. Unimportant? Maybe. But the process made me thnk about my students. And the stories they write.

Students write the same story every year. The rollercoaster story, the lost at a theme park story, the when I fell on my skateboard story.  The story I tell my teachers during the personal narrative writing unit.

Every year they gather those same stories when they are asked to think of a time, a place, person, and write; gather; choose.  Every year, the same one. They’re stuck.  And I don’t blame them. Their little stories are buried. Deep under layers. They don’t even think of those moments as stories. So students tell their single story. The story they think they should tell. And that is dangerous.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. This day makes me write. This day made me dig and remember a slice of summer. Find more slices here.


8 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Buried Stories

  1. It takes a teacher who writes to bring out the story that is hiding within the same old story written every year. I wish I’d had teachers that write to guide me through my writing life. I wonder what might have happened.

  2. This is exactly what I learned when I started my Slice of Life a couple of years ago! I couldn’t image what in the world I’d write about everyday for the month of April. Then I started looking at all the small “things” in my daily life and everything just flowed. 🙂

  3. Powerful ideas. Some stories are just hard to share… Usually the important ones. Some we wish we could forget ourselves!

  4. This thought you shared is rattling around in my brain:”So students tell their single story. The story they think they should tell. And that is dangerous.” I know that this will be the jumping off point for my best teaching thinking for the year ahead.

  5. I did have students who shared, verbally, deeper stories, but you’re right, they rarely wrote them. Sometimes they told me stories in their letter journals, private journals between me and each one, but you’ve brought up an important point, Julieanne. Perhaps a teacher who writes about other stories will bring them out?

  6. Your buried stories title was the teaser that made me click on your link. Interesting to think about the stories we choose to tell. And the stories our students choose to tell. Love Tara’s comment and your slice. You captured that heat and I love those “…sandals that slip and squeal up the ramp.”

  7. Public stories, private stories – which are shared out loud? Great thinking here! What risks are we modeling and sharing? What secret stories do we need to reveal?

    Is it fear . . . that they aren’t good enough? interesting enough? . . . uncertainty!

  8. You are such a deep thinker. I appreciate your story and that you trust us with it. Trust. Safety. These things are necessary to nurture out those lost stories.

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