Morning Pages, and Teaching Writing

Wiley and I have been doing "Morning Pages." I believe it was Julia Cameron who popularized this idea: first thing in the morning, you sit and write for a few minutes. It doesn't have to be good, or coherent, or anything. No rules, other than keep writing. Just butt on seat, pen/pencil on paper. It's a great way to clear out the cobwebs in your head and get your mind in gear to be creative.

So much of what we write in our lives is filtered through expectation and self-consciousness. Is it good? Can I say this? Is it interesting? Then there's the voice of the critic: "you're no good," "why are you wasting time doing this," "who are you to think you're a writer." No wonder the biggest challenge in writing is to have "a voice."

We spend most of our adult lives trying to find out who we are. Many, perhaps most of us, fail. Maybe even a greater number just don't try.

I think morning pages are a great tool for kids, and a great beginning to more "formal" writing. Hopefully they haven't learned yet that "writing" is just jumping through another hoop to please someone else. Frankly, mechanics, grammar, structure, this can all be learned fairly easily, *if* you have something to say. If you are merely doing an exercise, an assignment--why does it matter then, where the period is, whether a sentence is too long? If you have a voice, something pure and special that is truly yours, then nothing will stop you, and your words, and your life, will resonate, like a strike on a clear bell.

And, I suppose, this is why I home school.

In any case, this is what a morning page might look like (and I am typing in one of Wiley's, because it's riotously entertaining and much better than mine):

"I like potatoes. they taste good baked and in hash. baked Potatoes need butter, sour cream, herbs, cheese, and bacon bits. thereis a tick on my dog. I bet he can't feel anything. I hate having to sit here writing my morning page. Iwish I was in Florida sliding down a water slide at typhoon Lagoon in disney land my mom says I have to make spaces between words. Small intestines look like snakes when protrayed in a book. Our barn hypnotizes me when I look at it. I must remember not to overuse exclamation points!!!!!! We have a huge pop-up 3D human body on our wall. he comes with liver, intestines, bones,nerves, heart, etc, etc, etc. isn't it weird I have used the word "intestines" three times? I made breakfast this morning. darn. my yolk was too thick. I have an air condishiner and it works. Yay! I snuck six (maybe five) cookbooks into our library bag. this includes the norwegiean, mexican, hungarian, east african, and italian cookbooks."

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