It’s been a minute.

So much has happened, and yet it sometimes feels like so little. Maybe you can relate?

A year of thinking, working, teaching, revising, revamping, collaborating, requesting, presenting, traveling, offering, reflecting, and re-dreaming has gone by.

Sadly, not much writing has taken place.

I could lay that at the feet of other, more productive ventures, sure. But I think perhaps it’s been more a case of being stuck in my head.

Dreaming of big things, doing too many little ones to get off the starting block with anything that feels like those dreams.

No one’s fault. Things that just… happened. Others that crossed my path – opportunities and obstacles – both require(d) time and attention and effort and energy.

I’m learning there is not an infinite supply of those, especially when they’re needed together.

It’s ok. We’re ok.

Much has happened in the meantime.

2023 brought me a lot I’m proud of. Among them are:

  • my first keynote invitation (and it went great! and was soooo fun);
  • curricular & programmatic work grounded in meaningful & transcendent pedagogy;
  • creation and alignment of thoughtful and inventive common assessments in writing genres;
  • collaborations with colleagues both in my district and out, resulting new and deepened work (and friend!) relationships;
  • new endeavors with my students that are going well;
  • my second year of presenting projects and collaborations at NCTE that I’m really proud of;
  • encouragement on plans for several big endeavors in 2024.

There’s more, of course, as I am also a human, being.

It was another year devoted to learning through reading, physical movement, quality time with different groups of close friends, family events and gatherings, several great travel adventures, and lots of time to think and reflect.

I’d be lying if I said I was content with the year’s accomplishments, eager to dive head first into a laundry list of goals for 2024.

I am a work in progress. A thinker continually shaping her world so that others, too, can think. And… thinking is messy. Messy doesn’t make straight lines, clean paths, steady smiles, smooth transitions between phases of growth.

For this perfectionist who revels in an extremely organized closet, messy is sometimes hard to feel good about. Progress and results are not always readily apparent. The thinking is not easily contained. The growth not easily measured. The accomplishments not easily identified.

I am learning to ground accomplishment in movement, in reflective processes. Do I feel good about this? How so and why? Where can I stretch? Are you – my students – feeling your thinking expanding? Can you articulate how so? How does that impact your goals for next time?

Writing is powerful stuff. Tonight, I sat down with mess in my head. I finish with ease and satisfaction not in rigid organization I could photograph in a closet, or that I might quantify in a rubric; rather I feel it in the softening of edges, the calm in my mind, the steadiness under my feet.

I wish you (and me!) more of this. Let’s lean into mess. Breathe through disappointments, fatigue, frustration, obstacles. Find ease in moments of connection, moments of reflection, moments of intention. Moments when we are seen, when we can see ourselves.

Wishing us all a 2024 we can breathe easily through, reflecting and growing as we go.