Attending the Colorado Writing Project(CWP) helped me to find my voice as a writer-teacher. Some of you will recognize the story I used as a mentor text.
The Country Girl Came
She had a forest green 4-runner that smelled like horses, and in it she had put her coffee mug, school bag, zip-container lunch and a cell phone, and down she came – from Mead.She left at six-fifteen in the morning when she thought traffic would be light, before either of her boys were up.
She drove all through construction zones where fines are double and into the plethora of cars and trucks, and while she drove she looked at the tall buildings and grumpy faces and she thought about the cat pawing the glass. She thought about Mead – but she thought about CWP, too. Waiting for her.
So she continued to roll down the highway and she sang with the cassette tape and she drove down all those miles until finally she pulled into the SARC of Cherry Creek for CWP.
Then it was agenda time. Talk about bagels and cream cheese! She looked all around the room at all the nervous, expectant faces, at the books – so many books, at the coffee – she drank coffee all morning.
Then it was time to read and so much writing and highlighting and note taking and knowledge. You’d have to get in a group and say at least three things – words, sentences, phrases. That Teacher!
And finally after much writing about writing, it was time for lunch. She needed to take a walk. She walked out the door and headed west. She wasn’t particular, which was good since she had no idea where to go. So, she put one foot in front of the other, when her phone buzzed in her pocket – her brother from Omaha, checking on his boy. “Fine,” she said.
“Are you jogging?” Her breathing was heavy.
“No, walking.” They said goodbye.
It was different when she looked up, no longer headed west. She walked and walked, searching for a way north. She thought that was where the SARC was. Time was running out. She came to a barbed-wire fence, looked around, and crawled through it. She promised to apologize to any critters if she came across them.
But she didn’t think about Mead. She was too busy crossing another barbed-wire fence and looking at a man with a hard hat on the other side of six feet of chain link. She was going to climb over it until she saw him.
She walked over some kind of mesh material and looked down into a big canal. On the east was a break in the chain link. She sidled along the rim and slipped through the break. Pavement. Progress. Through the parking lot, she came to an intersection.
Finally, after looking east and west for a long time, she pulled out the phone that ultimately caused her disorientation. “The number for Cherry Creek Administration, please.”
“I’ll connect you.”
“Hi, I’m taking a class at the SARC. I’m at Dawson Road and Briarwood. Which way do I go? …Yes, I took a walk at lunch. Look west? Yes, nutrition services, I see it. Oh, thank you so much.”
She stood there in front of the SARC, took a deep breath and went in, five minutes to spare. She wrote. She discussed. She was not lost here.
She watched the SARC disappear in the rear view mirror, and then she rolled onto the highway. The window was down, the tape played and she drove on.
She drove all through the construction zones where the fines are double and into the plethora of cars and trucks, and while she drove she looked at the tall buildings and grumpy faces and she thought about the cat pawing the glass at home in Mead.
But she thought about CWP, too. Missing the interaction. The writing.
And when she was finally home in Mead, she went in through the garage, set her coffee for the morning, greeted her boys, and let the cat in.