Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Collaborative writing

I am a fan of collaborative writing, realizing that mixing minds and words can often lead to a work greater than if done alone. For the past five years, I've been working on a textbook with my colleague and friend, Liz Kleinfeld. The work would be nothing close to its rich texture without our shared brains and writing. I had no doubt that the collaboration would be successful and sustainable because we had spent years teaching together and collaborating on ideas, constantly.

Sometimes, though, an opportunity for collaborative writing comes forward. Several months ago, during a final sharing of writing at a workshop on teacher stories, I read a section aloud. After I shared, a guy across the room said his followed mine nicely, so he read his. Sure enough, the themes of our pieces wrapped themselves together. After the workshop ended, he approached me and suggested we try to collaborate on a piece to submit to the Colorado Language Arts Society journal Statement--an issue devoted to teacher stories. And so, I have ventured into the unknown, wondering how a collaborative writing with someone I do not know will fare.

What I do know, though, is that I'm excited by the prospect. I have no doubt it will ultimately go well. There is a freedom in simply trusting that this experience is right and an opportunity to learn more about myself, my writing, and writing in all its facets. I am a shadow of Whitman's "Noiseless Patient Spider," launching my "filament, filament, filament, out of itself."

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