Playground Uprising


In the beginning
January 21, 2007, 4:53 pm
Filed under: Education

Well here we go on a journey. This is my first post on my first blog. I have my friend Stacey to thank for introducing me to the genre. She suggested I read several blogs written by mothers on mothering and what I saw was women with voices talking about the everyday in ways that invited me, us, into their world, while at the same time making me feel that perhaps it was OK to have tantrums alongside my four year old and laugh (though secretly) at his evolving four letter vocabulary, because I was not alone in this thing, these feelings, or those experiences. That is what public literacy, to me, is all about.

Or in the words of Patrick Shannon, “We raise our consciousness about the world by putting what we know, or think we know, in public view for multiple audiences. These acts of making our literacy public affords us opportunities to negotiate the names assigned to things, ideas, and values in the world … we become vulnerable through public literacy.”

And yes, this blog will in fact make me vulnerable, but I think it is within this vulnerability that we grow. As an assistant professor of education I ask my students to journal each day about their life experiences, inside and outside of the classroom, because I know who they are outside of the school walls and how they interpret their environment directly impacts the type of teacher they will someday become.

I also know that when I teach pre-service teachers how to become teachers of writing that this skill cannot stand alone, but must evolve into an identity. To teach writing one must become a writer and to become a writer one must write everyday about their everyday.

So that is what I will do here. I will write about my experiences as a mother, a wife, a professor, and a writer and I will hope that I receive responses that challenge me to think beyond where I am. I will make myself vulnerable and I hope this show of faith will invite my students to take the same leap.

And so we are off.

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Wed Jan 24, 07
This would have been Mother’s birthday, her 89th. When she died she was 80, and it’s hard to believe that she died 9 years ago! So, I do want to write about her today, but I don’t know exactly what to say.
The Seamstress
I stood on the kitchen table, “Perfectly still, Jane Ann,” and Mother pinned the hem into my new, red-white checked dress. I loved it.
Then, “Oh! I have a nosebleed!” as I noticed a red blurt on my perfect dress. Oh, this could not be happening.
Mother, calm-as-unusual, instantly fetched a facecloth, and I held it, “Very firmly, Jane,” under my nose, as I watched her gently swab the out-damn-spot from the slightly flared skirt.
Task accomplished, with cloth beneath my nose until Mother stuck all the pins in place, I held my pose.
Years later, in grade 6, with never a store-bought dress to my name, I begged for one, just one, like all the other girls wore. Mother swallowed her art, her gift to her three daughters, and drove me to town.
The next day, in my green-red plaid dress I looked just like everyone else, ordinary. The sparse gathers in the skirt gave it a limp hang, a look Mother would never have tolerated. I wore the dress a few times.
When I was in junior high, Mother sewed me a sporty, gold, corduroy jacket, and I wore it to a football game, black buttons closed from Minnesota’s fall air. Later, at Sybil’s house for a party, I unbuttoned it in the bathroom, quickly folded it, and hung it under others so noone would see the loud, black-white plaid lining.
In high school, under the clothesline outside our house, my boyfriend gave me my first, in-my-own-yard kiss. I was wearing the turquoise-white dress Mother sewed. I know. She stitched a piece of it into the quilt on my bed, the one she gave me for my 40th birthday.
Thank you

This was hard to write. I had no idea. I’m sitting here in tears.

Comment by Jane Hansen

Welcome to the world of blogging. It’s true, about being vulnerable as a blogger. When I started I promised myself that I would rise above writing to a targeted audience but it did happen.
As a mom I find blogging to be a wonderful outlet…it makes me feel less alone. 🙂 I hope that you too find the practice to be fruitful.

Comment by oraeley




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