When I was in fourth grade, I went through one of the hardest years in my life. Almost all of my friends stopped being friends with me, and I was teased and made fun of. One of the few things I remember about that year (Thank God, I don't have many memories of fourth and fifth grade), is that when I was in reading group, I would struggle when I read aloud. This was something which would continually follow me through school. I could read just fine, and I read a lot. However, when I read out loud, I stumbled over and mispronounced tons of words. I came to hate reading aloud, and it was like torture. When I was in sixth grade, I helped in the school library with two of my friends. We had three tasks we would do when we helped: check books in/out, shelve, and read a story to the kids who came in with their class. There were three of us helping, and we would rotate the tasks each day. I hated reading to the kids, even if I was just reading picture books. So my friend Britney and I switched our tasks on the day I would read. She read twice, and I checked books in/out twice. It was a perfect arrangement, and I was thrilled that I didn't have to read out loud.
This fear stayed with me through high school (especially hated reading Shakespeare out loud in class!). I got reading glasses when I started college, and even though it was easier to read, the fear of reading out loud was already built up. I didn't want to tear that wall down because I was unsure what it would be like.
Now, many, many years since I was in fourth grade, I work as a full time Library Technician. I never thought I would do storytimes, and I had no real desire to. I've been working with teens and kids in an after school program since the middle of February, and at the beginning of June, our Youth Servies Librarian left our branch. I was assigned Bilingual Storytime, which was pretty funny because I don't speak/read Spanish. However, I took the challenge, and I planned out a Bilingual storytime in which I could incorporate Spanish and English. Now we sing songs in Spanish, say the alphabet and numbers 1-10 in English and Spanish, read books in English (and a little Spanish), and say our colors in English and Spanish.
Today was my first day doing another storytime: Family Storytime. I was so nervous, even though I've been doing Bilingual for about five weeks. I couldn't believe how much I enjoy doing storytimes. I get to dance around with kids (which I'm used to doing with my three-year-old niece), and now I'm reading stories to kids as well.
Something which I spent so much of my life afraid of, I am now doing twice a week. I've learned that even if I mess something up while reading out loud, I just need to keep going and not worry/obsess about it. That's a great thing about little kids: they don't judge you for saying the wrong word or a word wrong.
Last year I participated in Nanowrimo in November. Basically, November is National Novel Writing month, and Nanowrimo gives authors a goal to write 50,000 words in a month. There are many local and national events to help writers meet their goals. One of such events is the night of Writing Dangerously. It's a Write-A-Thon in San Francisco in the Julia Morgan Ballroom, which is beautiful, for about seven hours. Writers from all over come here to network, eat, and, of course, write. Last year my friend Marisa and I took a three-day trip to San Francisco and had an incredible time! We were both so inspired by the experience that we want this to be a yearly occurrence.
To participate in the Write-A-Thon, one must raise $275 before one can RSVP. I would love to raise more than the entrance amount since the money raised goes to help children and adults get the encouragement, structure, and inspiration they need to achieve their creative potential. Proceeds from the event will fund National Novel Writing Month's free creative writing programs in hundreds of schools and communities around the world.
As someone who's wanted to be an author since I was nine, and someone who never had much structure or teaching about writing until I was 22 and in Lisa Shapiro's Novel Writing class, this means a lot to me. I'm grateful to everyone in my life, and I want what I now have to be open to others in all walks of their life.
Thank you everyone for your support, love, encouragement, critique, questions, interest, and kindness.
This is my webpage where you can donate to help me in this Write-A-Thon: http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=328019
Thank you, and God bless!
Aunt. Born Again Christian. Daughter. Friend. Geek. Librarian. Mother. Sister. Wife. Writer.