. . . are “Let’s do some writing.” I believe in uttering them at the beginning of class; then we all write for ten minutes or so. To me these minutes are precious — outside the ordinary run of minutes. What I love most, I think, is the special quality of the quiet as a roomful of people write. They are all focused on the same act, yet entirely different acts. They’re all aligned with each other yet completely self-directed. I feel that writing with others is easier in the same way that meditating with others is easier. I love seeing the students’ faces, so inwardly intent, when I look up as I’m writing. I, too, might get lucky and write something I’m glad to have later on.

I don’t collect this writing or ask people to read it aloud. It is writing for the writer alone, writing for the act of writing.

I believe there are things going on in a classroom that can only be felt; no video camera could ever record them. Something invisible is happening when people are writing together that alters the space between them. I often wonder if it does something, quite literally, to the brain which we will one day be able to observe and document. But for now, I trust how it feels, and I believe the influence continues in the room after the writing stops.

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