Wednesday, April 30, 2008


You wanna go to my footprint? Well, if you must. First, once you arrive, you’ll see a man in prison. That would be my father. Don’t ask why he’s there. It’s personal. He’ll ask you to help him. To tell me to forgive me. Don’t do either. He deserved what he got and I’ll die before I forgive him. Next, if you go in the right direction, you’ll see a large German chocolate cake. Don’t touch it. It’s mine. Greedy much? Good. It’s from my 5th birthday. One of my better ones when I look back on life. If you keep on easing down the road, you’ll find a tooth. It’s the first one I ever lost. My mommy pulled it out so it hurt like…well, you know. Don’t touch that either. I’m still waiting for the tooth fairy to get back to me on that. After that, if you keep going, you’ll see my name spelled incorrectly. I know it’s hard to spell, but if you’re a 5 year old girl, it might be. I’m gonna tell you now. You’re not allowed to touch anything. So keep going and se a younger me with chickenpox. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep walking. Years later in my memory – you’ll find a red cross. I’m in the hospital. Come talk to me if you want. All I did was say I’m gonna kill myself. Keep going and you’ll see why I’m crying. Can’t you see? 7th grade was hell.

J, 8th grade

this student is one of the most extraordinary writers i've ever come across in my years of teaching writing -- the strongest voice, the most feeling i've encountered in a long, long time. to respect her privacy, i won't say much about her life. but i couldn't help wanting to post this writing done in a residency on mapping, where students were asked to map their lives inside the shape of their own shoe print, and then write about it. i'm so lucky to know this young woman and her writing.