Preface from “Writers Anonymous” Journal
“We won’t die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come . . . You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins.” ― Tony Kushner, Angels in America
The title of this journal, Out of Anonymity, is quite fitting, as we are a group that meets once a month in the hills of Glendale, California, and call ourselves Writers Anonymous, even though we are anything but. We are souls whose voices and words resonate in classrooms, local newspapers, journals, novels, short stories and poems. We come together with the knowledge that teachers have a mission to be advocates, through their writing and voice, for their students and their community.
It is our calling. Our raison d’être. It is what brought us to the UCLA Writing Project and what has brought thousands of other teachers across the country to join in The California Writing Project for a month during our summer vacation, where we are told daily that if we are going to teach our students to write, we must write, and we must remind ourselves that as artists we are continually evolving along with our students. We know there is no formula, no magic-bullet five-paragraph essay that will turn someone into a writer. All we have is one another, our words, experience and books to lean on as we grow as teachers and human beings.
The California Writing Project works because of its beauty, because of its simplicity. It allows teachers one magical month away from the world to live the true writing life, where teachers read books on best writing practices, model their best lessons, and workshop with others writers. Most of all teachers write — a lot. For many, in that month they will produce more than they ever have in their lives. They return to their classrooms able to say to their students, ‘I now call myself a writer and believe so much in the transformative effects of writing everyday that I am going to incorporate this into my classroom. I now understand that a writer, like any artist, has to paint with technique and structure, but passion must also fill the pallet.’
With the publication of this journal we are no longer anonymous, and we hope it inspires others to find the courage and strength to write. This is the first journal, and it includes the twenty-some-odd writers in our Glendale group. It is also a shout from a bullhorn that we hope is heard across the state by all members of the California Writing Project: declare yourself a writer and continue to write. It is time for teachers to stake their claim as iridescent beacons of the written word.
We are the UCLA Writing Project. We write.
And who am I to be so bold and ask so much of other teachers?
I am Ron and I am a writer.