“…as a man coming over the top of a hill singing.”

I’ve spent the last two days in workshops with teachers working with terms like instructional reading level, indepenendent reading level, running record, Six Traits, and guided reading.  We’ve spoken about the research behind why children struggle to read, why they succeed, and what characteristics great readers and writers have.

I’m spent.  The fact that I am writing now is a complete shock to me.

But I read something at the end of the day today that I didn’t mean to read.  I opened up Google Reader accidentally while trying to open another link, and the first item in my queue was William Zinsser’s weekly Friday colunm at the American Scholar, a piece title “Joyful Noise.”  Zinsser writes about the act of writing and its affect on us as writers, which I truly appreciate, because on the rare occasion that I am happy about thoughts I’ve put down here, I’ll fancy myself a writer.

“Joyful Noise” was used in reference to the feeling that we should exude while writing, to which Zinsser, quoting historian David McCullough‘s recent commencement address given at a small Connecticut university, gave the following from American painter Robert Henri: “You should paint like a man coming over the top of the hill singing.”

We, better yet, I, forget this all too much in a rush to pull together something brilliant. Let me remember to write with the energy that Zinsser ascribes to McCullough.  Let me not “mail-in” the effort that writing deserves, regardless of the capacity.

Henri, Robert. (Artist). (1902). Snow in new york, 1902. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/timage_f?object=42929ℑ=7629&c=