I love Ruth’s reminders to celebrate each week on her blog (HERE).
Today there is only one thing I want to celebrate, and that is the fact that in just three days I will be leaving for one of my favorite conferences of the year. It all began five years ago. Somehow in the spring of 2011, Franki Sibberson convinced a whole bunch of us to spend several days in Warsaw, Indiana at a conference called All Write. She pointed out that it wasn’t too expensive, and the speakers they had coming in were amazing.
And so, I went that first year. I didn’t know anyone well, only from Twitter. I had met just a few of the friends going recently at a state conference in Illinois. I would attend my first NCTE that year as well. My friends and family thought I was nuts. Drive five hours each way, pay for the entire conference yourself, and go alone? It was the best decision ever.
I’ve gone back every year since. The group that returns fluctuates with the years. Family vacations, job changes, commitments at home sometimes stand in the way of attending, but it is a fabulous time with whatever group assembles for the given year.
I think the reason I love attending All Write, and have since that first year, was that I knew I was doing something just for me. It rejuvenates my spirit in a way I had not experienced before. I love that it is at the start of summer. Sometimes I begin my summer just completely beaten down from the school year. This conference not only lifts me up, but somehow brings me so much joy and energy that I am ready to jump back into the classroom. (Though, thankfully, I will still have a great deal of summer left.)
In just three days I will head to Warsaw to join my friends that now are almost like family. I will feel my spirit sing, be inspired, and laugh until I cry. I feel as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. It is definitely a reason to celebrate.