Best of OWP: I Loved the Noise

I thought I'd post the pieces of my portfolio for the Oregon Writing Project Summer Institute at Willamette University here, one piece per day, until I've shared them all. Some were already posted as I wrote them, and I won't republish them with their minor revisions. I hope someone enjoys these, gets a flavor for just how valuable the Oregon Writing Project was for me, and decides to check out their own local chapter of the National Writing Project.

I Loved the Noise

I loved the belted-out answers
Students abandoning raised hands
The wide grins because their thinking was good
It was good!
And someone finally told them so.
I loved the side conversation
The speed of the cellphones whipped out and hidden again
when I scowled
The kid who wrote down things I said out-of-context
and read the list at the end of the year.
I loved the groans about reading Shakespeare
The laughter about the innuendo
The lust for violence
The heartbreak at all the right places
The gnashing of teeth when we had to close the book for the day.
I loved the writing
And the writing
And the begging for a little more time to write,
The desperation to share
The feigned reluctance to do so
Which, when overcome, melted like wax
Remolded into something obviously rehearsed
Beloved, approved of by all.
But mostly I loved the noise
The energy expressed in an increasing buzz of volume
And the challenge of giving directions
Without making that urge to noise
That will to think out loud
Go away completely.
“But” they said.

“Everyone seemed to be on task
Interested, engaged, invested

It was too loud in your class.”