I was involved in planning the first National Day on Writing for the National Council of Teachers of English, which created a gallery of thousands of pages of every day writing from around the country and hosted hundreds of events. The image above is from an event we hosted in the University of Denver Writing Program. I was the curator for the Colorado gallery, which, alas, is lost to time along with the entire gallery.
Here’s the NCTE flyer for the original event. And here’s an article from the September 2009 Council Chronicle about the day.
What I wrote then:
Let’s imagine America writing.
Let’s imagine essayists and auditors, poets and nurses, tweeters and technicians, blogging beauticians, church bulletin scribes, advocates and analysts, authoring.
Let’s imagine memoirs and memos, rants and remembrances, oral histories, letters to the future, postcards from the past, profiles profane and sacred, instructions, directions, reflections, retorts, factual and fancied.
Let’s imagine a living American gallery of writing checked with salons, fitted by school or site, by genre or by identity, but most importantly by you, salons in which a homeless man’s story hangs next to the finance major’s wedding vows.
Let’s imagine school kids linked to college students, teachers to professors, and all to city halls, shelters, board rooms, all linked by writing.
Let’s gather writers who’d never thought themselves that: mothers, bus drivers, fathers, and veterans. Let’s have sharings, coffees, contests silly and celebratory, so that the national gallery of writing has myriad outposts, local and physical. Let’s open our writing centers to our communities.
Let’s imagine October 20 and all this embodied in a National Day on Writing, a day when we cut the digital rope on our Gallery, when the Norman Mailer Writers Colony gives creative nonfiction awards to high school and college writers in a gala ceremony sponsored by famed New York writers, students whose work has been supported and selected by NCTE members.
Actually, that day is planned. What’s needed to make it happen is you. Please help.
—Doug Hesse, National Council of Teachers of English member, former chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and director of Denver University’s University Writing Program.