Last Friday our first Salon Night for the school year 2013-2014 was held at my home in Oro Valley. Attendance was about average, twelve Teacher Consultants (TC), almost half of them from the 2014 Invitational Summer Institute. I broke with the tradition of cooking for the crowd and ordered Indian food from Flavor of India on Rancho Vistoso and First Avenue. (Way too much Indian food, we could have used more of you to help eat it all.) There was a frenzy of talking as everyone arrived. We ate, had seconds, some of us had wine, and the talking did not abate.
I kept watching the clock, mindful of our schedule: one hour to talk and eat, one hour to write, and one hour to share and say goodbye. Finally, when we were really running over into our writing time, but I was still reluctant to interrupt, Diane Drury said, “What time is it Kate?” If you’re one of our TCs, you know what came next. “It’s time to write,” I said, and an immense silence fell over the house as everyone spread out, finding a couch, a chair, or in the case of Lucas Wildner, a bit of the floor next to the fireplace, on which to sit. As I got ready to write I looked around at smiling faces bent over laptops, notebooks and iPads. I watched my little Chihuahua Olive Oyl hopefully sniff the floor for crumbs (she likes Indian food, too) while we settled in to write.
After almost an hour of no sounds except fingers hitting keyboards, we gathered together expectantly to share. Isn’t this when you most feel the sense of community as a SAWP TC? It seems that no matter when you attended your Summer Institute, whether it was in the 1980’s or 2014, this act of sharing feels like a sacrament. A sense of anticipation hung in the air. As each story was read I felt the threads that bind us being woven tighter, each story impacting each listener; each story creating a shared history between us. We learned so much about each other in that short space of time. For instance, did you know that there was a time in Flory Simon’s life when the smell of Old Spice could curl her toes? (This might have to be a writing prompt at the next Salon Night: What curls your toes?)
We parted with enough energy to get us through our teaching and writing lives until the next Salon Night on October 25th. We may decide to find a more central location to host the next one. Stay tuned and save the date. Hope to see you there. Bring your appetite and something to write with.