I’m excited to host Katie Sluiter today, especially since she’s got her 1000th post up! Congratulations on 1000 posts, Katie!
In her own words, Katie Sluiter is: Just a small town girl…wait no, that is a Journey song. Although I do live in a small town. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. My family and I have joys and we have struggles. Just like you. I write about them on my blog, Sluiter Nation. You can follow me on twitter, pinterest, or facebook.
I’ll be honest.
I’ve tried to write this post about 15 times and it just keeps sounding boring.
Boring like when you go to a college class, and on the first day the professor stands up there and talks for 30 minutes about how he got to be in that classroom at that moment.
Like you care about his Masters at Whatever University and his PhD from Big Whoop College.
Am I wrong?
I want to tell you how I got to this spot right here in this moment.
But I don’t want to kill you with boring facts.
It’s true, I do have a degree “in words” as I like to say. Two of them, actually. (Degrees, not words…eh, you know what I mean).
But I don’t think that has a ton to do with why I am here…blogging…writing.
I’ve always loved words.
For as long as I (and my
not so patient family) can remember I have used my words.
But not on paper.
No, I like to talk. A lot.
My mom can remember when I was Eddie’s age (almost three) that I would walk over to the next door neighbor’s house and talk her ear off because my mom just couldn’t listen to every. single. one. of my words any longer. Plus the neighbor lady gave me pink milk (remember that stuff? Now I think “ew”, but then? YUM!), so there was that.
All through school my parent/teacher conferences and report cards came back with the same stuff: “Excellent student, reads above level, works well with others, talks WAY TOO DANG MUCH.”
I would love to sit here and tell you about the cute stories I would write or how I always dreamed of being a writer.
But that isn’t exactly true.
I did write a story in 5th grade about a baby turkey (I called him a “turkling”) named Terry.
But it was stupid.
And I did sort of think it would be awesome to be an author since I pretty much considered the ability to make up stories on par with being the most brilliant thing ever.
But I am not a story-maker-upper.
When I say, “I can’t make that shit up,” I mean it. I can’t.
I can only tell what is true.
And before my blog, I would talk anyone’s face off with those stories.
My students (I teach high school, for you who are new to me) would always comment on how I “had a story for everything” that we were doing in class. And it was true. Vocab words made me think of stories. Literature made me think of stories. Students telling me about their lives made me think of stories.
It was (and is) my most valuable teaching technique…being able to find a story to make something make sense to my students.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have always felt that writing is a powerful tool.
It’s just been more personal for me.
I have journals from when I was a pre-teen all the way up to when my husband and I started dating in 2003. Most of the entries are angsty or sad or pissed off scribblings.
Apparently I only wrote when I was anything but happy back then.
And I was kick ASS at writing scholarly/academic articles and essays. Just ask my graduate professors and my colleagues at the Third Coast Writing Project where I researched and taught other teachers about the importance of test writing in the classroom.
I’m sorry…I got boring there for a second. WAKE UP!
Anyway, in 2007, two years after we had been married, I decided to start a blog because so many of our friends and family had spread themselves all over the country (and beyond in some cases) and I wanted to still share with them what our lives were like.
Because I am narcissistic.
At first I wasn’t really telling stories, so much as putting up pictures of what we had been doing.
But instead I posted pictures of the flower beds I just planted and the fun times we were having watching our friends get married.
I really started writing on my blog after Eddie turned one year old in 2010.
I found the blogging world.
I started reading really, really good writing and realized, “hey, I can do that too.”
I threw off all my inhibitions and concerns and started really telling my stories.
Recently someone asked me what I “do”.
I responded, “I am a high school teacher on maternity leave and I write.”
It felt good to add, “and I write.”