I think we called it mind mapping, but my mind is fuzzy on the term. I remember Ms. McColley's classroom vividly - the chairs in a horseshoe to promote discussion, the way she gushed over Hamlet, and our regular "mind mapping" exercises. It's that process where you write down a word, draw a cloud around it and then branch other words out that come to mind based off of the original one. She would give us a few minutes to work on that and then we would write a short piece based off of the topic. Afterwards, we could volunteer to share what we wrote with the class. I almost always wanted to share what I wrote, proving that even at 16 my life was an open book.
While wandering in the bookstore this afternoon with Rich, Megan and Ben, I ran into Ms. McColley. We both have new last names now, but we recognized each other immediately and I'm so glad I approached her. I loved all my teachers at Norfolk Academy but she was one of my favorites. I never could believe it was actually considered a class to sit and write whatever came to mind, which is what I would have wanted to spend my afternoon doing anyways, so I always felt like I was getting away with something.
As I pulled out one of my blog business cards to give her, it pleased me that the tag cloud on the back reminded me of all our mind mapping from 15 years ago. Ms. McColley encouraged my blogging before it even existed. More specifically, she encouraged my writing, no matter what form it took. I wrote a poem in one of those mind mapping sessions that eventually won an award. And the largest tag on the back of my business card says writer, which I hope pleases her as much as it pleases me.