August #Sunday #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for coffee today.

I link my blog with others at Natalie the Explorer to celebrate Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Let me get you your first cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been more social this week than the last 10 years. I had a lovely lunch at a brewery with an art teacher friend who I used to work with. I had an intriguing lunch with a wellness teacher friend another day who I used to work with. Both women were from the same building, but we are all other places now. They are the types of friends that it doesn’t matter how much time stretches in between meetings! It always feels like I just saw them.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had my last class with Sara Lippmann and my flash fiction workshop this week. What a talented group this was! I felt like the most baby writer but learned a ton, which was the point. I have some great connections now and some insightful feedback for three stories I will revise and send out within the next month.

If we were having coffee I have been writing every day at my new desk! It is perfect and now I feel like I have a great spot for my Zoom calls which is consistent.

Do you need a refill? Would you like some ice water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have a few obstacles I am still trying to get through from my past. Most of it involves waiting on other people. Chris keeps reminding me that it will all be done soon and then I do not have to worry about it anymore. Not sure what I would do without that man! I can only control so much. Mail has been part of the problem and where things are going and who actually has them!

If we were having coffee I would tell you my good writer friend is writing amazing stuff on her blog. Check out Robyn Neilsen here. Not only is she a talented short story writer, but she also writes novels!

If we were having coffee I would tell you Jami Attenberg started #1000wordsofsummer again. You can check out her substack here or follow the hashtag on Twitter.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it has been so hot and humid here I am not sure I am in Indiana. I refer to being outside as being pressed in a panini machine. Thank goodness for air conditioning. I am traveling to Colorado this week where my weather app tells me the temperatures are cooler, especially at night. I hope this is true information.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we had dinner with my son this weekend. Him and I played the family edition of the “We’re Not Really Strangers” game. It was not as intense as the original version we played, but still fun!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am making writing plans for the fall. There are a few balls up in the air and when I catch them I will be able to figure out which courses I am teaching. I have been submitting this weekend as well which is always a good thing! I will come back from Colorado with a notebook full of stories so those will have to be worked through next month. There is also a writing challenge I participate in for the month of September which will focus on revision for me. I am also taking a writing class at the beginning of September. Lots of great writing jobs in the works!

I hope your Sunday and the week are filled with full face smile joy, surprise hugs and kisses, and fabulous food and drink.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

#IWSG AUGUST

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

August Question

The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler,Lisa Buie Collard,Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

August 3 question – When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I do not write for a specific audience, I try to let the story emerge how it wants to. In earlier iterations of my writing life I had a beta reader I kept in mind but it didn’t change how I wrote the story. It only crossed my mind whether she would like it or not.

Many of my stories start from a prompt or emerge from my daily freewriting. When I respond to prompts I try to write to the prompt like no one else would. I try to not write to the obvious response to me. I am always striving to describe objects and situations in a way I have never heard before. This method brings a surreal or dreamlike essence to many pieces which I love. I love to read those texts as well.

When I share a story I do hope there is an aspect that a reader can resonate with so they enjoy the experience.

While conducting a session on Flash Fiction this week the idea was expressed that once writing is “out there”, whether that be published in print or online, it is no longer the author’s story. It becomes a new experience for the reader based on their perspective and background. We shared personal times of being in a workshopping situation where a reader saw our stories from a different angle we never expected or saw until the critiquer mentioned it.

Trying to anticipate whether a reader will enjoy or resonate with a piece is almost impossible to predict. In writing groups I have often heard the expression that if a reader didn’t like your writing, then they were not your reader.

We all have preferences and tastes. Isn’t it wonderful we all have so much writing to chose from to find our favorite flavors!?

I Love My Library #SOL22

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I also comment on at least three other blog posts.

A New Library Card

When I move to a new town the first place I visit is the library. I have lived in this area before but never intended to return so I discarded my old card. To move back here has been a blessing and just what I needed, but was certainly unexpected. Many things have been unexpected in this year of 2022 for me.

Yesterday I stopped at the local branch to acquire my card. My license hasn’t changed yet, but I did have the change of address paperwork from the post office. It was sufficient and I was thrilled. The library system in this county is award winning and many of the books I have been hearing about on podcasts were on displays when I walked in. After I had the card in my hand, I went to look for a YA book I had been trying to get my hands on. I have been trying to not purchase novels because I typically will only read them once. [The Night Circus is the exception.] It was still classified as a new book so it was in a different section. I had to look in three places before I found it!

This is the first time I have browsed a library in quite a while. I have the Google Extension on my computer so whenever I look up a book it automatically tells me whether the book is at my library in hard copy or digital. I can click on a button and put a hold on it immediately. This extension has stopped me from buying numerous books and allowed me to borrow them and then not have to store them! When I am alerted my holds were in I just went and picked those up. Sometimes the books just take a field trip to my house, but I started reading Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa when I got home.

The visit had a secondary purpose as well. I checked with the librarian to see if a writing group was meeting at that location already. There is not. Then I asked about how I could start one. Groups started meeting in person two months ago so there aren’t many gatherings on the schedule.

My plan is to use the library as an occasional writing space as we move into fall. It allows me a change of scenery if I need it.

It was a happy moment and another way I feel like I am immersing myself into my surroundings.

How do you feel about your local library?

#happyllamatuesday #happyreading #happywriting

Last July #Sunday #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for coffee today.

I link my blog with others at Natalie the Explorer to celebrate Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Let me get you a cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am obsessed with K-Ming Chang this week. [Well, not only this week…] I have been listening to as many interviews with her about her new book as I can. I find her process interesting and she speaks well. You can check out one video here if you want to watch and learn. Hestia is still an obsession and musical chairs and menus are in the wings….we will see what shows up in a story.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am anticipating my writer retreat in Colorado. I leave on August 9th and am pumped to be in real-life classes with Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish! I plan to come back with a notebook full of writing to revise and submit.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have a new desk! We picked it up in Florida and I adore it. Chris is finishing the top so it is perfect for my work. There are three drawers for all my stuff that are nestled underneath the top. I even have bookcases in my space now which will be full by the end of the weekend I am almost certain.

Do you need a refill? Would you like some ice water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I found a new podcast about writing! It is called Cabana Chats and is about writing and community. I am binge listening in between writing and reading!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still trying to catch up on work that I neglected during the trip to Florida. I am always surprised by how much email piles up when I ignore my inbox!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I made chicken saag this week and I am so thankful for finding a recipe that matches the taste of what I used to get in my favorite Indian restaurant. Chris and I devoured it!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have lunch plans this week with friends I haven’t seen in years. This morning was a wonderful start and a great breakfast. I have been able to get a ton of work done today as well. Thankfully I am not melting in Indiana!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I hosted my Topic Talk on Flash Fiction on Saturday. It went well and the discussion was fun. I was able to share many of the flash fiction publications I faithfully read and hope to be published in soon!

I hope your Sunday is filled with deep love, comfortable temperatures, and the beverages of your liking!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

July Post 4th #Sunday #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me today! It is Sunday and it snuck up on me today. It has been a busy week and I am sure you have experienced the same! Thank you for joining me for coffee today. I link up at Natalie the Explorer with other writers who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Let me pour your first cup of coffee for you.

If we were having coffee I would tell you we traveled to Florida this week. It was a road trip! There were all kinds of new things to see for me and notes taken. I found I can write in the truck and not make myself car sick so that was a relief. The mountains were beautiful as always. I also do this silly thing where I lean forward in my seat when we cross a state line and yell, “I’m in [name of state] first!” and then I giggle like I am 5! It never gets old.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had my first Zoom with my Sara Lippmann flash fiction class this Wednesday. We were in Georgia and could not find a hotel room so we stopped at a Starbucks since I knew they had wifi. It was a great experience and the writers in the class are amazing. I am soaking up as much learning as I can. It is the first time I have been in a workshop experience like this and I am gaining a lot of insight into my own writing. The other writing is fantastic as well but we write critique letters to the writers sharing that week which is new [and wonderful] for me as well. Does anyone have a writing class they would recommend?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I finished Thunder and Lightning by Natalie Goldberg and it was the book I needed at the time! I have lots of plans for rereading and writing when we return from the trip. What are you reading right now?

Do you need a refill? Would you like some ice water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I need some help with a situation that you may have been in…my late husband’s disability check has been hanging on hold in my account by the government since January. The man at Chase told me there was no real way to speed it up even though I am entitled to the money. They did say it could take a year to get it released BUT I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with this situation successfully. If you have, please send me a note through my contact page on the site. I appreciate it!

If we were having coffee I would tell you my life has changed in so many great ways over the past month. There have been a lot of wonky circumstances but right now I feel like if I am not careful I will wake up and it will be a dream. There has been so much aligned with all aspects of my life and career. I feel lucky and blessed many times over. The universe is conspiring to help me and it has pulled through in amazing ways. One of the best areas of improvement is Chris is in my life. He has made everything better. I am also working with people I adore and doing the thing I love – writing. I can also spend more time with my son. It is a good life!

If we were having coffee I would tell you writing is going well but the schedule has been a bit off since I am not at home right now. That is to be expected of course with traveling. Living reaps lots of great material for the writing so that is great too!

I hope your Sunday is filled with deep love, comfortable temperatures, and the beverages of your liking!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

Ten Things on Tuesday

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I also comment on at least three other blog posts.

Austin Kleon style...

This prompt was a favorite list I would invite my students to write to over the many years I taught public school. Anything that interested them could go on the list. I often used my student’s lists to plan prompts on other days!

  1. Ada Limon is the 24th poet laureate of the United States. I love her poetry. Her new book, The Hurting Kind, is amazing. One of her favorite poems I love to reread is, “I Remember the Carrots“.
  2. The concept of mannequins keeps coming up this week. There are cardboard mannequins you can buy that remind me of a posable doll put together with brads I made in college. I still have it. There is also an amazing short story Mannequin by Jean Rhys.
  3. K-ming Chang published her book of short stories called God of Want.
  4. I am attending a writer workshop by Sophie Kohn today and am super excited!
  5. I learned about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone yesterday!
  6. Studying with Natalie Goldberg live is so different than just reading her books. I am reading Thunder and Lightning which I had no idea was a craft book! It is changing my mindset and it is amazing.
  7. Writing community is amazing and fueling to me.
  8. I am excited to host a Topic Talk on Flash Fiction at the end of the month!
  9. Through my writing I have realized part of my self-care after trauma is cooking. This Salt and Lavender website has the best recipes and each one I make becomes a favorite in my house.
  10. My dreams have been vivid and I am freewriting with images that are still in my brain when I wake up!

What is something that would be on your list today?

July Post #3 #WeekendCoffeeShare

We are back to Sunday once again. Thank you for joining me for coffee today. I link up at Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Let me pour your first cup of coffee for you.

If we were having coffee I would tell you today is the last day for my Natalie Goldberg retreat. It is online which I am thankful for. It has been a lot of writing over the past two days and I suspect there will be more of the same today. Natalie is funny and the time goes by quickly. She doesn’t understand how much she is revered and when people ask questions they stumble over their words in awe. I am glad I participated in this event. There will be another retreat in December and I am looking forward to that one as well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the running has been moving along fairly well. I have been running/walking for about an hour each day. One day I went 5 miles which was great. It has been wiping me out more than what I remember to be normal but it will get better as I keep going. We have had 2 days of rain so that has changed the schedule this week. It is ok though. There will always be more days to run.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I started reading a book called The Swallows by Lisa Lutz. It is about a creative writing teacher at a prep school. I like the structure and the story. Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view and it is written well.

Do you need a refill? Would you like some ice water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you more new recipes came out of the kitchen this week! All were a hit. My son came over for dinner on Monday and that was fun. He even joined in for my PUSH group meeting.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was part of a freewrite group on Friday which is so much fun. We write for 10 minutes to the same prompt and then share. The conversation then always leads to other topics pertaining to writing.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my dreams have been vivid the past few days. Natalie said that was normal during the retreat times. I have remembered so much more of the scenes the past two days as well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been thinking about risk and what that looks like especially in the aspect of writing. I hear writing teachers talk about this concept and wonder what it looks like for individual people. Risk doesn’t always have to mean danger.

If we were having coffee I would tell you there are many things I am looking forward to in the upcoming week. There are classes through Centered with Sarah Selecky, a trip to Florida, my PUSH meeting, reading, and writing projects! I am loving my life.

I hope your Sunday is filled with snuggles in bed, guffaws, and new ideas.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

Trash or Save #SOL22

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I also comment on at least three other blog posts.

The Brown Zippered Bag

I don’t remember where the plastic leather zippered pouch came from nor do I remember when it came into my life. One day, many years ago, I started putting all my flash keys into it. Ten or more years ago, I would go to a conference and the materials would be loaded on the drive so they didn’t have to be emailed. Some large files videos, especially at Teach Like A Champion, which make them hard to send.

There are flash keys that are full of documents from grad school. There are several for big evaluations of me and programs I was involved in.

This bag of fading technology was a glimpse into a life lived by me so long ago that it feels like another lifetime. Trite but true. Luckily, this computer I have now has a port for the drives. I know as the technology gets more advanced this option will become rare so I have a window to look at these memories.

I have done a lot professionally. I am sure we all have because we are dedicated to students and education and thinking. There are grants, programs, photos from events, student evidence, presentations for school level, district level, and national venues. There is evidence of recognition with awards and articles and letters.

But as I loaded documents into my Google drive and reread these pieces of the past, I was sad. There were some documents that made me angry even.

I didn’t reflect on all the good these things had done for the school or students. I wasn’t sure why I was sad at first.

Do I miss the person I used to be? The educator all these files represent? Maybe. But I know that I am still that person. Just because I accomplished these things years ago doesn’t make any less of who I am. It is all part of the footprints I have left.

Personally, that time was not a good one for me, so that fact had an effect on my emotions. I am the type of person who cuts off emotions from things that hurt. It probably is not the best tactic but the honest one. To think about memories causes me to relive them. I feel it in my body as well as my mind and it can be overwhelming emotionally.

Since the most recent move and the huge changes to my life that have transpired over the last 7 months, I finally feel like I do not want to be somewhere other than where I actually am. I have had glimpses of this in my life, especially over the last several years but now it feels like 100% of the time.

Looking back did pull on my heart. It was a time in my life where there were people I wanted to spend time with and for various reasons could not. I was not aligned professionally with my spouse at the time which stopped most work conversations at home because they were no longer conversations. He did not understand my motivation at the time. There was an event where he was referenced as my husband which he did not take a liking to. It was one of those, “Oh! You’re Tammy’s husband!” He was used to being known “first”.

Overall, I am glad I have those documents. As I comb through all that is in that little brown pouch I will delete a lot of it. I simply don’t need them anymore. I will honor the part they played in my life and make the decision of which bucket to place them in. Trash or Save

#happyllamatuesday #happyreading #happywriting

July Post #2 #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up at Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Thank you for chatting with me today. Let me pour your first cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee I would tell you this week has gone really fast. It has been busy but in the most wonderful of ways!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I met up with a friend on Thursday I haven’t seen in years. Reconnecting with friends has been a blessing with moving back to an area where I had lived for so long. We went to a little Thai restaurant and I was able to try a new dish – Panang Curry. It was delicious and I would order it again. It was nice to catch up and hear about her life over the past several years. We both had a lot of changes. I was glad to hear that the book club I was a part of with her still exists. I am looking forward to reconnecting with the group soon.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I started running again. I have started a new streak and I think the weather will not fight me at this time. It feels good to be out there for the health and the enjoyment of it rather than the competitive drive I had before. I need to get back into the shape I am more comfortable with.

Do you need a refill? Would you like some ice water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was able to make dinner for my son this week at the house. He had requested homemade sloppy joes and I was finally able to make them for him. He was even able to take leftovers home. It was a really wonderful visit after grocery shopping and a trip to Barnes and Noble! I will turn that boy into a reader yet!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I traveled to a new town this week and had lunch on the water at a cute restaurant. The salmon sandwich I had was amazing and the company was even better. I was able to get a lot of writing done while my man did some work. The drive there was through a torrential downpour of rain! We also went to the Journeyman Whiskey distillery today which is about an hour away after we went out for breakfast. The tour included a tasting of several spirits. Then we had a lovely lunch and a walk through the cute little town. They are actually building a new distillery in our town but it won’t be open until next year. We might or might not have brought home several bottles of our favorite part of the tasting!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I attended a writing circle on Sat. that was lovely. It is a method I have followed many times and one I have used myself where a poem is read, pull lines are provided, and then a constraining writing time is shared. In this group, we just read our writing with no commentary which I experienced with my Natalie Goldberg class several months ago. It is a nice change even from just lines that resonate with the other writers.

I hope your Sunday is filled with laughter, something beautiful, and a surprise!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

What Can You Do With 10 Minutes?

There is magic in a 10-minute constraint.

Entire novels have been written in 10-minute spurts. I know writers whose daily goal is to write at least 10 minutes no matter what. Some even have special notebooks for this purpose.

It is a small enough amount of time to easily commit to and add to a full schedule.

In my personal daily writing practice, I write ten minutes to the Sarah Selecky prompt. I have been doing this for years. It keeps me writing and a component of what makes me successful.

Over the past few years, I have written several times about the magic of ten! You can read a sampling here:

Ten Minutes of Truth on Medium.

A Love Letter to Ten on my blog.

Self Care for Writers on The Writing Cooperative

Time to Fuel!

We are now in the second half of 2022 and it is the perfect time to reignite your creative practice. I invite you to commit for 10 minutes for 10 days to change your creative life!

This challenge is for people who agree to create for 10 minutes for 10 days. You can write a poem, a piece of flash, or memoir. Your writing won’t be judged. You can create a drawing, a collage, or use another medium as well.

If you subscribe at the $5 level on my Substack newsletter, you will receive a daily inspiration email with a quote, a prompt, or something to inspire your creativity starting July 22. If you are part of PUSH you will automatically receive the inspiration.

This challenge will run from July 22-31, 2022

****************************************************************

If the challenge appeals to you PUSH group may be the right fit for you too!

What is a PUSH group? It is Conversation, Community, Writing

PUSH groups are the heartbeat of my community space.

Our weekly meetings are Mondays @ 7 p.m. Central time. Meetings generally last an hour.

Each meeting focuses on curiosity and wonder. We share wins and experiences, write together, laugh, and open each other to new ideas. 

Payment of $20.00/per month to PayPal will secure a spot for the month. 

To make it easier, you sign up for a year of PUSH at the inaugural rate by using the subscription option through Substack.

You will receive the Zoom link for the month when your registration is confirmed.

Tammy L. Breitweiser writes, walks, inspires, and teaches. She is the conjurer of everyday magic with short concise stories. Her fiction has been published in Gone Lawn, Cabinets of Heed, Spelk, Five on the Fifth, Clover and White, Fiction Berlin Kitchen, and Elephants Never. You can also find her on IG @inspiretammyb.

Everyday Magic is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Subscribe now