Have You Read This Story?

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

I love the red bookmark in the above picture. There is something centering about it.

Have you read this story? You should.

God Is a Twelve Year Old Girl

Have you read this story yet?

The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington

Have you read this story yet?

Ironic Honeymoon

What about this one?

Joan of Arc Sits Naked in Her Dorm Room

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#WeekendCoffeeShare #Sunday May 19th

Today please join me for a coffee. We have some catching up to do!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was a guest blogger on Teachwrite’s blog on Monday. If you missed that post you can read it here. It is called Ten Minutes of Truth.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am still writing everyday with Storyaday May. This week my stories got a little dark and a little emotional. It is not a bad thing, but it was surprising to me. Here are some of my favorite prompts this week:

Day 19: 3 Perspectives

2019 Day 17 -Aphorisms

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am using Sarah Selecky’s writing prompts every day. It is pushing me to think differently about stories somehow and I am pleased with them. Some I will revise and submit and others I will expand. I am considering her Story Course for my birthday. I would love the benefit of mentors but the price point is not one I can swing right now.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was a little disappointed I wasn’t able to earn a scholarship to a writing conference. It happens and I will still keep writing. I was hopeful this time. I threw my hat into the ring so I am pleased with the effort.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my students did their Living History event on Wednesday. Children from the elementary school come and learn how to dip candles at our station. There is a fire where we melt the wax and my 8th graders do a skit to explain the process. They really did a great job and led the little ones well.

While we are having coffee, I will tell you the Bradbury Trio challenge is going strong as well. I am hoping the input of great writer words will influence my writing and help me hone my craft. I need to make sure I am savoring the writing and not just ticking off the poem, essay, and short story for the day. I was doing that with the books I was reading just to get the number. It doesn’t make it satisfying if I do it that way.

Do you need a refill on your coffee? I am going to get another.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I received my Small Beer Press publication on Saturday. If you have read my blog at all, you know I adore Kelly Link and her writing. One speech I watched she spoke about horoscope stories she had written for a friend’s Kickstarter. I found the booklet of stories for sale and have been reading them over and over. I will use it as a model to write my own.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am nearing the end of the school year. The 31st is my last day. I have some training this summer but not too much. I am going to be teaching a workshop on Better Conversations at the end of July. I have a flash fiction writing class at the beginning of July I am super excited about as well. My birthday is in June too so that will mean a good dinner!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I finished reading a novel. I have not been ticking off the books like I have in the past since I am focusing on the Trio. I would recommend this book.

It was well written and there were some surprises at the end. It was a Book of the Month Club selection several months ago.

What will you tell me while we have coffee?

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

#sunshinebloggeraward

LifeInPoetry has honored me with a sunshine blogger award! THANK YOU!

So how does this work ?

Rules

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

4. List the rules and display sunshine blogger award in your post/ on your blog.

5. Notify nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

Life In Poetry’s QUESTIONS FOR ME :

1/ Between Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter You prefer…Why ?

Winter. I love the cold and the snow. There is something cozy about being wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire and reading or writing. Ah…I love it. Hygge is amazing and I feel I achieve it more in the wintertime.

2/ You like to write: Where ? When ? Alone ? With a Workshop ?

Everywhere…all the time! I have a hard time writing in coffee shops because I listen to the conversation around me. I get good material but not any work done. I write every where but like to write when I first wake up in bed especially on a rainy weekend morning. I do enjoy working with other writers, but that is mostly online right now.

3/ What is your favourite Sound ?

The laugh that cannot be faked by children. The laugh that just pops out of them. It is even sometimes as a surprise to them as well which makes it even more delightful!

4/ You can choose to go anywhere (in the World) into the Countryside, where would you go ?

Germany. Hands down, no question.

5/ Who would you like to interview (a person from the past or present.or future !) ? What questions would you ask ?

I will say that my favorite people have been so wonderfully interviewed it would be hard to top it. Tim Ferris interviewed Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link has given some wonderful interviews. I would love to pop into Kelly Link’s writing group and talk to her, Holly Black and Casandra. Caroline Donahue from the secret library podcast or Sarah Selecky who is a wonderful writing inspiration would be people I would like to interview also.

The questions would be what is on their mind right now.

What obstacles are they dealing with?

What is the story only they can tell?

6/ Your favourite clothes, outfit ?

A big comfy gray sweater and worn in jeans. Barefoot if I can get away with it!

7/ Your favourite authors ?

Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Sarah Selecky, Mary Oliver, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

8/ Your favourite Music ?

Whatever strikes my mood. I love classical.

9/ Your favourite Painter ?

I don’t have one. I appreciate art and like going to the Art Institute of Chicago.

10/ Your favourite Film Director ?

Guy Ritchie – Rock’n’Rolla is a move I love the cinematography of !

11/ Your favourite Poem ? If you can, include it.

This is a hard one…I love so many..

Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye

Secrets

One suitcase

only for secrets–

tucked in the pouch pocket,

pressed in the corners,

one light and liquid suitcase,

one glittering suitcase

filled with tiny

unspoken tales.

And I will carry it

to the other side of the ocean.

I will carry it

so no one knows

what I hold.

Because its cargo

is more precious than socks

or pajamas.

Because a secret is a ticket

and without it

the trip would be

too lonely.

My nominations: All these bloggers have great content!

https://www.nyxiesnook.com/7-ways-to-challenge-feeling-like-an-impostor/

http://adayinthelifeof19b.blogspot.com/

My 11 questions:

  1. What is a story only you can tell?
  2. What is your favorite meal?
  3. What is your favorite short story?
  4. What is the children’s book you remember from being little?
  5. Coffee or tea?
  6. What is your favorite way to refuel yourself?
  7. What is your favorite podcast and why?
  8. Is there anyone in your life you do not talk to anymore? Why did you stop talking?
  9. Mountains or beach?
  10. What is your favorite habit that keeps you going?
  11. What did you have for lunch yesterday?

#FMF Promise

It’s time for the FMF weekly writing prompt blog link-up. Writers across the world get together, set a timer for 5 minutes and write to the prompt.

This week’s writing prompt from Kate is : PROMISE

A promise is a contract. I typically uphold promises with other people better than I do with myself. I need to exercise a bit more grace with myself I think.

Promises can be large or small.

I promise myself that I will not get defensive when someone hurts my feelings. Then I do it anyway. I need to forgive.

There is promise I see in my students. Such great potential!

Marriage is a promise of being there, of loving me when I am unlovable, of staying when it gets hard. It is the promise to take care of my needs and I will take care of yours.

Friendship is a promise too. I suppose all relationships are.

I have a promise to my children to teach them, and love them so they become members of society that have purpose and emit love and light.

I have promised myself I will write 31 stories this month as part of the storyaday.org challenge. So far, so good. It is day 17 and I am cruising along.

A Trip Down Memory Lane…Kinda #SOL19

Every Tuesday I post a slice of life and share in the challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Lately, I have noticed shadows of things that I thought were new to my life but actually are not. It is amazing what reflection can bring forth.

I think of myself as a reflective person, and not just at the end of the school year. I always want to learn and become better and reflection is a large part of this process in my opinion.

With my discovery of short stories and I being creative soul mates over the recent last couple of years, I did not think that I had that much experience with short stories before. I had no recollection of reading many of them in high school other than The Celestial Omnibus . I do have a special place in my heart for this story, which is why I suspect it stands out.

Yesterday, while looking for something else, I stumbled across my ELA folder from school. In my corporation, writing samples were saved in a district folder that followed you from elementary to senior year where it was given to you unceremoniously. I have kept it all these years.

Curious, I started thumbing through it and was reminded of papers I wrote for Macbeth and for Of Mice and Men…then I stumbled on papers in connection to short stories.

One is WINTER DREAMS by F Scott Fitzgerald. I printed it off and began reading. I don’t remember reading it at all! It was a trip down memory lane – slight skewed.

I wrote a paper about Judy Jones and her many personality aspects. It isn’t the most riveting paper I must say. I had strong opinions and did not like this character much at all!

I look forward to finding new stories to read that I have read before. It will be like the first time…again.

A Poem – Not Mine

Let us celebrate all the woman today who influence children.

Mothers I Once Was
by Kaveh Akbar
Issue no. 228 (Spring 2019) Paris Review

Mother fingers in the mud. Mother begging bowl.
Mother lace weaver drumming her web, babies
eating her whole. Bleachable mother. Mother apron
smeared with blood and flour. Mother flower. Mother Florida,

the wet bone. The marble throne. Mother sent back.
Mother bent back curling like script. Mother depended 
on light. Mother? Depends on the night.

Mother for whom the whole sky.

Mother hiding in the curtains, humming too loud.
Maggot mother at the shroud. Mother thought it possible. Mother 
was wrong. Mothersong. Our Lady Mother of Wet Beds

and Aggressive Disgrace. Mother persimmon, name sounds 
the way she tastes. Mother, with all of creation fattening.
Mother who held on while it was happening.

#WeekendCoffeeShare #Mothersday

Today please join me for a coffee at a little diner that looks like we have gone back in time. The mugs are ceramic and thick. The booths are red pleather. There is a buzz in the air that is snippets of conversation from babies to retirement age and the smell of strong coffee.

While we are having coffee I will tell you this past week was full of testing, late nights, and writing.

While we are having coffee I would tell you Storyaday May is going strong. I have written everyday and it is going well. I am following the prompts from Julie and Sarah Selecky. Most days I am able to combine both into one story which makes me happy and satisfied for some reason. I also was able to come back to my manuscript and start to write some stories that will be embedded into the novel. At my writing retreat in Feb. I was able to outline the whole book and see where there were holes and alignment issues. my brain is starting to plug those holes as I write which is exciting.

While we are having coffee I would tell you I am enjoying my writing community. I am checking in with the group every day. I have a few people I talk to more often with email or private messages. Monday night was our video meeting and it was nice to do some timed writing sprints with people around the country. I was also able to check in with a small group on Friday as well which was a great vibe.

While we are having coffee, I will tell you the Bradbury Trio challenge is going strong as well. I cannot pinpoint works this week that have stayed with me. I did relisten to The Ormulu Clock by Muriel Spark.

While we are having coffee I will tell you testing has gone on all week. I had my regular group two days and then on all the off times I was doing make up tests. It gives me time to write by hand since I cannot be connected to technology. I welcome the tech vacation every year at this time.

While we are having coffee I will tell you I had a good coaches meeting with one of our consultants. She is always motivating. We talked about goals and reflecting. The year is not over for my building yet so I am not quite in the end of year mode.

While we are having coffee I will tell you I am back to running. I am having some complicated feelings about the activity to be honest. I was hard core before for various reasons but now the motivations for the runs are different. I had a glorious run at the national lakeshore on Friday and ran down a new trail which was beautiful and sandy. I even ran along the water which I have not done in years. the stairs took me to overlook the park too.

Trail 7

Do you need a refill on your coffee? I am going to get another.

While we are having coffee I will tell you I am tired but am not dwelling on it. Sunday is Mother’s Day. I have complicated feelings about this holiday. I will spend some time with one of my sons and enjoy that. The rest of the day I will deal with my memories. Maybe it will end up in a story.

What will you tell me while we have coffee?

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

#FMF Practice

It’s time for the FMF weekly writing prompt blog link-up. Writers across the world get together, set a timer for 5 minutes and write to the prompt.

This week’s writing prompt from Kate is : PRACTICE

Perfect practice makes perfect. Practice just makes permanent.

This is a phrase that has been with me for years. I think it is form Madelyn Hunter who is an educational guru.

Practice is how we cultivate skill. Practice the journey that is meant to be enjoyed.

I have a writing practice.

I have a running practice.

I have a reflection practice for teaching, learning, and coaching.

But practice takes time.

I played and practiced the violin everyday from 6th grade to 12th grade, which is a lot of hours.

After so much practice, there is a wonderful moment when you breakthrough to the next level. Then you know the practice has done its job! It is an amazing feeling.

I often think of the 10,000 hour rule that is credited to Malcom Gladwell. It is that many hours to become good at something. New skills taking honing, attention, and intention.

All my children practice for their sports. Practice does not need to be boring. I usually don’t think that it is, but I know this is not always the popular opinion. Practice also doesn’t have to be drills. In fact, my youngest plays games at soccer practice but doesn’t know it helps him become a better player.

I have to remember to enjoy the practice, to enjoy the journey because sometimes practice is the next right step.

What is Your Mantra? #10thingstotellyou

The podcast #10thingstotellyou is becoming one of my favorites.

This week’s question had me thinking that I have several mantras. Some are for work. Some are for general life. Some are for running.

My general life mantra is:

Everything is temporary.

The good in life is temporary as well as the bad. It is a phrase that keeps me grounded and from having my anxiety spiral out of control.

A mantra I use in teaching and coaching is:

I have chosen a word of the year that guides my thinking and is a mantra in a sense. This year’s word is:

For running the mantra in a race is:

This is what you have been training for. Or Just keep going.

Just keep going works for writing too!

What are your mantras?

StoryTime Club #SOL19

Every Tuesday I write a slice of life and share it at Two Writing Teachers.

Meeting with my writing group is life giving for me and even as the end of the school year is upon us I am glad I am taking the time to do this project.

I had mentioned in my previous writing club post that the discussion process needed some work. I decided to pose a question to the group that they would have to answer individually and then we would popcorn after that to agree, disagree or pose a related question to what the rest of the group said. I will say that once the expectation of collaborative conversation was presented they did a much better job. My next step is to get them to talk more to each other rather than bouncing everything off me. I do not want to be the center of the conversation, only a part of it.

The question was “What is the perfect life?”

The story used for reading like a writer was Popular Mechanics by Raymond Carver.

Here is the list of craft moves/ideas for their own writing they gleaned from the text and discussion:

+Use the title

+Write sentences that conjure strong visualization in the reader

+Write about fighting over an object or a picture that represents a bigger idea

+Write a story with 2 characters

+Write the story about what happens before this story

+Write the story of what happens after this story

+Start with action – dive right in with a big moment

+ Open with a  paragraph and talks about the weather to se the mood for the story

+Use a last line that leads to more than one conclusion

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

We then finished the session with a 4 minute freewrite. The pencils were feverishly writing on their paper at my tables.

–One was a flash piece full of strong emotion and sadness.

–One was the before story – what happened to explain why the couple was fighting

They noticed lines I glazed over and had specific reflections with text evidence.

I was gifted with 45 minutes of time with these students. It went by quick. I sent them a link to storyaday and the challenge I participate in every May and September.

I think I am going to use some of Sandra Cisneros stories from The House on Mango street next.

2019 Day 7 – Flash!