Artist Date Reflection

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A couple Sundays ago, I took myself on an artist date.

To be fair, it was not exactly planned as an artist date.  I did not purposefully carve out the time, it was slotted for me. Nevertheless,  I chose to make this time part of my creative process.

First on the list was to treat myself to a lunch of Indian food. I haven’t eaten and enjoyed it for years. I chose a newer restaurant that I had not been to before because the place I used to frequent in the same town, is no longer open. The new place has a lunch and dinner buffet on the weekends. To be honest,  I hate the buffet. What I order and what is comfortable for me is never on the buffet. I know this,  but I feel pressured. Since it was a new place I did not order off the menu. I was too shy. I did have delicious butter chicken and I tried a new dish but there no Naan so that was disappointing.

Next, I went to a park that has a 3 mile trail loop. I walked the path that I have run hundreds of times training and running races in the years previously.

The feelings I experienced were bizarre.  It was like being a stranger somewhere that used to be home. It was familiar,  but there were new parts which honestly filled me with anxiety. The park had installed new wooden plank walkways and there were new trees and foliage everywhere which was lovely. I did a lot of reflecting and sweating. While I walked, I  just listened to the woods and the water. I did listen to a podcast for part of the time but shut it off quickly to enjoy my surroundings.

Lastly, I visited a local coffee shop in the town where I live. It is a small chain but feels homey and writer-friendly. I almost didn’t stop though. I drove around the square twice before finally parking. I am glad that I did and did not allow my anxiety to grab hold. I didn’t write much myself but did record a lot of conversation between 3 friends that were meeting that will for certain end up in a story.

Part of what I learned is the fact I am dealing with some very real anxiety.  I  had to keep talking myself into keeping my plan and not go home. The moment of not going back is today. I am not sure who I have become. I forged forward and the feelings were not crippling but I sure didn’t like it. Everything was just off center. I kept having to talk myself into doing something that years ago I would have happily done – and have done numerous times.

At this point in my life, I am not comfortable in new places it seems. There was different anxiety at each place.

These new feelings are unwelcome but also preparation for the new life I want to be living. I have to get out sometimes don’t I? I have been ignoring the feeling of wanting to rush home.

I am uncertain as to the why of the anxiety. I can guess but I also cannot reverse it.

I am not exactly lost.

I will keep moving forward and reflecting and honoring how I am feeling and see where it takes me.

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What Is Saving Me Right Now

Inspired by the Simple podcast by Tsh

 

  1. 300 Goats poem by Naomi Shihab Nye I taught to 7th graders. The quick write responses were full of voice, connection, text evidence, and insight.  One really cute misspelling was “fast ending” instead of fascinating! See my notes here: 20180830094331095
  2. Black Coffee. Sleep is not going well this week and coffee is the elixir that is keeping my eyes open.

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  3. Storyaday September anticipation. I am part of the Superstars group again like in May and am excited to connect with the other writers in the forums. I love the videos and prompts each day too. 0593923C-20B9-4A92-9554-4D3AC6B3A549.jpeg
  4. Writing every day. It is calming me even if the words are ones I have to heavily rework later.
  5. Alone in a Room with Invisible People podcast. It is like being part of a writers’ workshop and I have had some really cool stories come out of the exercises.

What is saving you right now?

 

Jason Reynolds

Do you know author Jason Reynolds? Not only is he an amazing writer, but an inspirational speaker as well. If you have not listened to his commencement speech for Lesley University,  take 10 minutes out of your day and click play.

 

If you only have a couple minutes start at 7:20. This timestamp is where Jason talks about how some of us cannot fly and change the world because our wings have been clipped. He talks about how instead of flying high above everyone beyond the common understanding, to look around and Share Your Feathers so everyone is lifted up to a new consciousness.

 

 

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I am grateful to the teachers I was surrounded with at the end of July who were totally absorbed in this speech. Not only did we listen and watch the video but we had the text in front of us and used it as a reference to write a response in various forms. There are parts of this speech that are heartbreaking and that will stay with you.

For my writing that day, I wrote a poem that I was able to share with a partner as a read aloud. I am still revising it. I wrote it to be so specific for that day’s activities so it wouldn’t make much sense to anyone that didn’t attend the meeting right now!

Who can you share your feathers with today?

 

Short Story Share

As a writer of short stories, I try to read a plethora of short stories.

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I recently purchased the PushCart Prize 2018 edition which contains the story I read:

“The Home for Buddhist Widows” by Blair Hurley

This story has a theme of grief and how we deal with it. In the story, a group of American women has gone to live with the monks to deal with the grief of losing their husbands. One of the women go missing and the group struggles to find her.

Some favorite lines:

It is looking at art or listening to your favorite songs and feeling puzzled by them, those things you loved suddenly bereft of meaning. 

Anger has always helped me survive, she says.

But the moment someone becomes a widow, the world wants her to stop in time, to freeze exactly as she was.

 

What were the Buddha’s last words?

All things are changeable. Nothing is lasting.

 

I married young, and marriage was a benevolent monster, eating me gently from the inside. I never had to be anyone at all, as long as there was the monster there to care and feed. 

 

This story causes me to reflect on what I would do if my husband passed away. How would I deal with his death? Would I want to travel halfway across the world with strangers? Maybe. I would more than likely find a tiny house and fill it with books and paper and be alone. When trauma strikes my life it is what I tend to do, I retreat.

It also makes me think about how when life changes there is a struggle of perception between you and those around you. The idea of the line above that when someone becomes a widow the expectation is to be frozen as that person.

What comes to mind for you?

Rustic is Who I am Today

A poem:

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Rustic is who I am today

Follow Dry Fork Road to the healing water that runs cold and icy

The cabin next to little Laughery creek

Deep in the woods

You will find me comfortable in hunter green and khaki

Heavy boots

And a reflective smile

In front of a lion of a fire

Comfort drifts

From the kitchen:  bread and cinnamon

Crackling like breaking sticks echo against a brick containment

What would I talk about to an old me sitting next to the lake cottage?

@tammybreitweiser

Watch Out for The Fog #SOL18

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Fog hung in the air on the morning commute and hovered just on top of the road. It impaired my vision after ½ mile of clarity. The fog was thick and hazy,  which always causes a feeling of mystic and magic for me.

Life is constantly full of partial disclosure. I cannot see the future. As I thought about this more today I came to the thought that ALL of life is this way. Yes, we plan,  and we wish for what happens next,  but much of what happens is beyond our control. The illusion of control, good or bad, hangs with us like the fog this morning.

In all aspects of my life: teaching, family, reading, and writing, there many things that I can see right in front of me. There are also things ahead,  hidden in the fog. Sometimes you can see the outline of what is coming,  but many times, especially if you are moving too fast, objects or situations suddenly appear and surprise you.

Headlights help but are not always the only support we need.

It is always a joyous moment when an epiphany or a new piece of information burns the fog away like the sun, and you can see further down the road then you could a few minutes ago. But don’t be fooled! It can still be unpredictable.

 

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Quotes I am Pondering Today

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“We can count on so few people to go that hard way with us”  Adrienne Rich

 

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place-you belong every place” 

Maya Angelou

 

Nicola Davies from his book: King of the Sky

“It rained and rained and rained.

Little houses huddled on the humpbacked hills

Chimneys smoked and metal towers clanked.

The streets smelled of mutton soup and coal dust.

And no one spoke my language.

All of it told me This is not where you belong.”

 

“Things take the time they take. Don’t worry” – Mary Oliver

 

A Short Story – List Form

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The following short story was inspired by a prompt from Julie Duffy from STORYADAY.org and authors Jennifer Eagan and Lydia Davis.

 

Life Changing To Do List from an Unnamed Character #15

  1. File
  2. Write my Manifesto
  3. Change insurance
  4. Change beneficiaries on life insurance.
  5. Refinance the car loan.
  6. Plan trip to Portland, Maine
  7. Clean out closet
  8. Drop off items to Goodwill
  9. Rent a Uhaul
  10. Find an apartment that fits the 7 foot dining room table
  11. Open a new bank account
  12. Order checks
  13. Apply for passport
  14. Buy a vacuum
  15. Purge

Initial Coaching Meetings

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This is the first week of school and the year is already filled with abundant amounts of adventure and confusion!

This is the email I sent to my teachers 2 weeks before school started:

Good summer to you!
I am sharing a Google Doc with each of you individually with some questions to answer. I will be sharing a separate doc with my own answers as well.
One of my goals is for us to have the most powerful and dynamic working relationship. In order to respect everyone’s learning styles, I am sending this doc this week. I know some of you like to marinate a little longer than others.
I will send it again closer to starting school! I want to meet with everyone for about a minimum of 10 min to talk about the year either through tech or face to face. I will be sending a schedule Aug 13th.
Have a great rest of the summer and I am looking forward to hitting the ground running.

 

I then sent the GOAL SHEET. You can check it out and make a copy here if you like.

I sent a schedule for teachers to sign up for a 15-minute time slot.

At the 15 minute meeting I am asking 2 questions:

  1. What is most important to you right now?
  2. What is your favorite snack?

When I do trainings and meetings I try to have candy or snacks for my teachers. I want to know what they really like.

I plan to use some of the information to make a connection map to show how similar we all are as humans and also to have some stress relief that is aligned to how they take care of themselves.

I am hoping some of this information will help me make stronger relationships!