Story Walk #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

I have been working with the 4 year old kindergarten in my building this year. One class I visit weekly for a writing and reading lesson. These little ones are embracing their author and illustrator identities whole heartily. Today one of the first questions I got from students today is “Why is your hair black?”

I decided to dye my hair black from blonde again. It is October, it is almost Halloween, and it feels more like me right now.

In my town the library does a story walk in parks and other public outdoor spaces with a children’s book. Pages are printed and dotted along the path so kids can walk and read. I decided this was a perfect project to do with some classes in my school.

The 4K teaches with themes. Trees has been a great thread through the weeks. We have read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Caps for Sale. The students were learning about deciduous trees today!

When we did Chicka Chicka Boom Boom we talked about what else could be in the tree besides letters and coconuts. Lemons came up and then we called it a lemonade tree.

Today we talked about what silly things could go into trees and that is what they each wrote about.

Here are some the ideas:

Door tree

Macaroni tree

Pizza tree

Toy tree

The lost stuff tree

Shoe tree 

Sock tree

In order for the students to draw a tree they were advised to trace their hand which was a great way to have them do it.

The teachers wrote the sentence on the page and then they are going to be displayed on their lockers for everyone to read as a story walk.

It is exciting for everyone to see the great work these little ones are doing.

I cannot wait to see what they write next.

#IWSG October

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!

October Question

October 6 question – In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt,J Lenni Dorner,Cathrina Constantine,Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

In my writing, I do not censor myself for the most part. If I feel it isn’t something to be shared, then I do not. That is up to me as a writer.

There are a couple topics that I feel I cannot write about…yet. Maybe I need to move to another state again to get more distance. I have been thinking a lot about the stories I retell over and over and to write them down. Some things that have happened in my life I feel I would never write about either because I do not want to relive the memories.

This month I am examining some more of my shadow self and try to examine why I do not want to revisit certain topics. I am paying attention to what I read and what appeals to me and what doesn’t.

I am certain it is a fine line.

#happyreading #happywriting

Endings and Beginnings

October Is Coming Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr,  Pinterest, and Twitter

Today is the last day of September and I am excited that tomorrow is October! Lots of great things are happening in the month for me!

The Storyaday prompt today is to look behind and forward. I revised the story I wrote in May this morning. There are several stories I revised this month through the prompts that will need to get final pass throughs and sent off into the world. I have two stories out to a reader for feedback. As soon as she is done with them I will rewrite and then send them off. I have some goals before the end of the year!

The next challenge for October is OCTPOWRIMO so I will write a poem a day. I have been reading a lot of poetry and enjoying it. There is a new podcast called The Slowdown which is hosted by Ada Limon who I adore. She has her own commentary before reading the poem and it is delightful. Her voice is amazing.

My #last100day2021 project is continuing. I am creating a #100dayMFA for myself. I am tracking all the writing life activities I engage in every day on a beautiful spreadsheet. I did my writing this morning but right when I felt I was on a roll was when I had to get ready for work. I did write a piece in my own PUSH group last night that I liked. I will transcribe that sometime over the next few days and see where I am at with it.

I am preparing for NANOWRIMO in November in my mind. There is a project I am kicking around in my head that came from a conversation with Kim Flodin. I highly recommend her intuitive readings. It was an eye opening process for me.

What are your creative plans for October? I would love to hear!

23 on Tuesday #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

23 Things I Did This Morning:

  1. Woke up at 4 a.m.
  2. Had coffee
  3. Wrote in my notebook
  4. Responded to writers in Slack
  5. Listened to the MFA Writers Podcast
  6. Showered
  7. Found my green pants
  8. Straightened my hair
  9. Drove to work
  10. Did door duty
  11. Made schedules for two reading coach visits next week including links to tools and documents needed
  12. Drank more coffee
  13. Answered email
  14. Updated my calendar
  15. Looked at reading reports
  16. Delivered a student book to a teacher
  17. Read The Very Lonely Firefly to a class
  18. Facilitated writing and illustrating for the class
  19. Picked up a 4 year old student who is reading
  20. Made log entries for the work I did yesterday
  21. Changed the schedule after hearing from one of the coaches
  22. Had a conversation with the EL teacher about reading assessment
  23. Went to a grade level team meeting

It is interesting to see what I do when I list it out…

It’s FALL! #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer for the share every weekend.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had to take a trip to Ohio this week. It ended up being a writing immersion two days for me. It was the first day of fall and glorious writing and reading time for me. I also had some time to catch up on my work with the Sarah Selecky Writing School Story Intensive. I was closely reading Aimee Bender’s novel The Butterfly Lampshade and I am captivated by her writing style. I then was able to sign up for a workshop with her that I took Saturday. It was a well spent 2 hours. The exercises were amazing, I was happy with my writing, and I found some other short story writers that are amazing who attended the class.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been continuing the walking after school. Writing time is in the morning and I feel much more like myself.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my PUSH group is continuing through The Artist’s Way. We had a bit of a detour since I was out of town but we are all good. These weekly hour long meetings are the heartbeat of my community. There is so much joy and energy each week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was able to be on the Centered call this week. Sarah talked about rejection and submission. There are a couple of stories in the hopper that have just been sitting there. I will give them a couple more read throughs and then send them off somewhere.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather has turned much cooler and I am thankful for it! Sweatshirts are back in the rotation! WHOO HOO!

I hope your week was amazing and full of things that bring you joy!

#last100days

This post started out as one for Five Minute Friday, but now it is Saturday. Every Friday Kate posts a word and invites writers to compose for 5 minutes and share.

Today I care that there are 99 days left in 2021. I have thought about several different #last100days2021 projects and cannot find the lists I made. Today I wrote about the things I don’t care about in my notebook but I won’t share them here.

This morning I spent several hours writing. One of the rituals I have is to first write about my dreams if I remember them or have any. Then I write down the prompts that I am thinking about for the day.

Everyday I use the Sarah Selecky prompt which if you follow me at all know that I write to everyday. This month I have been recording the Storyaday prompt and the #septembersentences prompt from Caroline Donahue.

Next month there will be a prompt to write a poem a day.

In the past my 100 day project have been writing prompts, one sentence that turned into a story after the challenge was over, and the 100 rejections that morphed into 100 submissions. The 100 submissions project yielded a collection I published.

I am thinking about tarot and writing which I explore daily as well. I just received the Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones cards and may use that as a 100 day project. I am having trouble committing to a project.

What Else I Have Been Thinking About

Last year I applied for an MFA. There are loads of reasons and I want to be a better writer but not sure that is the path to take. I came late the idea of an MFA to begin with and I have a bit of a feeling that I missed out on something.

I have also come to know that I have cultivated a writing life and looks like a self-directed MFA.

In a traditional MFA you cannot choose the cohort you are with. Hopefully, the selection committee pays attention to this personality piece but I am not sure how that works. I have found in larger writing classes you cannot chose the cohort either. Sometimes you mesh and sometimes you don’t.

I have cultivated my own tribe of writers across several groups. There are different purposes for different groups. Some are writing in general, critique and study groups.

Exercises and close reading are learnings I participate in often. As an educator, I have given myself assignments. Actually, even before then I was! On my bookshelves, paper and digital, there are more writing craft books than I want to count. The fiction collections and novels are mentor texts.

I could go on and on about this topic. Nicole Rivera from Stop Writing Alone did a podcast episode about her thoughts around MFA’s and made the point that she is of the generation that when you wanted to learn something, you got a degree in it. I am of the same generation. I do take workshops and classes and am contemplating if that is enough.

Which leads me to a long winding path to the #100dayMFA. I am toying with this idea and writing out what I do on a daily basis to cultivate the writing life I live now. There are many components that include, but not limited to:

  1. Close reading with lists
  2. Craft talks/readings/podcasts (learning)
  3. Community
  4. Writing schedule
  5. Projects
  6. Immersion days
  7. List of exercises/assignments
  8. How and what to share (blog?newsletter?)

The bottom line is I have not exactly decided what I want to do with these last 100 days even though I had the countdown in my Passion Planner.

I would love to hear your thoughts about my 100 day project ideas or your own project!

Welcome Fall!

Photo by rikka ameboshi on Pexels.com

I feel like the welcoming committee to the new season this year. I happily am kicking summer out of the guest room and welcoming my friend Autumn into the house with her red hair and flowing burnt leaf colored clothing. She smells of coffee, pumpkin, spice, and cider and glows in a way no one else does.

It has been a disorienting last couple of weeks for me and I am happy for the transition of a new season on the tail of a full moon.

On Tuesday I wrote about ten delights of Fall. You can read that here.

I am ushering in today with writing, reading, and people watching. I am reading The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender and have been inspired by her sentences. It has been a long while since I had a novel that I could crawl in to and absorb the magic.

This novel strikes me in a way that makes me think of other connections I have and want to write about them. It is a novel I keep wanting to come back to. It is on my kindle so I have been reading it on my phone which is not always ideal for me. I love her writing and weirdness but there are so many triggers for me to write coming from the ideas and the language and how she puts sentences together. I have this notion to rewrite all the highlights so I can feel where the magic is coming from inside her construction. I haven’t felt this drawn to a book in a long time. The Night Circus is really the only fiction book that comes to mind.

Anyone else get this feeling from an author or a book?

I need to find some good Autumn poems to read. I have been enjoying my Paris Review email with poems. Ada Limon is the new host of the podcast The Slowdown. She leads with a reflection of her own and then reads a poem. It has been delightful.

I am looking forward to using my Writing Down the Bones cards that will come in the mail today! I adore Natalie Goldberg.

I have been doing much reflection over the past week and coming to some truths about my life and the perception of it!

I welcome the warmth and the hygge of the season for sure!

Ten on Tuesday #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and I am thrilled.

Here are ten delights about AUTUMN:

  1. twinkle lights
  2. cozy blankets
  3. coffee, but sometimes hot cider
  4. crows
  5. candles
  6. thick stew with crusty bread
  7. thick Irish wool sweaters
  8. reading the book In November to my students
  9. layers of clothes
  10. the crisp breeze flowing through colorful leaves on my walks

I would love to hear what fall means to you in the comments.

Still Trying #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

For the first time in at least a month, I began my day with an hour of writing. The plan was to sleep a little later and then write before work. The plans were changed a bit.

I wrote with my coffee and then we went on a short walk.

I have been back to work for a month and have still not found a new rhythm that feels right. I had to change rooms last week which threw me off. The longer early morning and afternoon walks seem to wear on me. It takes the whole weekend to recover. I know the experts say you cannot make up sleep, but that is what I seem to be doing. Focus and certain details seem to be lost.

This fall seems different than others in the past. I am doing many of the same things as the past: I write, I work, I walk, I learn but it all seems off somehow. I am hoping there will be some cooler weather that will come and stay.

The students have been in classrooms since September 1st and working with them has been wonderful. The teachers are lovely as well of course!

This situation is one where I wonder if I have to let go or try to manipulate it more. I know there needs to be more flexibility to the coaching job and schedules can change on a whim depending on student and teacher needs.

Hopefully, getting my room in a little more order will help today too!

Have you found your new rhythm?

I would love to hear in the comments.