Tammy Breitweiser is a writer and teacher who is a force of nature and woman of honor; seer of nuance; an accidental inspirationalist; a keeper of the little red doors, and a conjurer of everyday magic who is busy writing short stories. Her poetry has been published in The Storyteller Magazine. Her flash fiction in Spelk, Cabinet of Heed, Clover and White, and Elephants Never. Her essay is published in the I Wrote it Anyway anthology. You can also connect with Tammy through Twitter @Tlbreit
Today is the first day of autumn. It is a big day in kindergarten! There is something magical about the changing of the seasons and the passage of one season to another. We will celebrate with reading and writing.
Personally, my last 100 day challenge starts tomorrow! I am hosting a write in tomorrow night that is the kick off for my #100writingprompt project. For all my $3 and up Patrons, they will receive a new writing prompt every day for the last 100 days of 2020. I am also hosting write ins or just time to be creative at least once a month.
I am ridiculously excited about this project.
Writing practice and the celebration of such seems like the perfect way to close out 2020. As we move through the year, some of the prompts will be used with my students as well.
In Create A Writer’s Life by Cynthia Morris she says, “recount your day or write your wishes or complaints. Use your writer’s eye to jot down details, sensations, conversations or ideas. The point of journaling is to get in the habit of sitting still and writing.”
On my walk today I listened to Nina LaCour’s Keeping a Notebook podcast. I went back to the beginning of the publication and listened to the first two epsiodes.
Both of these women are inspiring me today.
Today in my notebook I wrote about characters I am developing for a class. The one woman came to me first but her best friend bullied her way into the primary spot. Sometimes characters work this way. In my mind, I see them as real people. They are showing themselves to me bit by bit through thoughts and freewrites. Today I wrote about what is in Rachael’s pockets.
I wrote about balance and relationships. I wrote about uncertainty in challenges and that I need to open my eyes and have courage.
I wrote about the adventure hike we had at Devil’s Lake park yesterday. We saw a woman fall and claim to have broken her ankle. We climbed slippery rocks that felt cool to the touch and walked along a railroad track.
Later I will make some notes about what I learned today, how far I walked, and how I will make this week a Level 10.
It is officially fall next week. It has been a gentle transition it seems into the new season. The leaves are changing a little at a time, there has been soup for dinner, and I ordered brown ink to FALL-ize my notebooks.
Coffee is constant.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been thinking a lot about all the words I have in notebooks and Google drives. I am a manifesting generator in Human Design and have been thinking about the idea that I need to wait to respond. I gather many ideas everywhere. I have joked that my next short story collection will be titled, “Too Many Tabs Open.” There comes a time when I have to chose something to take to the next level. There is a magical element to how this works for me honestly. I will be searching for something else and a piece will show up in the drop down menu. It happened this morning – the story that has sparked a response is called, “Feelings in Triplicate.”
I will also continue to transcribe my notebooks into the Google Drive. In part, just so it is searchable. Also, the notebooks are piling up and am running out of room to stash them.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had amazing conversations with clients and friends this week. I was part of two Zoom write ins this week that saved me from my own anxiety. One of which involved a 20 minute plus conversation about pens. It was glorious.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you everything seems too loud this week. The click of the light switch in the early morning, the Tru Green people too early Saturday morning, the coffee pot sputtering as it cooks the droplets of water, commercials….there is too much. The noise is an interruption to my flow. I wrote about this idea in my newsletter this week.
I hope your week was inspiring and not too full of interruptions.
I always feel like I get deep advice and conversation from this podcast. It is one that I do not miss. I knew the new season was starting and kept thinking yesterday was Thursday because of it!
Keeping A Notebook
Nina LaCour is amazing. You need to listen to her podcast just to listen to her voice. It has a dream like quality that takes me to another place.
Her podcast is intermittent. During the pandemic she shared writing prompts and her feelings about the isolation with a spin off called Shelter In Place. She is real and honest. Another podcast I never miss an episode of.
I have been obsessed lately with MFA programs. This podcast is an interview format. An MFA student is asked questions about their writing and their program. How it works and details about workshops and boundaries pertaining to the individual program.
2 Writing Prompts
Set a timer for ten minutes. Let you pen move and do not censor yourself.
Cait Flanders is an author that has a style of writing that is also magical. Her new book came out Tuesday and I am already a couple chapters in. I pre-ordered this book which is not something I do often.
In this time of uncertainty I am choosing to focus on the delights of my day. I am celebrating the wins. I will admit this is not always something I do well.
After seeing fellow teachers with personal sized laminators I inquired about them and found out how reasonably priced they were. That warm smell of melting plastic is one of the reasons I wanted to be a teacher. The aroma filled my room yesterday. I remember being in second grade wanting desperately to cut out the laminated paper pieces. DELIGHT!
The coffee I have while I teach in my empty classroom is a delight. The smiles and repeating of the days of the week and singing our family meeting songs are delights through the screen.
I start my students’ day with breathing. We inhale and hold and then blow it out like the wind. Then we share something they are thankful for and something they are proud of. We will add pieces to this routine as we move forward through the year.
They are thankful for brownies and birthday cake. They are thankful for their family and their pets. They are thankful for stories and finding the white scottie dog in a David Shannon book.
They are proud they helped their mom in the kitchen and picked out the peppers for dinner. They are proud of their dads.
Every session a student of the day is chosen and we make a chart of their favorites. They write their classmates names and we draw pictures of them. One of my students said their favorite food is chicken wings on the bone – don’t give him boneless!
I chose to focus on what makes school delightful for my students and me because this is our reality and this is all they know.
As I write this, the temperature outside slowly climbs. All this week it has rained and been cool. I walked every day after work anyway. There were five days of rain. When I walked yesterday the rain broke and the sun emerged for about an hour. My jacket and layers became too warm then. I am still considering whether I will walk today or not.
As a writer I pride myself in paying attention to the details. Yesterday I was shocked to see a small patch of 10 7 foot sunflowers in a yard I pass several times a week. I wondered if they had sprung up from the rain or they had escaped my attention before then. I guess I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to see them til yesterday. The sunflowers were a welcome sight in one way and a reminder of my flaws in another.
As I write this I think about how I have been incorrect about so much the last couple of days. I thought I had a writing meeting today but do not. The disappointment is immense. More so than it should be. I am consciously thinking about how I want to savor the Sunday time since I have to return to work tomorrow. The ease in to virtual learning is over and tomorrow the schedule is packed. I have written this morning and composed fiction. I have considered how I want to spend the day. I am hoping a book club meets today but anticipate it will not because the host is in Mexico. I feel like the rain clouds are weighing on me even though they have passed in the sky.
Yesterday I was highly irritated and the day did not go as I would have hoped. It happens. I am reminded that my mantra is true – Everything is temporary. Everything had been going quite smooth for too long and I knew it. I listened to a masterclass about Enneagram and honestly learned some things about my type that I am not pleased with. It made sense and was true but that reflection is the mirror was difficult to battle yesterday. There were other irritants as well, like the WIFI dropping in the middle of a podcast. Unusual and I didn’t want to be with my own thoughts.
As I write this I think about how I finished Near Witch by V.E. Schwab last night. It was not as satisfying to finish a novel yesterday. I am fascinated by the story behind this novel. She wrote it in 2 hour blocks while she was working somewhere else. She wrote it in a cafe. There is a romance to that snippet I admire.
As I write this I think about how I am obsessed with the idea that if I went to high school in a different town I would have come to writing as a serious pursuit much earlier. There was a lack of writing influence in my youth. I knew no creative people. I only knew books. Books I knew well, but there was no real life model for me then. I have this fantasy that I would have gone to school for creative writing and been immersed in an MFA. I should appreciate how far I have come in this life but today every thing seems heavy.
As I write this I send you peace and light to your realm of the world.
Let’s take a walk and a thermos of coffee with us today. It is beautiful and I would enjoy the stroll.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I listened to Brene Brown’s podcast this week about a books called Stretch. It is about resourcefulness and based on science. I put a hold on it from the library and am excited to read it. The interview on the podcast was fun and interesting.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I revisited the pyramid of mastery this week. I know it is not exclusive to Tony Robbins but it is where most of my training on the matter comes from. I examined where in my life I am right now in each area on a scale from 1-10. Body, Emotions, Relationships, Time, Mission, Finances, and Contribution. I find it a good practice to revisit the 7 areas to check in. At the beginning of June I did the same exercise.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I got the newsletter out on time another week! This week’s topic was about all the areas we receive feedback in our lives. Specifically, about all the areas I received feedback over the past week. If you are not a subscriber to the newsletter, I would love to have you! Click here to allow me to visit your inbox once a week.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I published the first part of my conversation workshop. I made a video to go with the slides explaining the three experiment choices so the conversation can be rich. I did my own conversation experiment this week as well and was surprised at how deep the conversation got so quickly.
If we were having coffee I would remind you Labor Day was just last Monday. I did a lot of driving that day shuffling kids. Everyone was super sleepy from being in the river and kayaking the day before. I was glad to listen to some podcasts during the time.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I started week 7 of the Artist’s Way this week. I like the tasks. This is the week with the Jealousy Map exercise and a lot of sentence stems to finish. I feel I know myself better now and it was easier to answer than the other times I have done the program.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I answered my morning and evening questions every day in my notebook. I enjoy the feedback it gives me. It helps me to be more intentional with my tasks as well.
As a coach, I try to help people remember the ways they can take care of themselves. Hopefully, this will remind me! Several years ago I had mini 15 minute initial meetings with everyone in my school and asked them what was most important to them at that moment and how did they treat themselves. They were good questions to ask.
My self care looks like this:
I fast and exercise every day. I start my day with the morning routine that fuels and fulfills me. I learn something every day.
How do you take care of yourself? I would love to know.
I had my lists. I had my weird before school dreams (that will become a short story).
On the way drive to school, I was thinking about my to do list with my first morning meeting with my students. In Wisconsin, the left turn signal is sometimes on the right side of the horizontal traffic light. Well…..I saw the green and went forward – straight through my red light. Ooops.
My first Zoom class meeting started at 8 am and the second was at noon! I had almost all my students show up! I did morning message, calendar, and got everyone signed in. I read David Goes to School by David Shannon. One of the things I like to do is throw random facts about the author into my read alouds. It makes it interesting for everyone. I have met a lot of authors and David Shannon’s info nugget is that every book he writes he puts a white scottie dog somewhere in the book’s illustrations. It is an Easter Egg for the kids to find.
I started both my live sessions with a variance of priming. I talk about a script here in a precious post. Today it was about breathing and about sharing something they were thankful for. This activity started the sessions beautifully.
Since I am fasting I was able to take my lunch time and get my Conversation Workshop completed for my Patreon community. In the spring I decided to start teaching workshops again. I missed them from my middle school coaching days. I had even planned them before the pandemic. It is always fun to get together and have engaging and life giving conversations with interesting people! If you want to learn more you can click here or visit my Patreon link at the top of the blog page.