#FMF Summer

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

Summer

There is an ease and magic to summer like no other season. Winter is my favorite with its cold and idea of being wrapped in blankets and the heat of the fire. The heat of summer blazes onto my skin as I walk through the trees and the fields logging the sounds of red winged blackbirds and horses as I pass. But summer is the time for iced drinks and watermelon too.

There is time in the summer for flow. The flow of writing and water. The flow of time. June went so quickly this year. It always does but now we are almost halfway through July and I am not ready. The two big trips happened already and there is a small excursion again next week. There are many things to still look forward to but I am trying to savor each moment and it feels like it is on fast forward.

The summer schedule is ideal for me. My writer’s agenda for the day starts with coffee and words in the morning, then a walk, good food plus inspiration. A simple existence which I crave. Scheduled meetings for talking to friends but minimal each week. Input of all types with reading, conversation, tv, and podcasts.

This summer is about work with my subconscious. The dreams and what I hide from myself. There are essays to write and notebooks to transcribe. There are stories to revise and workshops to plan. Morning pages have started again in preparation for The Artist’s Way group I am running in September. 

July is for hosting a 10 minute daily challenge. I inspire others to have a daily creative practice. It helps align me so I hope the same for others.

I am thankful for abundance and what is next. But mostly, I am savoring this moment.

Two Truths and A Lie Tuesday #sol21 #day30

Two Truths and A Lie

Can you tell which is which?

  1. I can juggle and used to entertain at children’s parties.
  2. I have run races from 5K to 50 miles and won an ultramarathon.
  3. I hate left turns and will avoid them when I can.

Do you have a guess?

How is it Day 30 of the month and this challenge already? The months are once again whizzing by for me. I sorta enjoyed the slow living of the lockdown/pandemic year. Every day for the month of March I post on my blog and then comment on three other blogs at twowritingteachers.org.

Monday:Poetry On My Mind #sol21 #day29

Every March I write a blog post a day and share on the Two Writing Teachers blog. Teacher writers from around the world share and comment on each other’s writing. Throughout the year, we do this on Tuesdays!

What did you write in your notebook this morning?

April is poetry month and it has been on my mind.

Every day I receive many poems to my inbox. I read some of them quickly and some I savor.

Today, the poem I read was How Many Lives Have We Lived in Paris? by Cyrus Cassells

As I read the poem I thought about identities lived throughout your life.

There is a structure with the poem where the phrase “The life of…”, then a verb with -ing, and then there is description of the life. The end of the poem is mostly one liners with asterisks in between.

I used this poem as a mentor text and guide and wrote my own in my notebook.

I started with “The life of..” and then did a freewrite about whatever came up. I was transported back to college and the first residence hall room I lived in. The new to me clean space that was a sickening beige color. It was the perfect palette to create this new life and identity for myself.

One of the lines I was drawn to is, “On a raucous kids’ carousel:/Its red gold undignified Sundays-“

I noticed lots of objects in the poem as well and tried to think of the objects connected to the identities I was writing about.

I then started to make a list of all the identities I have had over my life.

It is still a draft of course but a practice I love to engage in often.

I do not always start my mornings with reading first. I often start with the dream recollection I have. Today I did both.

What did you write in your notebook today?

I would love for you to share a snippet in the comments!

Thursday:Questions #sol21 #day26

Do you have a desk?

Thursdays are all about questions and this is mine to you today.

Throughout my teaching career the subject of teacher desks has always been a controversy. Some people are in the camp that they should not be in the classroom at all and others are ok with it.

I have wavered back and forth through the years.

Do you have a desk you work at in your home space?

I do not typically sit at the desk at school and work with students. Usually it is at a table or within the student’s space.

In my classroom now, I have no desk and I will admit…it is driving me crazy.

I have come to learn that I like having the deep drawer to my left that has the files for each of my students. I can take assessments or writing or notes and plop them right in there. Safely organized for when I need the information.

The surface is honestly the grounding place for all important papers [which the amount of always seems to grow even still in the era of teaching under COVID].

I have requested a desk so I hope it comes soon…I need drawers to fill.

How do you feel about desks? Do you have one at home?

Which camp are you in? Pro or Con Desk? I would love to know in the comments.

Wednesday:What Am I Reading? #sol21 #day24

Wednesdays are all about reading!

One of the ways I became a better writer was to use Ray Bradbury’s advice of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay every day for 1,000 nights.

My general things you can do with the text:

  1. Just read.
  2. Write down lines that you are drawn to.
  3. Write out a whole section word for word to get the feel of the author’s words.
  4. Write and start with the sentence stem: This piece reminds me of…
  5. Read the piece out loud to hear the author’s voice and rhythm.

Poem: Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye

Laura Robb introduced me to Nye at a Writers At Work conference in Sun Valley, Idaho years and years ago. Ever since that day I have sought out and read her poetry. I have read it for pleasure and for teaching.

Short Story: The Stone by Louise Erdrich

This story has an object at its center which is a structure and craft move I love. This story has me wondering which is a good characteristic for my reading!

Essay: On Keeping a Notebok by Joan Dideon

How do you feel about vanishing things?

The Joan Dideon is a classic essay for writers. Nina LaCour talks about it on her podcast Keeping a Notebook which is where she got the name.  Most writers keep some sort of notebook. It is a longer essay, but worth the read.

What are your favorite recommendations?

What are your thoughts about these choices? I would love to know!

Ten on Tuesday #sol21 #day23

A Ten on Tuesday List

This is a prompt I have given often to students in the past.

It lends itself to ideas for more writing later. You can give a topic or leave it open.

Here is my list for today:

10 Things I Have To Get From The Store

  1. Ice
  2. Blueberries
  3. Lettuce
  4. Mushrooms
  5. Garlic Herb Tenderloin
  6. tortilla shells
  7. DayQuill
  8. Sparkle wine in a can
  9. Eggs
  10. Trident

What list of ten would you make today?

Every day for the month of March I post on my blog and then comment on three other blogs at twowritingteachers.org.

Monday:Energy Challenge #sol21 #day22

What Fueled Me:

  • Coffee
  • 10min10day challenge responses and community (sign up here)
  • Idea of edible spoons
  • Talking to my kids
  • New ideas
  • Reading a revision of a friend’s flash piece
  • Voxer
  • Talking with my friend
  • Giving a gift
  • Knowing PUSH group is tomorrow
  • Time alone
  • Writing

What drained me:

  • Worries
  • Busy weekend
  • Rain
  • Waiting

What I learned:

Things that are worrying me I have put on the calendar to take care of so it lessens the emotion surrounding it. Other things just have to work themselves out. The worry doesn’t help it along I know but the realization doesn’t make it go away either.

Having more time with my friend does make the day better.

I would love to hear what some of your answers are for today if you are willing to share in the comments.

Thursday:Questions #sol21 #day18

Thursdays are all about questions!

If you know me, then you usually only know one or two aspects of my life. I have writing groups, teacher groups, running groups, and a couple others. Rarely do the bubbles knock into each other.

Sometimes I forget when I reference a situation that is not “native” to that group.

This week while talking with some writer friends they said they kept forgetting that it was St Patrick’s Day this week. I told them it was Wednesday but I wouldn’t be doing anything because it is my school meeting day.

“How do you remember that it was this week?” they asked.

I laughed.

Kindergarten is its own world sometimes. I explained to my friend that in kindergarten we celebrate EVERYTHING.

Some celebrations are large with parties and things I have to buy!

Some are small celebrations in the classroom with cheers and songs and air high fives.

Every major holiday (and we have some sort of teacher apparel to go with it) is noted and celebrated. There is writing and reading, songs, and ,sometimes if we can get away with it, a craft of some sort.

We celebrate 100 days of school which requires items to be brought in, 100 crowns to be constructed, and centers that deal with all things 100 to be set up. We probably count to 100 more than 100 times that day.

We cheer for lost teeth and finally being able to count to 100 by 10’s.

We celebrate a wonderful sentence written and an amazing group story that we just wrote.

We celebrate our favorite books and their authors. We send them tweets and cheer when they tweet back.

Birthdays are special. If you don’t have a birthday during the school year then you get an UN-Birthday.

Why do I do UN-birthdays? I had a first grade teacher that assigned me an UN-birthday like in Alice in Wonderland because I had a June birthday. It was the only year my entire career of school that I was able to bring treats for the class. It made a huge difference to me. I never forgot it.

How can you not celebrate for all these things when there is a room full of 5 and 6 year olds who bring you magic every day?

What will you celebrate today?

I invite you to #10minfor10days already in progress!

Sign up here!

Tuesday:Llama Delights #sol21 #day16

St Patrick's Day Llama" iPad Case & Skin by YamPuff | Redbubble

Tuesdays are all about delights!

Today one of my delights is Llama Tuesday! What is this strange reference to Tuesday you ask?

It isn’t the beginning of the week — it isn’t hump day — it isn’t Friday Eve- it’s just a normal ordinary “do what you need to do” day. I decided it needed something special to liven it up that was my own. People make up holidays all the time so why not me? This was the day Llama Tuesday was born.

Tuesdays used to be the day my favorite podcasts came out. There are still many that drop today that I love [MFA Writers, The Next Right Thing, LaVar Burton Reads…]

Llamas are a little ornery. They spit, they can be pretentious, and have a bit of an attitude. I think that Llamas and writers have a lot in common in these ways so I started to slip it onto the end of my blog posts. You might notice when I post for Slice of Life Tuesdays that I reference llamas.

I started posting a random “Happy Llama Tuesday” message in my regular writing community on Slack as well as the bottom of blog posts. At first, I didn’t offer any explanation. I just wanted to see if people would notice.

They noticed.

Now it is a regular practice and the tag line now is “Happy Llama Tuesday — Celebrate accordingly!” So you might celebrate by being a little sassy that day or bring a smile to someone’s face. It is not the customary greeting which can catch people off guard pleasantly.

The llama has popped up here and there. A friend tagged me in an Instagram post yesterday with a llama. I got llama notebooks for Christmas. A friend on a Zoom call pointed out her llama earring! FUN!

I wasn’t expecting the Llama to have such a lasting effect but I am glad she did!

I say to you — HAPPY LLAMA TUESDAY! Maybe you can greet someone else today and make them smile!

What delighted you today?

Is happening!

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Monday:Energy Challenge #sol21 #day15

What Fueled Me:

  • coffee
  • Comfy clothes today
  • dreaming and remembering it
  • 10min10day challenge started (sign up here)
  • Snow falling
  • Learning facts about bees
  • Sharing writing
  • Many people shared with me what they wrote with the first prompt! This was thrilling for me!
  • Erica Johnson shared with me!
  • Here are some others:

What drained me:

  • Snow
  • Time change hangover
  • Busy weekend
  • not writing enough this morning before work
  • Being called “teacher” after 91 days…
  • Walking and slipping several times and hurting myself temporarily
  • All the traffic

What I learned:

There is a lot of great things that happened today that I need to focus on rather than what drained me. I need to appreciate those things for the simple fact that the highs wouldn’t be so high if it weren’t for the lows!

I would love to hear what some of your answers are for today if you are willing to share in the comments.