M is for Mentor Text #SOLC Day 18

I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. Each day in the month of March teachers from around the country post to their blogs and comments are made on at least 3 posts.

The Bradbury Trio project is going quite well! I am “feeding the muse” as Bradbury would say with all the lovely words. It is also helping that I am reading essays specifically about creativity and writing. I am starting to get some recommendations from others which is greatly appreciated. I was reminded this past weekend of Pema Chödrön whose words helped me through a trauma a couple years ago. I will seek her words out moving forward.

Here is a small portion of what I have been reading lately:

Essays

“The Long Road to Mars” by Ray Bradbury

“Just This Side of Byzantium: Dandelion Wine” R.B.

“How to Keep and Feed A Muse” R.B

“The Gap” Natalie Goldberg

THE TIME I MET NEW YORK’S PATRON SAINT OF TYPEWRITERS by
 Thaisa Frank

Short Stories

Come to the Fair Shirley Jackson

1,000 Year Old Ghosts Laura Chow Reeve

Devil of A Tale and The Mouse by Shirley Jackson

Foley’s Pond

The Actual Thing William Maxwell

The Needle Behind the Thread and Always See Me Ryan Bender Murphy

The Widow’s Club

Instructions for Mourning

Poems – [I receive the Paris Review daily email with a poem]

The Cooper Beech Marie Howe

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer Walt Whitman

“Spring” Judita Vaiciunate

The Solsticeby W. S. Merwin

“Yeats at Balscadden” Damel Tobin

Have you read anything really great I need to read? Tell me!

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Readwise #SOLC Day 17

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Usually, we make corned beef and cabbage and have soda bread but this year is a bit more regular and simple. I wore my green to a workshop on Friday.

An app called Readwise is linked to my Amazon account and therefore my kindle. I receive a once a week email including some of the highlights I have made in the books that I have read.

Here are some of the highlights I received this week. It is an interesting look into my reading history.

As a writing exercise, I will take a couple of these quotes and use them as freewriting prompts.

10% Happier by Dan Harris
Working for Peter was like sticking your head in a lion’s mouth:
thrilling, but not particularly safe. (Location 182)Y

This book was recommended to me by a coworker. It was interesting and I liked reading about meditation but it did not change my behavior around the practice. I did really like this line though.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
She wanted to bottle how safe she felt in this moment, so she could
drink of it later when loneliness and fear left her parched. (Location 284)

I read The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See right after each other. I wished I could bottle safety myself and wish I would have written this line!

Dear Life by Alice Munro
In fact they embraced it, diving into it and wrapping the familiar
words round their tongues as if they were a candy that could last forever. (Location 209)

Being a short story writer I love Alice Munro. I only recently learned of her so this is a more recent read. I love words and the idea of them being candy like resonated with me.

Inside the Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg
Subtraction works by eliminating an essential component of a system (a product or process). (Location 706)

This book was recommended by a speaker at the International Reading Association conference. It was about problem solving and was fascinating. I have gone back to this book on many occasions.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
Year’s resolution was to live his life like it’s an art project. (Location 2175)

Ah! Emily! If you are a reader of my blog you know I LOVE Emily P Freeman. I love projects and challenges and loved the equation of life to the project.

We Wanted to Be Writers by Eric Olsen, Glenn Schaeffer, and
Bill Manhire
Or try to walk, a walking meditation. Don’t talk. That scares away the light. (Location 3293)Y

I found out about the Iowa Writing Workshop from Oprah actually. Once I learned about this writing mecca I searched for everything I could read about the program and the writers. This book is only one of them.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
The stories shatter. Or you wear them out or leave them behind.
Over time the story or the memory loses its power. Over time you
become someone else. (Location 1348)

Solnit is a beautiful writer. I adore her patterns and style. Her words speak to me in a very mindful way.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Tangier and Lucy were the same, I thought. Both unsolvable riddles
that refused to leave me in peace. (Location 1632)

This was a book about friendship – or the illusion of it at least. I loved this line.

Creative Schools by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica
Effective teaching is a constant process of adjustment… (Location 1724)

Ken Robinson! Oh yes! His books are fantastic and I love to hear his presentations on YouTube. He is brilliant.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
He’d do what he always did, find the sweet among the bitter. (Location 4260)Y

Such is life, yes? I read this book for a book club years ago. I would have never picked it up otherwise.

Thanks for reading and looking into a slice of my reading life! It is fun to revisit lines that struck me as I read. I am looking forward to the writing later too!

Happy Irish Sunday!

Note: I wrote my coffee share post yesterday – if you are looking for it it is day 16 this week.

Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 16

Grab your cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable chair around this oak table and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning. I am on my third cup though. I have been really tired all this week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then comment on at least 3 posts. This weekend there is a comment challenge so there will be lots of activity. If the internet goes down blame it on the teachers! I commented every day and it is always great to interact with people.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have had a training yesterday with Jim Knight. I drove into the city which always feels sophisticated to me. They had moved our tables which was jarring! This is a series of workshops and the same group meets every time. We have one more session next month. I spent a lot of the time talking to the coaches at our table. The materials are always great. We talked about learning maps which is something I will bring back to my office. It is a visible learning plan for students and teachers. There were times I had a hard time focusing throughout the day because I had woken up at 2:30 am. I had multiple little baby cups of coffee. I had great conversation about writing with a gifted classroom with an elementary coach too which was fun.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the conference I want to go to in November has posted the registration this week. I cannot sign up quite yet but will. There are studies that show the more you anticipate something the more happiness you glean from it. I will be taking full advantage of this fact with the writing conference in Salem! I have been there once. The Sunday before I ran the Boston Marathon I spent the day walking around the city. It was fascinating and I cannot wait to go back.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I read at least one essay, one poem and one short story every day this week for my Bradbury Trio. I found the formats and the ideas finding their way into my writing this week which is a good thing. The essays mostly were Ray Bradbury and Natalie Goldberg.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a teacher left our building in the middle of the year. She had her reasons and I support her, but I am sad about it. She is the second math teacher to do it this year. I feel bad for the kids. Some of them are not dealing with the feelings of abandonment well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my writing has been all over the place. I wrote every day but I am not working on any particular short stories. I do have the rejected flash fiction story I want to revise and send back out this weekend. I plan to work on some longer word count short stories for the month is April. I also will get 3 critiques back on another story from my group so I will be able to revise it next month and send it out too!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loved this chat with you today! It really is a highlight of my week. What is the best thing that happened to you today? I would love to hear about something inspiring you read.

Happy Weekend!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

You can also read more posts from teacher writers at twowritingteachers.org

PLACE #FMF #SOLC Day 15

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life challenge. Each day in March teachers from around the country post to their blogs and the Two Writing Teachers website. We read and comment on each other’s posts.

Since it is Friday, it is also time for Kate’s Five Minute Friday Challenge. Today’s word is PLACE. You can read the guest post by author and inspiration Christie Purifoy whose new book PLACEMAKER just released.

In my Google Keep notes I saved the word : Monochopsis: the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place. This word is one I didn’t know existed but feel it is the perfect descriptor for several seasons of my life. I see belonging as a comfort but not always a necessity. My job title is coach. At this school, I am on a teacher contract. I have no evaluative portions of my job which I am grateful for but for some people the lines get blurry.

As a coach my place is to be helpful and a resource. Right now there are obstacles in my building and I am trying to reflect to make my practice better.
Christy Pulfroy said on a podcast I listening to toward the beginning of the month that a placemaker to her was someone who made their place even if you knew you would only be there a short time. She started me thinking of the gifts that place gives us. I suppose in the grand scheme of things everything is temporary.

I feel I am in temporary spaces in several aspects of my life. I am always waiting for the next thing. This idea isn’t all bad but can lead to frustration sometimes.

My place today is at a table with respected coaches I work with and my place in the room is among professional from around the area. The time with these people is limited now that we are in March so I need to be the gift and receive the gifts in this space I will be in today no matter how tired I am. The potential for knowledge and connection is great and I need to recognize that fact.

What comes to mind when you think of the word PLACE?

M is for Mentor #SOLC Day 12

I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. Each day in the month of March teachers from around the country post to their blogs and comments are made on at least 3 posts.

I am continuing my Bradbury Trio and have found it affecting my writing already. I have always been of the mindset it is good practice to find a Mentor to help you be better at whatever you are trying to raise your skill level in. I had a wonderful coach when I was learning to be a coach. I have consultants and authors I look up to now. But the most consistent mentor I have are books, stories, poems, essays, and most recently, blog posts.

Last night I read the essay, RUN FAST, STAND STILL, OR, THE THING AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS,OR, NEW GHOSTS FROM OLD MINDS by Bradbury in the Zen in the Art of Writing. In this essay he talks about his list of nouns and how he used the list of 20 nouns to fuel stories. Many of these went on to be published. The brain pickings newsletter talked about this concept which I wrote a blog post about as well. You can read that here. It reminded me to make my own list today.

One of my favorite writing exercises is to start with a word and springboard from there. I pick a word and set the timer for 10 minutes and see what happens. It is writing practice and sometimes it leads to a story or a blog post.

I was also inspired yesterday by a writing friend who is going through a coaching process with a professional. Chatting with her about it sparked an idea for a story or an article I am going to explore more today.

Other blog posts are inspiring me with their formats!

The poem I read of Billy Collins yesterday, “Thieves” inspired my own poem in my notebook (not for public consumption…yet).

Inspiration is everywhere!

Other ways to be a mentor of writing:

  1. Talk about writing.
  2. Verbalize stories.
  3. Use storyboards and share stories.
  4. Share stories from your life.
  5. Find a writer that is a little more advanced than you and taker her out to coffee or send her email or a Tweet. CONNECT and LEARN.
  6. Read Books to Help you Become a Better Writer. Try: Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, Ralph Fletcher,
  7. Donald Maass

Add your favorite writing mentors in the comments! What other mentors do you use for your writing?

Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 10

Grab your cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable chair around this oak table and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning. I am on my third cup though.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then comment on at least 3 posts. There are lots of teacher-writers there I follow regularly and I have already met new ones. I started participating the year I went to Hawaii for spring break so I think that might have been 2006? 2008? I have been doing this challenge for a long time.



If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have had a great time this week connecting with other bloggers and teachers. I always love chatting with people through the comments. As a writer, it is exciting to see what jumps out to people and resonates with them. I learn so much from everyone.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a Google call with one of my writing friends which was completely fulfilling to me! We are not geographically close enough to meet in person. She helped me realize a few things right in front of me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about hosting a gathering surrounding the Bradbury Trio. I think this would lead to a great reading and writing discussion. Read my thoughts about it here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I received another rejection. Sticker went in the book! I received some feedback so that made me happy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you, the time change is something I abhor. I wish we didn’t do it at all. I usually say it is jet lag without the trip. This year I have to travel by car for a sporting event for my daughter. Monday is going to be ROUGH.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loved this chat with you today! I would love to hear something wonderful that happened this week for you. I want to hear about what or who is inspiring you!

Happy Sunday!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

You can also read more posts from teacher writers at twowritingteachers.org

Things I Want More Of #FMF #SOLC Day 8

I am participating in TWO WRITING TEACHERS Slice of Life Challenge for the month of March. It is also Friday and time for FMF (Five Minute Friday) so I am combining efforts here.

Honestly, it has been a trying week. There has been a lot going on and I truly appreciate the interaction I have had with bloggers, teachers, writers, and friends.

What do I want more of?

I want more time that is my own and not overshadowed by other people’s stuff.

I want more time to write. Sometimes I want that time to be in a coffee shop or bookstore so I can people watch and overhear conversations.

I want more reading that lasts longer than 10 minutes at a time. I want to fall into more books. I also want to read more for reading sake – not just to get the book done and add it to a numbered list for the year.

I want more time at home as opposed to the car or really anywhere else for that matter!

I want more interaction with my writer tribe (I am doing something about this TODAY) This MORE goes with my word of the year #CONNECT. I also want to connect more with my readers – of the blog and my fiction.

I want more money to do things with my kids and husband. I want to travel more. I want to attend writing conferences.

I want more consistent sleep. I don’t do self care well. I get sleep but it is all over the place throughout the week.

I want more coffee? No…just kidding. I drink A LOT! Come by Sunday and we can have coffee together to talk about the weekend!

Overall, I want more peace. In my heart there is much peace, I just need more of the surrounding molecules to get on board!

What do you want more of?

My Favorites Party – You’re Invited #SOLC – Day 7

I am participating in the
Slice of Life Challenge
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day of March 2019.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

This is the Slicer that started the Favorite Party Slice trend: here

Each person is asked to bring five of their favorite things.  Doesn’t this sound like a fun thing to do with friends?

I do too, and I have invited YOU! I have wanted to do a REAL LIFE party for a while, but am so excited to do this as a slice. The week has been stressful and sometimes fun items make us happy!

Imagine we are all sitting around a  roaring fire in comfy clothes with delicious beverages. We would have some yummy fireplace food – something hearty with some rustic bread.

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What would you bring to share?

I would bring:

  1. Inkjoy pens

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2. Intelligencia Black Cat Coffee

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3. Smartwool socks – these are my favorite for running and for lounging around. They are expensive but worth it.

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4. Well Write Journals – This is my new favorite journal. It is the perfect size and it lays flat and is durable. The paper is lovely and numbered.

WriteWell Journals

5. Llama Stickers – Llamas are my new thing and I am not sure why. I love this sticker that I found at Target. They make me happy.

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6. Writing Down the Bones – a classic writing book that we could pull some exercises from and writing together – with our pens and journals we put stickers on and wearing our socks drinking coffee! HA!

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Bonus Item:

This book is pre-order right now but comes out April 2 – The podcast of the same name is amazing and there are bonuses for ordering as well. You can go to this site for info: http://nextrightthingbook.com/

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Just imagine the conversation we would have!

Please share your favorite things you would share in the comments.

#IWSG March

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

Today’s question is my own – What point of view do you prefer to write in?

In most of my writing I prefer to write in first person. I think this is partially because the reading I am drawn to is the first person format. I love to get inside a character’s head and know what they are thinking and why they are making the moves they make.

My novel, however, is written in third person because I include several different character perspectives. It is still in revision so that may change!

On another note, yesterday I picked up Bradbury’s 100 story collection from the library. It is a doorstop of a book and I am looking forward to diving into it at lunch time today! I use his writing as a mentor text and am excited to read and ponder!

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Waiting – A Flash Story #SOLC Day 6

I am participating in a flash fiction contest hosted by Indie Unlimited and you can read my flash story below the photo. Flash fiction is a great medium to use with students. The short word count makes it appealing and there is a zing to it! I will be posting soon some of my favorite flash authors but Kathy Fish and Lydia Davis are two to start with if you want to pursue that rabbit hole!

You can click here to vote for your favorite story written from this beautiful photograph.

Please vote for your favorite story! Of course I would love if mine is your favorite! After clicking on the link above, click the circle next to my name: TAMMY BREITWEISER, then click on the VOTE box at the bottom of the names. It is above the phrase VOTING RESULTS.

Thank you so much!

At the top of the hill I wait for my normal breath to return and gaze back on the trail hill I just sprinted up. The waves of Lake Michigan are crashing on the shore caressing the sand. Partners forever. I am glad I decided to run without headphones today. My thoughts are bombarding me with enough noise as it is. The same phrase is on repeat How did you not see?

My life will not be the same when I return to the car. The papers will be signed. The friends and assets will be divided, and not to be confused. It is a moment of before and after.

I have beat myself up with an emotional bat and today I physically match. My thighs and calves are burning from running in the sand. The small of my back is wet with sweat and ache. A trickle of sweat is making the space between my breasts itch but I can’t get to it because of the layers. I do not know how long I have been out here but  I have run the same loop three times. My heart still works. It is pounding trying to get out but I have to keep it caged at least 4 seasons. It needs to heal before it can be open to breaking again.