6 Word Memoirs

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Six- word memoirs are a go-to quick writing idea. Do not be disillusioned by their small stature though. They can be difficult to write. Practicing making your language concise is a trying practice for some authors no matter if you are 5 or 50 or somewhere in between.

Here are a couple of examples:

Lost in places where I belong.

I’ve waited in the wrong line.

Lost my mind. Gave up looking.

I’m forcing the puzzle pieces together.

More examples can be found here: https://www.sixwordmemoirs.com/

Teaching Idea:

  1. Use 6-word summaries for text students have read or you have read aloud.

Examples from Stellaluna

Image result for stellaluna
  • Fruit bat misses mom and birds.
  • Stellaluna has lost identity and mother.
  • Friends are different and the same.

2. Have students use the 6 words for their check for understanding for the day or a specific lesson.

3. Use as a recap of the most important thought of the day. Track them over time.

4. At the end of each grading period have students write a 6-word memoir of the most memorable thing. Reflect at the end of the year.

5. Another variation is to write an 18-word memoir from last year (2018) – what sticks out to you?

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Weekend Coffee Share

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Today I am having my regular large mug of black coffee. What would you like? It has been a busy week over here and I am looking forward to talking to you about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the work week felt odd. I was in charge of facilitating training for two full days. Tuesday ending up being an e-learning day due to weather so the schedule had to get all rearranged. Friday our literacy consultant was there who had been rescheduled at least twice. It was a crazy mixed up week where I kept forgetting what day of the week it was! Then I ran out of coffee at work on Friday morning! BOOOOOO!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a marvelous dinner on Friday. We went to an old school steak place in a nearby town and it was an amazing meal. Creamy garlic dressing for the salad, cheesy potato soup, ribeye, baked potato and fresh bread with honey butter. The creme brulee was disappointing but I will focus on the main meal!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you Saturday was Adventure Day. We drove about 2 hours to Kokomo. When I started my teaching career it was in Howard County. I have loads of fond memories there. Saturday’s trip centered around the Seiberling Mansion. It was built in the 1880s for about $50,000. All the materials and labor were local. The mansion is three floors and the Sierberlings loved to entertain so the top floor is a ballroom. I really wish there were pictures from that time period. There is only one picture of a daughter in a bedroom at her desk. There have been several owners over the years and Thomas Edison is said to have attended a wedding there.

The Indiana University extension took over the building for a while. Then the historical society came in and renovated.

There were several idea sparks that came to me while I was enjoying the house. There are lots of architectural details to look at. Lots of people have enjoyed the house and many more still do.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the restaurant I was so looking forward to eating at was closed just last week. I was so sad. Mike’s Pizza had been a place I ate at often when I lived there. They had the best Italian beef sandwiches and breadsticks. We made do with another lunch place that was still delicious but not familiar.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the last stop for this trip was Treasure Mart. This is a most interesting place. If you ever have writers’ block and any type of BLOCK walk around this place and it will be gone. There are all types of artifacts and trinkets and memorabilia. There are old typewriters, Coleman picnic kits from the 60’s, furniture, old photographs, cast iron skillets, decorative and practical kitchenware, old books, knives, guns, and the Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistle…you name it it is probably in the building somewhere. Again, lots of story sparks for me here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had my critique group call on Saturday night. I was a bit late to the call because of the drive from Adventure Saturday. I should have taken bullet point notes to talk about the stories I critiqued. It was a new format for me. I did get to hear about my story too and I clarified some questions about it. Overall, it was a great experience. Thanks to Julie Duffy at storyaday.org for facilitating!

If we were having coffee I would tell you the #write28days word for today is CREATE. If you would like to read more post in this series click here for the landing page. I have created a lot of writing lately including some letters! I have written and revised several stories too. I even submitted 2 stories yesterday. I also submitted 2 super short pieces on Friday as well. We will see what happens! I am excited about the possibilities!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I met with a new writing friend at a local restaurant and we talked blogging, writing, and teaching. It was wonderful! We made plans to get together soon to write.

It was a full week of great things! What great things filled your last 7 days? I would love to hear about them!

This post is inspired by Eclectic Alli and her Coffee share page

Where Do I Live? #SOL19

Where we live says something about us. When we ask this question it gives us insight into the person that is answering. There is a lot to talk about surrounding the answer and variations of this question.

This question was asked of me various ways last Saturday when I attended my writer retreat at a local Buddhist retreat and meditation center. I have lived in so many different places over the last couple of years I always hesitate before answering. I do not feel that the town I am currently living in reflects who I am. Which in many respects is silly. We did move here based on county affiliation and closeness to my work. I am in a temporary place and I know it. It is like we are stationed in this house and waiting for the next deployment and the emotions around this idea are complicated for me. So when I answered the question when asked by the wonderful people I was meeting, it sounded wrong when I said the name of my town in response. No one was judging one way or another but I felt like I needed to explain something that I could not quite place. I wondered if it sounded inauthentic when I spoke it. I felt the need to share the town I worked in too even though it wasn’t asked.

When one of my friends asked me how I was settling in a couple weeks after we moved to this house I answered, “I cannot walk around in the dark yet.” I still cannot most nights. It has been 5 months.

I positively frame the situation and am grateful for having a house to live in. We have a great backyard that we will enjoy in the spring. We will plant flowers and veggies to enjoy this spring and summer too. Everyone has space here and my car is warm in the winter because we have a garage.

In this town, there is a delightful coffee shop and a used bookstore that I will frequent as time passes. There are new restaurants to try that are not chains.

I grew up in Northwest Indiana and left to live in Central Indiana after high school. I came back to the north after my Oma died. I knew if I didn’t leave the state after college graduation I would stay here. I plan to change that status in a couple of years.

I have been asked when I moved from New York to live in Indiana. I have been told I don’t quite fit where I am.

Here is what I love about where I live – it is where I am. It is where my husband and four children are and that is what is important. (My books and writing are here too – also important!) The memories we have made in this area are important.

The physical space has come to not matter so much to me. I live inside my head a lot of time and circumstances have taught me to learn that many things I thought that were unshakeable are temporary. This is how life works and how I learn so I am not sad about it. I hope this post has not left you melancholy.

My inquiry to you is:

Where do you live?

What do you love about it?

Every Tuesday I write and comment at TWOWRITINGTEACHERS.ORG. Come and read other people’s slices of life and comment when one strikes you. This post was also inspired by the 10 Things to Tell You Podcast.

Melody writes about being where you are. You can find her site here: http://melodywarnick.com/?ct=t%28EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2_11_2019_13_6%29&mc_cid=ef5ebb0f05&mc_eid=c5a7f71a7b

Weekend Coffee Share – Feb 10

Come and sit and let’s chat! I have a large cup of dark roast black coffee this morning. It is chilly this morning and I am sleepy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the #write28days blogging challenge. Today’s word is SUPPOSE. This word causes me to formulate a list of questions.

Suppose I start the GATHERINGs – what would happen? Would I keep them going? Would it become a business? Would I foster friendships that would last forever?

Suppose I recognize my skills and be confident and just do it?

Suppose I don’t start the group? Would I regret it?

Suppose it would be more fun to plan the gatherings than actually deploy them?

I am still pondering and planning over here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it is back to winter temps again here – I cannot resist talking about the weather at least a little. It was around 12 degrees F the last couple of days. It was sunny yesterday with a little bit of flurries in the morning which always makes me happy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to a Buddhist center yesterday which hosted my writer retreat. I sat in the library just off the meditation room all day. I learned a lot about my novel and my process. I have a plan now as to how to move forward. I made some strong connections with other writers as well. I was also reminded that I need to not make assumptions about anyone’s process. I was surprised several times yesterday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a busy week at work. I am trying to positively frame it…

If we were having coffee I would tell you I enjoyed my training on Friday. You can read about the library of stories here.

Please share something wonderful with me from your week and the drink you have!

Weekend Coffee Share

Come and sit and let’s chat! I have lots to share with you from last week!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the #write28days blogging challenge. Today’s word is GLOW. I want people to GLOW when they are inspired! I am working on some ideas on how to inspire people. I want to put some events together that have a purpose and for them to be fulfilling. I am taking the month to figure it out. What makes you GLOW with excitement – especially about learning?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I visited the American Writer Museum in Chicago. It is on the second floor of an old building on Michigan Ave. There was an amazing timeline with biographies of all types of writers, a Bob Dylan display, cool typewriters, and a whole section about the writer’s mind. The parking was really expensive being in the city but the actual admission was reasonable. The original plan was to take the train but they have been down for the past 3 days. I typed on the old typewriters and played with the displays. There was a wonderful display of first lines written by authors.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we then went to 57th Street bookstore which is at the bottom of another old building in Hyde Park. The little rooms keep adding on to each other snaking through the basement of this store. There are hot water pipes that made the air toasty on this February Sunday.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I broke down and purchased the Masterclass series because Neil Gaiman has a new class he is teaching about writing. I am giddy and super excited. I binge listened to several of the lessons on the way home from work on Friday. I will go back and listen several times to all the lessons. Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume are other authors who have masterclasses.

If we were having coffee I would tell you there are so many things Neil has said that I have written down. One big idea that resonated is you learn more by finishing a failing story than just writing many wonderful beginnings. You learn something from getting to the end.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I went to school for less than one day last week because of the weather and cold. We went to work Friday but it was a 2-hour delay. We have eLearning days and I worked from home. I also had several video calls with important people. It will be difficult I think to go back next week and actually drive to work!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I finished Slade House by David Mitchell and I really enjoyed it. It was weird and I love that. I started Letters from Skye which is immensely lovely and charming.

What exciting things happened to you this week?

#Write28days STRIVE

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As a creative person I strive to be inspiring to others. I enjoy a group of creatives to collaborative with and grow as a person. I appreciate conversations that expand into something impactful to my life. Sometimes this manifests itself as a conversation that is life giving.

As an educator I strive to be motivating to students and teachers in my building. I believe words are important – spoken and written. I believe in the powers of notes and kind words and the giving of books.

I strive to have my writing mean something. To write is to be read.

Connecting with my in real life writing group allows me to share writing with others and for them to share their writing with me. This idea of interaction with other writers is more important than I thought even a year ago. A group dynamic is impactful but also one on one. I was working on a critique the other day for a writing partner and just the act of carefully reading and thinking about her piece raised my level of a writer. Recognizing components in her writing made me aware of different things in what I read for the next couple of days and my own writing! It is like magic!

As another writing friend stated – groups have to have the right fit. We have different groups for different purposes – they feed us differently.

As I explore the idea of gatherings for creatives over the next month I will be doing some reading in The Art of Gathering a wonderful book about events. I will be sharing some information from it as we move forward!

How do your groups feed you? What conversations are the most life giving to you? What do you need as a creative?

10 Things I Have Learned About CONNECTion

#oneword

Connect is my one word for 2019


The question I asked myself was: How do I plan to intentional connect in January? I could just log activities randomly if they happen to fit the criteria, but I wanted to make this years’ word more of a goal. I did not want it to be an afterthought.

I want to live the word, partially because I NEED to.

Initially, the list held:

  1. Go to one Write on Hoosiers meeting – This is my in real life group that meets twice a month at a local library.
  2. Participate in my online writing group at least once a week – This is usually once a day honestly. We have a slack channel which makes it really easy.
  3. Participate in my editing class (amazing experience – I will sign up again.)
  4. Email another writer I connected with on Twitter – we talk about writing and check-ins.
  5. Blog once a week and make 10 comments/week to other writers
  6. Submit at least two pieces of writing
  7. Order business cards.

10 Things I Learned

  1. Being open to connections means I hear differently. At the Write On Hoosiers meeting, one of the other writers talked about a retreat she attended at a local Buddhist temple. I signed up the next day for the one in Feb. I have committed to work on the novel revision.
  2. I connect with writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog and the Five Minute Friday site link up and WordPress reader. Making an effort for new blogs works for Twitter too, but there are some games on there that I try not to take personally.
  3. Once I was in submission mode I sent quite a few pieces in. I also contributed to several blog based writing contests which was fun and got my writing out there. It helped make a connection with another writer as well who reached out and sent an email. That was AWESOME.
  4. With the idea of reflection already a part of the process, I felt tied into the concept of connecting with people more. I sent specific tweets to authors I admire and wanted to make sure I told them.
  5. I am more visual than I thought. Using my graphic I created for my #oneword is fun to use in blog posts and social media.

6. I participated on a TEACHWRITE Zoom call and was able to talk and see Jennifer and Amanda.

7. I supported a writer friend through Ko-Fi.

8. I was the book fairy at school and gifted stacks so teachers can get them into kids’ hands.

9. I reached out to another teacher writer about IF – Intermittent Fasting.

10. Be persistent- I got into Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Class. I am so excited for it – in July.

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Moving Forward to Feb:

+I need to connect to more books next month and then reach out to more authors of the books I love.

+Connect with my body more. Yoga, intermittent fasting, running outside, and walking with the incline is how I am doing this.

+Write real letters and participate in a letter writing challenge.

+ Interact with the new “10 things to tell you” podcast recommended by Emily Freeman

+ Continue to marinate on creating a magical gathering. My thoughts are hovering around my Workshop Wednesday concept. A reading literary society?

+ Every day Writing – of course!

How is your #oneword process going?

#FMF: Convenient

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, here’s how it works:

Each week Kate shares a one word writing prompt that goes live at 10 pm EST on Thursday. Writers and bloggers are invited to freewrite for five minutes flat on the writing prompt of the week and then you can choose to share on her site.

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: CONVENIENT

con·ven·ient

adjective

  1. fitting in well with a person’s needs, activities, and plans.

Today there is another canceled school day replaced with an e-learning day. Right now the wind chill is -19 degrees F. This cancellation fits very well for my personal needs this week. I have been struggling this week at work for various reasons and working from home is helpful for my mental wellness.

I would love to work from home a couple days a month in my current job and this wish came true twice this week! I am thankful we do not have to make up the days in June now. That idea is NOT convenient.

Last night I was reading and came across a new blog to me: https://teachlivingpoets.com/. As I was reading several posts , one referred to a concept I am partially familiar with:mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.

In reading instruction, there are times we find text that is a mirror – the words reflect back the person who is reading it. It is about someone like you, or a situation you are familiar with.

Windows allow you to see into some else’s experience to better understand them or the situation.

Sliding glass doors is the idea of movement. This is a concept that opens up the conversation. It opens up the connection between you as a reader and thinker and someone else. Sliding doors allow for dialogue and new perspectives.

The sliding glass door metaphor was new to me, but I like it.

It is always convenient for me to find new things to learn about, but it is a word I struggle to spell!

A random thing that popped into my mind about Convenient is my KEEP app. I have figured out if I come across a website I can share it with myself on my phone and it works every time. I have a lot of short stories on there I can read this weekend! It is one of my many productivity hacks!

My word for 2019 is CONNECT and I am crafting a post for the end of the month that highlight how I have connected throughout the month of January. Part of my process for this year’s word is to reflect if the word is really working for me. It fulfills a need for me and also deepens the practice.

If you would like to read more of my Five Minute Friday posts click the category to the left of this post. Feel free to comment below about your thoughts about the word as well. I would love to hear what you feel is convenient.

If you would like a new challenge for Feb. check out #write28days at https://anitaojeda.com/welcome-to-the-write-28-days-blogging-challenge/




How Did I Become A Serious Writer?

Reading and writing are best friends. I am participating in the DIYMFA Book Club again and this post is inspired by the DIYMFA site and book club. The last time I wrote about my origin story was from the POV of my first run in with writing. It infected me them and you can read about it here.

The question I am reflecting on is: ” How did I become a serious writer?” In October of 2016 I found Gabriela’s podcast. Through that podcast I found Julie Duffy and her STORYADAY challenge and website. I had missed Julie’s September storyaday challenge so I challenged myself to a self imposed month of writing a story a day. That process led me to sign up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and the habit stuck. THis was also when I found short stories were my niche. It is hard to quit writing when you have written everyday for 2 months. That first NANO I wrote short stories everyday and didn’t look back.

I also seriously began posting on my blog and started calling myself a writer after the first of the year 2017.

May rolled around and I participated in the May storyaday and wrote a whole folder of stories inspired by Julie’s prompts. I also gained a writing group. I took the plunge and took advantage of the Superstars group Julie offered. For support, she offered more materials and a special forum for us to talk about writing and the challenge.

What else do I do? I make time to write everyday. I started reading more about craft. I learned more about blogging and how to get more traffic and how to write better content. I read A LOT – short stories and craft books. I interacted with other writers online and found a local in real life writing group.

I recently took a class from a well respected flash fiction writer and learned more from the feedback and a critique in three weeks than most of the reading I have done about editing over the last year and a half. I hope to be able to take another class with her soon.

The next step? I am submitting. I ordered business cards this morning that list writer FIRST. I am in the lottery (fingers crossed) to get into Kathy Fish’s flash writing class. If not now, I will keep trying.

I have committed to the writing. Everyday, THAT is what makes me a serious writer…getting the words on the page (or screen).

#MentorTextMonday

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I recently read the essay, Laugh, Kookaburra by David Sedaris printed in The New Yorker. You can read the essay here.

I like the idea of favorite lines from a poem, essay, or short story to use as a writing springboard.

Here are the quotes from this essay I will be writing with as inspiration:

When Australians say “the bush,” they mean the woods. The forest.

…she invited us to picture a four-burner stove…

This was not a real stove but a symbolic one, used to prove a point at a management seminar she’s once attended. “One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist, she said, was that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

#happyreading