Weekend Coffee Share – April 21

Today let’s have coffee at the table, in the bump out of the little bookstore downtown. We can chat and watch the people go by. There is a bakery across the street so I will pick out a couple croissants for us. They have some delicious chocolate ones that will go perfectly with our elixir.

I am having black coffee. What would you like from the cafe barista?

While we are having coffee I will tell you about the video meeting with my writing group I had Wednesday night. It was life giving and motivating. I love these writers and it is easy for me to set up these times.

While we are having coffee, I will tell you about the relief of knowing my car is fixed. I don’t like dealing with the bill but there is more relief than I anticipated as I drive every day.

While we are having coffee I will tell you I have had many creative sparks this week.

One is the video from Julie Duffy about getting ready for StoryADay May. I encourage you if you want a boost to your writing life to participate in the challenge this year. The prompts are free and there is support in the community. You can also set your own rules. I choose to write a story a day but you can write 4 or choose days to write. You can check out her cool video here.

Another creative spark is the short story Saint Bus Driver by J.E. McCafferty.

There are such great lines in this story. The discussion on Literary Roadhouse was fun too. It has stayed with me and I keep thinking about it. If you read it later and would like to talk about it please let me know!

A third creative spark for me was perfect for April being poetry month. Billy Collins has created a Masterclass and I found it this week. I have made it through 13 of the 20 lessons! He is joyful to listen to. I use his poems a lot for use with kids. They are straightforward. It is inspiring to listen to him talk about writing technique. I am always learning!

A fourth creative spark this week is the Pink Full Moon.

Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Do you need a refill on your coffee? I am going to get another. I think before we leave we should wander the stacks and find at least one book to recommend to each other.

While we are having coffee I will tell you I wrote everyday. I sent a story to a contest. I am getting mentally ready for storyaday May and excited about it. I tend to binge listen to the StoryADay podcast right before! There are lots of prompts and Julie’s voice is nice to listen to. Lots of notes go into Google Keep so I can write about them later.

StoryADay

While we are having coffee I will tell you I read some great short stories this week. I am trying to be more diligent about logging my reading but find it cumbersome. I found a new to me flash fiction author, Meg Pokrass who I am enjoying. She was recommended by Amber Sparks who is a wonderful short story writer herself.

While we are having coffee, I will tell you I feel like there are lots of decisions that are hiding around the corner from me. I am trying not to worry myself but there is something coming. It is not good nor bad, it will just be, but I can feel it looming! I am thankful for having The Next Right Thing book to help me navigate though. It brings me joy and focus. I am hoping to participate in a book club with this title soon.

While we are having coffee, I would tell you our teaming consultant visited this week and was wonderful. The meetings with him, my writer video meeting, and some great short stories has refueled my passion for my Inner Circle Gathering Idea. I believe I can pull it off online. The first ones are being planned to use a short story and some activities surrounding the text and then doing some writing exercises as well. Let me know in the comments or a message to me directly at tammybreitweiser@gmail.com if you are interested.

Thank you so much for joining me for coffee! I always enjoy our visits and today was no different. Let’s have coffee again soon!

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

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Stay #SOL19

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It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers with a weekly Slice of Life Story.

Today’s Emily P. Freeman word is STAY.

STAY today refers to being in the present moment. You can only be in one place at a time. I suppose this is mostly true. As a writer, I am physically only in one place at a time, but mentally I am usually somewhere else. This is sometimes in one of my own story creations. Sometimes I am in a memory mining it for details that will add panache to the story I am working on.

When I am reading I am in the character’s head feeling and thinking what they are, often trying to anticipate their next move. Or I am trying to figure out the craft moves the writer made to have me feel the way I do about a character, setting, or story line so I can use it later.

I find it difficult to be in the moment. I am working on it. I know I should do one thing at a time but there is so much to learn. Everyone I meet has something I don’t know.

I have been tired lately. More tired than I should be. Last night I watched the movie The Professor and the Madman which my husband and I had been looking forward to. It did not disappoint. It is the story of how the Oxford dictionary came to be. It took extraordinary dedication and focus to have this book come to fruition. 70 years from the first conception in fact. Dr. Minor was meticulous in his mad state about the history and definition of words. He was in the moment for sure – for long stretches of time. I kept thinking of how much energy was put into this project and how many obstacles everyone had to overcome.

I am trying to find the right ratio of input vs output without driving myself mad. I love input of all sorts – deep conversation, reading, podcasts, etc. Outputs are likely interactions and writing lately. I know I have not found the right ratio when I am angry or overly tired.

Reflection and slowing down are both critical attributes for this process. I am glad that today I can breathe and think about it.

Weekend Coffee Share – April 14

Today we are having coffee in a gazebo overlooking the mountains with the sun shining in on us just right. There is a stream that is rushing by us and we can see elk in the distance. The air is crisp and sweet. It is the perfect Sunday morning.

I am having black coffee and just brewed a fresh pot. I have some add ins today for you if you like -some chocolate or some butterscotch. Even some whipped cream!

If we were having coffee I would tell you it seems unbelievable that I was on Spring Break last week. It turned out to be a week of long days in a row which made it seem longer. Monday though Wednesday I didn’t get home til after 9 each night which is unusual, especially three days in a row.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was nice to get back into the swing of things at work again. I was able to work with some students this week in an English class which always makes me happy. The thinking that was happening was unexpected and out of the box. The discussion centered around analyzing digital and printed text with some reliable articles by Higher Ed and American Scholar .

If we were having coffee I would tell you I attended my IRL writing group holiday party Wednesday. It was postponed from Christmas time due to some medical issues. There were about 40 people there. There was a dinner, book exchange, door prizes, and social time.

Do you need a refill on your coffee? Mine needs warmed up. Do you need another napkin, or a glass of water? I am not ready for our conversation to end!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote everyday. I had my beta reader look over two stories for me. They are truthful stories, but deal with sensitive issues so I am not sure where I am going to take them next. They are not appropriate for my IRL group. I am scoping out a writer group in Chicago. They have author talks, readings, writing meetings, and critique meetings which appeals to me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my Bradbury Trio is still going strong. I received my Sarah Selecky story collection in the mail so I am excited to read her stories. Sara Batkie’s collection is on its way too. Sara I learned about from the Drunken Odyssey podcast which I was listening to on my run in the Dunes on Monday. Essays I think I am going to start looking at NPR. Do you have any suggestions?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had to take my car in for repairs on Friday. This process always makes me extremely nervous and I usually put it off way too long. I found a great garage and the actual problem only cost a little over $300. The other things I added on were needed but not emergency so at least it was a choice. The car has been all over the country and we love her dearly! I want her to run for a long time so some belts needed changed and a tune up and transmission fluid change was necessary. She is running well again and I feel safer.

If we were having coffee I would tell you last week I said would pull some coaching materials together in a more formal way. I have started with some forms and pushed one out to a teacher. I also sent out the email about a mini coaching cycle. I like the idea of thinking about coaching as having deep conversations that I crave.

Thank you so much for joining me for coffee! I always enjoy our visits and today was no different. Let’s have coffee again soon!

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

Weekend Coffee Share

Today we are having coffee in my three seasons room. I am having black coffee and just brewed a fresh pot. I have some add ins today for you if you like -some chocolate or some butterscotch. The birds are starting to come out. They do like the trees in the front outside my bedroom window. I haven’t lived in this house in the Spring yet so we shall see which animals come to the backyard.

If we were having coffee I would tell you this past week went super fast. It was a great week filled with “just enough” scheduled events but I am honestly not ready for it to end. I took a lazy day on Friday but something happened that made me angry and sadly it stayed with me a little too long.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a great writing week. I wrote with a friend on Monday at a favorite local restaurant. It was nice to meet, talk writing, and write “independently together”. I had a Zoom call with my online group and I also had a one on one session video conference with a writer friend on Thursday. I wrote at the local library yesterday which was a different experience but enjoyable.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a good reading week too. I went to Powell’s in Chicago and bought 3 books. I could have purchased more but used restraint. I read essays and short stories and poems everyday.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am playing with plot structure for my Camp NANOWRIMO stories. Camp NANOWRIMO is a month long community writing event that is more lax than regular National Novel Writing Month. My goal is just over 10,000 words total divided between 4 stories. I am working with the plot structure to hopefully help my writing get better and show me what I am missing in my stories. A couple resources I already have are the Ninja Writer’s plot class that I discovered I already owned, the Eva Deverell’s One page novel formula, and the Save the Cat structure.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had wonderful meals out this week. We do not go out to eat often. My husband is a great cook for one but also with 4 children it can be an expensive endeavor. We went to a local place in the town we used to live where they have great hot dogs, fries, and steak sandwiches. We also went to a local “stuck in time” steak house. It was divine and a wonderful date night.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about decisions. Big ones and little ones. This is partly because Emily P. Freeman’s book The Next Right Thing came out Tuesday, April 2. I have the digital copy, the audio, and the hard copy. I do love the hard cover and have been gravitating towards it.

77: Do The Next Right Thing

Do you need a refill on your coffee? Mine needs warmed up. Do you need another napkin, or a glass of water? I am not ready for our conversation to end!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I did not listen to the normal amount of podcasts I do during a typical work week. I did listen while at the gym but did not get through the input I normally consume.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still on my Bradbury Trio roll! I DID make a spreadsheet!

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been lax in keeping track of my connections for my word of the year. I have been connecting with other writers through the SLACK channel, Twitter, and even in real life which has been fulfilling. I have not attended the writing group however since January. The location had changed the last couple of meetings and it didn’t seem to fall on a good evening. There is a celebration next Wednesday I plan to go to so that is exciting. I have not felt very social lately to be honest. I am trying to figure out why. There is a saying that the 5 people you surround yourself with influence you greatly. I guess friends and connections is part of the decision making we talked about earlier. April tends to be a hard month for me for connection. The month reminds me of grief.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been thinking of pulling some coaching materials together in a more formal way. I have started an outline and pulling resources I already have. I have an email partially written to send out next week for my teachers as well to do a mini coaching cycle. We shall see how that goes! I am excited to synthesize some different items together that I have been using for years.

Thank you so much for joining me for coffee! I always enjoy our visits and today was no different. Let’s have coffee again soon!

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 31

Today we are having coffee in a little cafe in my town, The Librarium Cafe. There is a Harry Potter theme and board games. The best part is the Butter Brew. We are going to have large mugs of butterscotch, caramel, toffee and espresso deliciousness. Then I will have black coffee after one Butter Brew to cut the sweetness! haha

If we were having coffee I would tell you, this year I enjoyed the slice of life challenge as I do every year but something about this year was special. The caliber of writing was great as always but it seemed there were a lot more teachers who completed the challenge. Congratulations to every one who wrote and a special congrats to those who wrote all 31 days!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I think this coffee post is the perfect one to end the month with for the challenge. It has been met with the most commentary. I am drawn to the conversational form and love that people love it.

In the challenge, I am blessed to have met many wonderful teachers I would not have any other way. The group was interactive and allowed me to connect with people all over the world. I really hope it continues.


If we were having coffee I would tell you I have high hopes for April. I hope teachers will continue to write at least once a week. I hope they will link to their blogs on Tuesdays.I hope the commenting will continue.I hope these writers will notice how powerful their daily practice is and share that experience with students. I hope to see some familiar names at CAMP NANOWRIMO.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am now on Spring Break and am so happy! It is going to be a good writing day tomorrow! I am meeting a writer friend and I also have a writers group Zoom call in the evening.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the rejections came in last week and it made me sad. I really had to get into a different mindset after a few came one after another. I am emotional about 5 days a year and one of those days was this past week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about silence and slow living. I am thinking about being intentional especially about time. Part of this thinking is tomorrow is the anniversary of my Oma’s death. I miss her all the time and I can hardly believe it has been 19 years now.

Do you need a refill on your coffee? Another napkin, or a glass of water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you my top productivity tool has to be Google Keep. I share dictated and typed notes with myself. I make notes from podcasts and reading. I save websites and stories to read and pictures. I can make it into a Google doc and just transfer what I need from the app or opened in the browser. I can open up Keep on the right side of my screen and scroll through different notes to add to one document in Google too! I LOVE IT!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still on my Bradbury Trio roll! I have been reading poems from Paris Review. I am reading Neil Gaiman, Kurt Vonnegut, and Octavia Butler essays. I am reading William Maxwell short stories and others. I SHOULD make a spreadsheet….

Thank you so much for joining me for coffee! I always enjoy our visits and today was no different. Let’s have coffee again soon!

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

Bradbury Trio #SOLC Day 9

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There are lots of routines that I want to try out but if I tried every one I would never get anything done though. I do not have an MFA but there are various ways to recreate a DIY approach. There is even a book: DIYMFA. One of the leaders of this idea is one of my writing heroes, Ray Bradbury.

The ‘Bradbury Trio’ in Ray Bradbury’s own words:

“I’ll give you a programme to follow every night. Very simple programme. For the next thousand nights, before you go to bed every night, read one short story. That will take you ten minutes, fifteen minutes. Okay? Then read one poem a night from the vast history of poetry. Stay away from most modern poems. It’s crap. It’s not poetry. Now, if you want to kid yourself and write lines that look like poems, go ahead and do it, but you’ll go nowhere. But read the great poets. Go back and read Shakespeare, read Alexander Pope, read Robert Frost. But one poem a night, one short story a night, one essay a night, for the next 1,000 nights.”

There is a great explanation of this idea at Benjamin’s Blog.Benjamin has an inspiring video of Bradbury on this post as well you want to check out. I have watched it several times.

Yesterday, I decided to follow this program. Several writers I know participate in this process. I cannot time wise do it everyday but for the next month my goal is to accomplish the Trio 3 times a week. 1000 nights is over 2.7 years!

Essay: “The Joy of Writing” by Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writing

Essay: “The Rules of Writing Practice” Natalie Goldberg Wild Mind

Short Story: “I Found Your Voodoo Doll on the Dance Floor After Last Call” Nancy Stohlman

Flash Fiction: 1000 Cranes Melissa McCracken

Short Story: “Findings and Impressions” by Stellar Kim Best American Short Stories (BASS) 2007

Poem: “Knives” by Michael Stephens

Poem: “The Chairs That No One Sits In” Billy Collins


The idea of gathering with a group of people with these three readings as a topic excites me too! The Knives poem is what inspired my writing the most yesterday. I also am going to play with the format of the Kim story.

Clearly, I get caught up and cannot just read one of each! How does this practice resonate with you? What are your thoughts about it? Please share in the comments.

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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.

Feb 24 – Weekend Coffee Share

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Today I am having my regular large mug of black coffee. What would you like to have today? This week was a little off for me. I hope yours was better.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the work started with a scheduled E-learning day. There was some confusion with my role for a couple things the rest of the week – this is the problem with having multiple bosses. It all worked out.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was having trouble with my emotions this week. Intense feelings don’t bubble up all too often but for some reason the closer I got to work Thursday morning the angrier I got. I did a lot of cleaning that day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you WORKSHOP WEDNESDAY was wonderful. We talked about CHECKS FOR UNDERSTANDING and the conversation was professional and engaging. It was one of those days I really appreciate the people I work with and how hard they work.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was able to get 4 submissions out this week. Two were little contests and two were publication submissions. I am really proud of the two stories I sent out. At the very least I hope to get some feedback from the editors.

If we were having coffee I would confess I did not go to my IRL (In Real Life) writing group this week. The week before I had a lot of contact with writers and I was really tired. It is not the greatest reason but it is the honest one. As emotion-filled as I was that day I also figured it was better for me to stay home.

It was a full week! What great things filled your last 7 days? I would love to hear about them! I am looking forward to the week coming up. I am hoping for some great writing sessions and interactions with people!

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

Weekend Coffee Share

Photo by Gagan Cambow on Pexels.com

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

Build for FMF

It’s Friday! It is time for Kate’s word to inspire my writing today!

I am in the process of building something exciting.

The focus this month through #Write28days is to work through and plan these creative gatherings I have swirling around in my mind.

Serendipity is an amazing concept. I always think of the movie when I say the word and frozen hot chocolate. Podcasts, articles, conversations and people are making their way into my circle of concern that align with this idea.

A name occurred to me today for the gatherings.

The idea of a launch team is on my mind.

The idea of collaboration and using people’s strengths is on my mind.

LIGHT BULBS are turning on ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Today I am blessed with a day of learning with my friends. I will build new connections and deepening bonds.

What are your lightbulbs today?

Are you building something?