Endings and Beginnings

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Today is the last day of September and I am excited that tomorrow is October! Lots of great things are happening in the month for me!

The Storyaday prompt today is to look behind and forward. I revised the story I wrote in May this morning. There are several stories I revised this month through the prompts that will need to get final pass throughs and sent off into the world. I have two stories out to a reader for feedback. As soon as she is done with them I will rewrite and then send them off. I have some goals before the end of the year!

The next challenge for October is OCTPOWRIMO so I will write a poem a day. I have been reading a lot of poetry and enjoying it. There is a new podcast called The Slowdown which is hosted by Ada Limon who I adore. She has her own commentary before reading the poem and it is delightful. Her voice is amazing.

My #last100day2021 project is continuing. I am creating a #100dayMFA for myself. I am tracking all the writing life activities I engage in every day on a beautiful spreadsheet. I did my writing this morning but right when I felt I was on a roll was when I had to get ready for work. I did write a piece in my own PUSH group last night that I liked. I will transcribe that sometime over the next few days and see where I am at with it.

I am preparing for NANOWRIMO in November in my mind. There is a project I am kicking around in my head that came from a conversation with Kim Flodin. I highly recommend her intuitive readings. It was an eye opening process for me.

What are your creative plans for October? I would love to hear!

One Day MAYbe… #SOL21

Every Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers Blog teacher writers share a blog post and a slice of their life. We comment on at least 3 others after we post our own. I do this every Llama Tuesday and the entire month of March.

Yesterday was the first day of May with my students. For more years than I can count my tradition is to give the sentence stem: One day MAYbe…as the writing assignment. It does not matter what grade level I am working with that year. It is universal and always applies.

My students wrote with this prompt and we discussed if they would travel somewhere or what they wanted to be when they grew up. I had answers like becoming a doctor, a princess, a witch , becoming a Pinocchio carver, and going to DisneyWorld.

Teaching online and in person at the same time makes me feel inadequate some days. There is magic that is lost between the two. I am trying to bridge it. My students come to school til the middle of next month so I will keep trying.

How would you finish the sentence stem?

One day MAYbe…

I would love to hear in the comments.

Poem in Your Pocket Day #SOL21

Every Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers Blog teacher writers share a blog post and a slice of their life. We comment on at least 3 others after we post our own. I do this every Llama Tuesday and the entire month of March.

Poem in your Pocket day is Thursday this year. It is always a day I have handed out little poems. Many years ago [many schools ago] I handed out my favorite poem, “Secrets” by Naomi Shihab Nye. A friend sent me a picture weeks ago in response to my newsletter showing me she still had it.

With all the hustle this month I almost forgot. I have been writing and reading poems all month. I have been focused on poems because of all the posts and shared poetry but honestly poetry is a part of my writing practice. I learned a long time ago poems were a way to bring students to text who were reluctant. I think it is the white space!

Poem in Your Pocket day was initiated in New York.

I haven’t decided which poem to carry around this year. I have come to know so many amazing poets this year. Ada Limon, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jim Harrision, Ross Gay, Kaveh Akbar. Some were new to me and some I delved in deeper to their words and images.

I think I might use Ross Gay’s Thank You Poem. Or Ada Limon’s poem about planting and harvesting carrots, “I Remember the Carrots.”

I love that some poems are small, like an appetizer. The anticipation before a larger reading session. Something you can read and reflect on in the cracks of your day. Something to reread and find something new in each time.

I Remember the Carrots:

Will you join me in sharing a poem this year? Or carry one in your pocket?

I would love to know which one.

Poetry Month Day 10

In my class this week with Chris LaTray he shared this poem from Jim Harrison.

Harrison is not a poet I was familiar with before this month and this poem resonated with me when Chris read it aloud. It served as a mentor text for us to write our own I BELIEVE poem.

My poem ended up being a lot of one liners that are different things I believe. A list poem almost.

Here is an excerpt of my draft:

I believe how the numbers lay on your W2 does not dictate your worth.

I believe 5 year olds should be listened to and heard.

I believe your title doesn’t mean jack shit to whether I respect you or not.

I believe reading is the gateway to everything,

But coffee is another.

Others that shared in our Zoom class took one belief and expanded it.

It is always fun as a writer to hear other people’s approaches to prompts and their process.

I suppose I could take each of my lines and expand it as well for a different feel and more in depth look at the emotions and experiences underneath.

I Believe
By Jim Harrison

I believe in steep drop-offs, the thunderstorm across the lake
in 1949, cold winds, empty swimming pools,
the overgrown path to the creek, raw garlic,
used tires, taverns, saloons, bars, gallons of red wine,
abandoned farmhouses, stunted lilac groves,
gravel roads that end, brush piles, thickets, girls
who haven’t quite gone totally wild, river eddies,
leaky wooden boats, the smell of used engine oil,
turbulent rivers, lakes without cottages lost in the woods,
the primrose growing out of a cow skull, the thousands
of birds I’ve talked to all of my life, the dogs
that talked back, the Chihuahuan ravens that follow
me on long walks. The rattler escaping the cold hose,
the fluttering unknown gods that I nearly see
from the left corner of my blind eye, struggling
to stay alive in a world that grinds them underfoot.

What is inspiring you this month?


What are you currently obsessed with?

Have you heard of a Personal Universe Deck?

My fellow blogger over at ARHtistic License posted about it.  It is my new obsession.

For a Personal Universe Deck you make a deck of 100 words that represents your past, present, and future. The rule is that you have to choose words that sound beautiful together. You include words that are represented by the 5 senses.

You can use them for your own writing sprints or poetry.

Today I share 4 of my words. I wrote a poem with them today.

What will you write?

Have you made a personal universe deck? Do you want to????

Here is a link with the rules!

All you need is 50 index cards. I would love to know if this idea appeals to you too! Let me know in the comments.

Poetry Prompt Day 2

It’s Poetry Month! Day 2!

This is the poem I used as inspiration for my own poetry writing today.

“On Turning Ten” by Billy Collins

This is a poem I have used with countless students and adults over the years. There is the idea of imagination that I am always drawn to. What did you pretend to be when you were little? I always pretended to be a mermaid or a fairy. This can be a beginning for you.

What lines sparkle for you?

I wrote my own version in my notebook today.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem and/or writing in response to it.


I will tell you I am having issues with the transition back to a world of extroverts. People seem to be wanted to hit a delete or rewind button and have not reflected or learned from the last year. I will admit that the lock down was comfortable to me and it is closer to my ideal life than I knew before the shelter in place orders. I struggle now that the world is going back to “normal”.

My poetry class started last evening and it is an interesting group of people! The teacher is using The Daily Poet a book I have used often and was actually looking for on my kindle earlier yesterday.

I am eternally thankful that I have had the opportunity to take so many classes and workshops over the last year+ because so much is offered on Zoom now.

Do you have beloved poetry resources to share? I would enjoy seeing them in the comments!

Poetry Prompt Day 1

Welcome to Poetry Month!

This is the poem I used as inspiration for my own poetry writing today.

This poem made me think of Hermit Crab structures I use for flash fiction. This poem reads as a math problem and made me think of trains. I also put a line about trains in my own version in my notebook.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem and/or writing in response to it.

Who is Your Favorite Poet?

Welcome to Poetry Month!

I was introduced to Naomi Shihab Nye many years ago at a teacher writer conference. Laura Robb did a presentation I went to and she used the poem,”Secrets”. I still use this poem when I teach and read it often.

When I returned from the conference I found more poetry written by Nye. Here is one I use every year with students for annotation and quickwrites.


I am drawn to all the words that remind me of fire in this poem. I have written in response to this poem more times than I remember and something new always comes out of it.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem and/or writing in response to it.

Getting Coffee

A Poem

person pouring latte in mug

I see two baby deer
Going for a run.
I wonder if they are training for a 
5K or
Half marathon.

My affirmation of positivity
Smells of salt and hot sauce,
Cheese on my porterhouse –
The whiff of an interaction
With a stranger.

Mist floats over the grass hills 
Holding the story.
Attention snaps back with,
“You have the same hair as my daughter”

The cup burns
The slow ordinary 
Explosion of life
Into my palm,
Retorted with
“I really like your shirt. It is so pretty.”

Resource Share

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Yesterday a couple people asked me about the poems I read daily. Here are two resources I use:

Poem-a Day https://poets.org/poem-a-day

Paris Review Daily Poem https://theparisreview.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b6c161007733f0d4c084f3fde&id=35491ea532

Other input from yesterday:

I reread Hills Like White Elephants by Hemingway. and Bullet in the Brain by Wolff

Here is a link to the poetry challenge I do every month.

Podcasts I listened to:

10 Things to Tell You

Fierce Womxn Writing (Kim Krans Episode)

Hope this helps! What are you reading or listening to that you would share?