Story Walk #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

I have been working with the 4 year old kindergarten in my building this year. One class I visit weekly for a writing and reading lesson. These little ones are embracing their author and illustrator identities whole heartily. Today one of the first questions I got from students today is “Why is your hair black?”

I decided to dye my hair black from blonde again. It is October, it is almost Halloween, and it feels more like me right now.

In my town the library does a story walk in parks and other public outdoor spaces with a children’s book. Pages are printed and dotted along the path so kids can walk and read. I decided this was a perfect project to do with some classes in my school.

The 4K teaches with themes. Trees has been a great thread through the weeks. We have read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Caps for Sale. The students were learning about deciduous trees today!

When we did Chicka Chicka Boom Boom we talked about what else could be in the tree besides letters and coconuts. Lemons came up and then we called it a lemonade tree.

Today we talked about what silly things could go into trees and that is what they each wrote about.

Here are some the ideas:

Door tree

Macaroni tree

Pizza tree

Toy tree

The lost stuff tree

Shoe tree 

Sock tree

In order for the students to draw a tree they were advised to trace their hand which was a great way to have them do it.

The teachers wrote the sentence on the page and then they are going to be displayed on their lockers for everyone to read as a story walk.

It is exciting for everyone to see the great work these little ones are doing.

I cannot wait to see what they write next.

23 on Tuesday #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

23 Things I Did This Morning:

  1. Woke up at 4 a.m.
  2. Had coffee
  3. Wrote in my notebook
  4. Responded to writers in Slack
  5. Listened to the MFA Writers Podcast
  6. Showered
  7. Found my green pants
  8. Straightened my hair
  9. Drove to work
  10. Did door duty
  11. Made schedules for two reading coach visits next week including links to tools and documents needed
  12. Drank more coffee
  13. Answered email
  14. Updated my calendar
  15. Looked at reading reports
  16. Delivered a student book to a teacher
  17. Read The Very Lonely Firefly to a class
  18. Facilitated writing and illustrating for the class
  19. Picked up a 4 year old student who is reading
  20. Made log entries for the work I did yesterday
  21. Changed the schedule after hearing from one of the coaches
  22. Had a conversation with the EL teacher about reading assessment
  23. Went to a grade level team meeting

It is interesting to see what I do when I list it out…

It’s FALL! #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer for the share every weekend.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had to take a trip to Ohio this week. It ended up being a writing immersion two days for me. It was the first day of fall and glorious writing and reading time for me. I also had some time to catch up on my work with the Sarah Selecky Writing School Story Intensive. I was closely reading Aimee Bender’s novel The Butterfly Lampshade and I am captivated by her writing style. I then was able to sign up for a workshop with her that I took Saturday. It was a well spent 2 hours. The exercises were amazing, I was happy with my writing, and I found some other short story writers that are amazing who attended the class.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been continuing the walking after school. Writing time is in the morning and I feel much more like myself.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my PUSH group is continuing through The Artist’s Way. We had a bit of a detour since I was out of town but we are all good. These weekly hour long meetings are the heartbeat of my community. There is so much joy and energy each week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was able to be on the Centered call this week. Sarah talked about rejection and submission. There are a couple of stories in the hopper that have just been sitting there. I will give them a couple more read throughs and then send them off somewhere.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather has turned much cooler and I am thankful for it! Sweatshirts are back in the rotation! WHOO HOO!

I hope your week was amazing and full of things that bring you joy!

Ten on Tuesday #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and I am thrilled.

Here are ten delights about AUTUMN:

  1. twinkle lights
  2. cozy blankets
  3. coffee, but sometimes hot cider
  4. crows
  5. candles
  6. thick stew with crusty bread
  7. thick Irish wool sweaters
  8. reading the book In November to my students
  9. layers of clothes
  10. the crisp breeze flowing through colorful leaves on my walks

I would love to hear what fall means to you in the comments.

Holiday Weekend Coffee Share

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had to look back at my calendar to even recall all that happened. Such a contrast from the quarantine weeks. The thought of the individual and the collective have been on my mind and what this will mean as we move forward into the world. COVID is not over, several countries are in lock down again and there is a contrast to many people who have gone back to their normal life. It gives me a headache sometimes.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had the open house at my new school. It was great to see students in the building walking slowly with their backpacks so excited to come to school. It was a late night however and that seems to zap my energy more than in the past.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my PUSH group started Week 1 last Wednesday. It is a great group of people and the conversation was life giving. They are the weekly hour long meetings that are the heartbeat of my community. There is so much joy and energy each week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you writing challenges started on Wednesday: Storyaday and September Sentences. I continue freewriting with my Sarah Selecky prompts. I am teaching with the Intensive this fall and that has been an amazing experience so far. We are in the middle of week 2 now.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was glad for the holiday weekend and the extra day off. We went to a Brewer’s game yesterday. There is a roof and it was drizzling so it was closed sadly. The food at ball park is not even close to the caliber of White Sox park so that is disappointing.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I submitted a piece of writing this weekend. The last time I submitted it was May! I have not been in the same space to share my writing lately, and that is ok but worth examining.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have a touch of dread moving into this week. I am not sure where it is coming from. The full blown school schedule will be activated which means later evenings a couple days a week. I walked Wednesday though Sunday last week. I will continue walking each day this week but will have to move the times around. It is quite dark at 4:45am. Tomorrow is a new moon so I imagine it will be darker than last week too!

I hope your week was amazing and full of things that bring you joy!

#FMF City

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

City

Chicago is a city full of hidden gems that people are either trying to find or to keep secret. 

Chicago is a place I have run, visited, shopped, attended field trips and each time I discover something new. I have seen the Harry Potter exhibit at Science and Industry, Monet at the Art Institute, had dinner at fancy restaurants, been to Second City and the Chicago Symphony. 

I have ridden rented bikes on the streets, got lost and carried the bike up three flights of stairs from lower Wacker trying to get back to where I started. I felt like I would be wandering forever.

I ran the Chicago marathon during an anniversary year when I vowed I never would. I should have stuck to my guns in that case.  It was a terrible race for me. I had to walk so many miles just to get back to my car and my stuff. 

I have taken Ubers, driven my own car,  and walked the concerte. I have eaten at Ed Debavacs, which is no longer there in physical space; only memories. I ate at Beard Award winning chef restaurants with friends. I have shopped the magnificent mile and frequented the Hard Rock Cafe. 

In what feels like another life, I saw Wicked, Grease and several other productions. I have taken pictures with the Bean but never ice skated. I have eaten Giordannos pizza.

My first half marathon was in the city. It was the Rock and Roll Half and the pictures only show me having fun, not racing yet. I would take it more serious after that when I got the taste of the thrill.

There is more to explore with each visit. The last trip we ate outside, found a hidden Tiki bar and stayed at a hotel that used to be the Playboy Club.

There is more history to find there and sparks to inspire my writing.

Weekend Coffee Share

Thank you for joining me for our weekly coffee chat today.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am loving my Wayhome Tarot deck. I learned about it from the Healing Thru Tarot podcast. The host is a Clinical Psychologist and I find her perspective smart.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am absorbing that my summer is now over. With the new position I am starting Monday so my summer was cut short by a week. I am thankful for the time before teachers and students come back into the building but an adjustment nevertheless. I have to pack up the books and items from my classroom and move it to my new office. Ugh, another move. I hope this is the last one.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am learning patience and how to transition back to regular life. I am welcoming new inspiration into my life like art and fashion design. It has been fueling for my writing and creative life.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am rewatching the Harry Potter movies! I loved the books and read them as they came out. I have watched them all in order in one weekend which was an interesting experience!

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am writing a story based on a tarot and writing class I am in and also with the DIYMFA Scriblandia prompts. It has been an interesting story with a hotel setting. I am struggling with the idea of having things more plotted out than normal. I always find a bit of resistance.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am reading which was also recommended by Healing Thru Tarot. I am also reading different short stories and poems of course.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I have kept up with my walking. The schedule will change next week due to work. The plan is to walk in the morning and when I come home.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you that I am examining the schedule in relationship to my PUSH groups. They are the weekly hour long meetings that are the heartbeat of my community. There is so much joy and energy in these meetings. We are looking at freewrites and what to do with them this month. Next month, we are starting The Artist’s Way. It will bring a great framework to the conversations.

I hope your week was amazing and full of things that bring you joy!

#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.

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 23

All month I am following Ray Bradbury’s self directed MFA by reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of using the idea of good words in = good words out. I welcome your comments, recommendations, and insights!

#10minchallenge

Join me for the July #10min challenge. Each day I will send you inspiration to create for 10 minutes a day. Change your creative life and create a habit. It is a low stakes challenge with levels of accountability! Join us here Sign up here!

June 23

Poem: While

Story: What Can’t Be Carried Should Be Left on the Side of the Road Chelsea Stickle

Essay: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg – A Long Chapter For A Short Practice

Reflections

The poem is odd and came into my email today. Here is the first stanza.

I go to drink the vending machine lights. I insert the coins I was fiddling with. I like how the machine lights up. I like shaking hands with paper cups. Warm as newborn quails. I like engraving teeth marks on the rim. I leave the cup on a chair. It becomes trash, becomes a letter.

The first line intrigues me and is a play on the idea that you go to a vending machine for something to drink. The idea of drinking light makes me think. There are observations of concrete details here that I can use in my revisions.

The story fascinated me when I read a draft of it in a class and I was drawn into the idea that there was a place you could go to scream. The compact nature of this piece inspires me.

I love these lines: Decades of screams raced out of her. It pressure washed her insides.

The essay from NG is about an exercise she poses to her students. To choose a place and write down what is happening at a cafe at the same time for a week. See what you observe. She does this exercise herself and she found out how much resistance it brought up for her and also what she noticed. It is an exercise I would like to try myself…maybe not for 7 days though! I need to find a cafe here. There is Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks of course but I would prefer a smaller place with a variety of baked goods!

Last night’s PUSH group was great and full of pulled lines to write with today. There were lots of great wins shared and we talked about what play meant to us. It was different for everyone ranging from things that were new to no expectations.

Do you want to join next week? Go here for the details: https://mailchi.mp/7a65558c8526/push

Sign up for July and get next week’s session FREE!

Happy Writing and Reading!

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 22

All month I am following Ray Bradbury’s self directed MFA by reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of using the idea of good words in = good words out. I welcome your comments, recommendations, and insights!

#10minchallenge

Join me for the July #10min challenge. Each day I will send you inspiration to create for 10 minutes a day. Change your creative life and create a habit. It is a low stakes challenge with levels of accountability! Join us here Sign up here!

June 22

The amount of flash pieces that came out yesterday was astounding. So many writers I respect had pieces published. The SmokeLong Quarterly released their new issue (#72) and it is full of wonderful pieces.

Poem: The Summer Day Mary Oliver

Story: Undergrowth by Bowers

Essay: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg – Loving a Place

Reflections

I went with a classic Mary Oliver poem today because I wanted to read it. The last two lines are some of the most popular from Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Undergrowth is a story that won a recent contest from Smokelong. I love the way this story is organized and will use it to revise a memoir piece that I wrote based on some inspiration from Lidia Yuknavitch. It is an emotional piece.

The NG essay is about loving where you live. I have this feeling now that I live in Wisconsin. I think this also applies to the space you live in. You need to be comfortable where you spend your time. It needs to work for you. One of the things I will not give up next time I move is to have a fireplace. I love where we live now but I miss my fire!

Today’s reading is more about good word input rather than direct revision. I listened to Traci Skuce on two podcasts on my walk and found her revision conversations helpful.

Happy Writing and Reading!