Ponderings #SOL21

Each Tuesday I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog and then read and comment on at least three others posts.

I don’t check my school email everyday in the summer, but I am waiting for a response to something so am checking it more often. Early this morning, I saw an email from my principal that struck my heart strings to click.

As I read of the person she has become over the last 25 years in the district I knew the line that was coming next.

My principal is leaving and moving to another corporation.

This actually makes a few decisions easier for me moving forward but it still makes me sad.

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I am more myself when I can walk every day and luckily I am in a space where I can this summer. I have been walking 10-13 miles a day and this makes me happy. I can think about writing and listen to podcast and allow ideas to come to me.

One of the podcasts I love to listen to is the MFA podcast hosted by Jared. The interview this morning is about the University of Minnesota. It was a fabulous episode.

I struggle with the desire to apply and attend an MFA program. The immersion is what appeals to me. I know I can create a DIYMFA. There is even a book and website. There is something about the time set aside for just writing and talking about writing that appeals to me. I know from past experience that you cannot always handpick the community that comes with these programs. I am so honored to have cultivated a rich community of writers I would not trade no matter what class I took!

In any of your creative writing experiences what was the book and/or the writing exercise that made a lasting impression for you?

Writing is a passion for me that existed way before I taught. The skills I learned from teaching and marketing from various professions I have had have led me to where I am now and I am so grateful.

One of my greatest joys is teaching writing to all ages.

Want to join me? I am teaching a second round of my Fabulous Flash Fiction class starting August 4th. Come join the fun! Details and registration are here.

Brevity – An Exercise in Craft

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

One of the podcasts I listen to every week is the Stop Writing Alone podcast from Nicole Rivera. Several weeks ago Nicole talked about choosing a book from your bookshelf and working through it.

I love craft books and own a lot of them. I have done a lot of the exercises in several like

Writing Open the Mind,

Wild Mind , Writing Down the Bones and the True Secet of writing all by Natalie Goldberg.

I have done almost all the exercise in Going Short by Nancy Stohlman. I also took a course with Nancy using her book.

The Rose Metal Press Flash Fiction Field Guide is also one I have done many exercises from.

One book I have dipped in and out of it Brevity by David Galef. I purchased this book on the recommendation of Nancy Stohlman in March of last year.

Ever since I heard Nicole talk about choosing a book and committing to doing the exercises in it I knew the Brevity book was the one I needed to dig into.

Today I started with the first chapter about vignettes. I like this book because there is instruction and then at least one mentor text illustrating the points of the form highlighted. I wrote a vignette that I don’t like very much but the form will be on my mind for the rest of the day.

This is not the only writing I did today. I did my five minute Friday exercise. I also did my Sarah Selecky daily prompt in addition to morning pages.

What book would you like to work through but haven’t made the plan to do so yet?

***This not only works with writing exercise books but also cookbooks! I have worked my way through a couple of cookbooks beginning to end.

Truth #SOL21 #10minchallenge

Each Tuesday I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog. Then I read and comment on at least three others posts.

The truth is…

I am hosting my own challenge this month

The prompt today was:

There are several ways a story can be true. 

Perspective and lens make a huge difference.

The brain changes a memory each time we recall it slightly which is why when you try to compare a situation with another person who was there you remember it differently.

Today I want you to set your timer and begin with the stem:

THE TRUTH IS

Just let your brain take you where it wants to go. You might write about the same truth the whole time or you may make a 2 mm shift of truth like a kaleidoscope. You may switch between several truths.

Allow what comes.

The truth is perspective. What is true for me is not always how others around me see it. As I get older, this seems to be more true than I ever thought before. But this idea also complicates things when you deal with people who deal in black and white. Five year old perspectives are different than adults for sure.

The truth is I am looking at some changes come August. I am uncertain how it will play out, but I know that I have taken steps and just have to wait now. The truth is I am impatient.

The truth is I returned from Florida on Sunday. I had an amazing time for my son’s graduation trip but it was a long time to be away from home.

The truth is June went even faster this year than it normally does. It is already the 6th of July and I am not ready. Time is flowing too easily.

The truth is I am examining what needs to stay and what needs to go. I am choosing to focus on the light, abundance, and wonder of it all. One thing that will stay is my 10 mile walks. I went earlier today so it wasn’t so hot.

If you would like to join this free challenge sign up here and you will start getting the emails tomorrow!

https://mailchi.mp/18cdb0dbd335/10min10days

things on my mind #SOL21

Each Tuesday I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog.

things I’m

watching….

Below Deck. A new season started and we are able to watch it on Peacock. They are releasing the shows a week ahead of schedule so that is exciting. I am looking forward to Big Brother and it starts in July.

loving…

the horses on my walking route. There are horses on every walking route. I am logging in 10 miles a day since the school year closed.

reading…

A poem, a short story or flash piece, and an essay every day in June. I am reflecting on what I am reading and how it connects to revision this month.

missing…

my middle school writers group. I had several groups of middle schoolers who were some of the best thinkers and writers. we talked about short stories and wrote our own. it was a magical time.

ordered…

quick dry shorts with zippered pockets. I am traveling next week and need a place to stash my phone where it won’t fall out of my pocket.

Loving…

my library. Almost every book I look for, they have a copy of! It is amazing. I can put holds on books through the Library Extension through Google and that saves me time as well.

listening…

to favorite podcasts. One of the ones I look forward to is MFA Writers. I am excited a new episode dropped today and I will listen on my walk

Transition to Break #SOL21

Every Tuesday I blog and share at twowritingteachers.org. Teacher writers share and comment on at least 3 posts.

Transition Time.

This is my first TWT post since I am officially on summer break. It still doesn’t seem real to me. Over the weekend I kept telling myself, “These are days I would have off anyway…it doesn’t count.”

Each year I go through this transition where I switch over from the main labels of educator to wife, mother, writer.

These identities are always part of me, of course, but the priority of the labels switch places for a while when the demands on my time are changed.

I used to have a school hangover for more than a week. I would be in a panic thinking I was forgetting something. I used to pack up a lot of stuff to bring home over the summer as well.

In recent years, the transition has gotten easier.

For instance, I didn’t bring home a carload of stuff. I am also not worried about my classroom being used for summer school. I would have in the past.

You see, I don’t really like change I have come to realize. I like patterns and structures THAT I ESTABLISH. If they happen TO me, then I resist.

If I feel I have no choice, I resist.

Honestly, I am a rebel, so sometimes even my own rules I resist.

[If you want to know more about rebels…or questioners…or obligers…check out Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies quiz.]

A long time ago I gave myself a summer assignment in the name of being a well rounded person and because…ah hem….teacher.

Sometimes it was to read the classics I didn’t read when I was in high school. Or it is to complete a writing course. Or to try a new recipe.

I have come to learn that experiments are part of how I am designed and align best to my creativity.

But this year I feel different as I shed the skin of teacher and slip into the new one of full time writer. I am not sure if it is the pivots that had to be made over the last year + or just that the personal stressors of past years are being eliminated. Some have timed out and some I have made decisions regarding in order to let them go.

The freedom of the summer schedule aligns with how I work best. Later in the summer I will examine how to bring more of that feeling to the job , but for now…I am going to write some more and then go for a walk.

Happy writing!

I would love to hear about your transition from school to home – is it dramatic for you?

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Have you read my newsletter? I started adding a section in my newsletter called: Overheard in Kindergarten. Sign up now!

Words of Kindergarten #SOL21

Every Tuesday I blog and share at twowritingteachers.org. Teacher writers share and comment on at least 3 posts.

Almost there.

My students’ last day was Friday. Today I am in an all day reading curriculum training. My last day is Thursday which means my full time writer schedule begins on Friday. I cannot wait.

One of the many things I love about kindergarten is the way my students have their own lens and ways of describing things. I keep a log of things that my students say so I can remember.

I started adding a section in my newsletter called: Overheard in Kindergarten

Here are some phrases I wrote down the last week:

  • If we had ice cream hair we could just lick our heads.
  • Overheard at the kitchen center: I am making scrambled berries with potato sauce and purple ketchup.
  • Lull-a-pie (lullaby)
  • “Your hair is excited for Thursday”
  • “These are my July shoes.” (They are red, white, and blue.)
  • “I have to sharpen my eraser.”
  • “Push me to South Carolina!” (on the swings)

There were a lot of great things about this school year despite its massive amounts of pivots but I am ready to recharge and move forward. I know I am not alone in this sentiment.

Here’s to summer!

I will miss the words of my kindergarteners and am glad I have a document to school through to hear their words when I miss them.

LAST CHANCE TO SIGN UP – The FABULOUS FLASH FICTION CLASS starts tomorrow!

Sign up here.

June Energy #SOL21

Every Tuesday I blog and share at twowritingteachers.org. Teacher writers share and comment on at least 3 posts.

Here we are.

This week is the last with students. Today I will spend the morning outside and have regular day in the afternoon. This is my last in person day with Cohort A.

I am ready for the end of the year. So ready. I am formulating a plan to recharge over the next couple of weeks because I won’t be able to function if I don’t.

I have been looking closely at what fuels me and what depletes me and what are my nonnegotiables.

Summer for me means I live a writer’s schedule. I have time in the mornings to write and then walk. I started running again now that the weather seems to be cooperating as well.

I am intentionally reading a poem, short story, and essay everyday to use them as my own mentor texts for revision. You can read about that here.

This end of the school year I imagine will feel more complete than last year’s. I am thinking of doing a couple of things that will unplug me from the world and input that is not good for me.

These next two weeks I am approaching one day at a time. I am diligent about putting things into lists and my calendar or it won’t happen!

Right now I feel flat.

The holiday weekend was great with a lot of time outside so that was wonderful. I will ride that energy wave as long as I can!

Currently I Am… #SOL21

Every Tuesday I blog and share at twowritingteachers.org. Teacher writers share and comment on at least 3 posts.

Currently I am…

Drinking coffee because I love it and it is my ritual.

Thinking about things I cannot control and the new moon.

Waiting for times on the schedule.

Dreaming about umbrellas for some reason [working on this association]

Wondering what I will write today and when I will get to finishing my prompt book.

Needing to spend some time in stillness and silence.

Reading Hemingway.

Battling my own doubts and Zoom echoes.

Thankful for so much, but especially my husband and community.

#FMF Remedy

Every Friday I set the timer and write with the one word prompt from Five Minute Friday.

The remedy for lots of ailments is the same thing.

I think about loneliness and creativity and the remedy for these. The smell of lilacs comes to mind. The fragrance and the blooms drip from the branches in my Oma’s garden of no more.

People are a medicine I need but often avoid. Community must be carefully curated. It needs to be energizing, not draining but always seems a fine line to me.

This week I cancelled everything in the evenings. A remedy of sorts. It was a delicious break but not as fueling as I would have suspected it would be. There was no pressure to get home or for anything to get done before I had to be on Zoom. I didn’t even take the computer out of my bag this week.

I felt off. I woke up Wednesday frustrated and the day went downhill and then back up again. I didn’t have my intellectual conversation I have become accustomed to Tuesday night. Maybe that was why.

Tuesdays seem like Fridays because of the new teaching schedule and then the rest of the week is just confusing. There is no remedy for the confusion of late it seems.

What Makes Your Heart Beat Faster? #sol21

What makes you heart beat faster?

Being at school,

The Hello song pulling everyone from their seats to dance,

The whisper of, “Can I hug you when we get back to the room?”

Good news on the writing front,

A vision coming true I hadn’t even IMAGINED 2 years ago,

The rejection email for the poems sent last week,

The snow falling on my walk,

Seeing the new baby horse,

The sight of the first spot being open – “My spot”,

A message from a friend,

An encouraging workshop,

A new person to learn from,

The hug and kiss greeting from my husband,

The gratitude for the life I have created here.

What makes your heart beat faster today?