Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 16

Grab your cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable chair around this oak table and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning. I am on my third cup though. I have been really tired all this week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then comment on at least 3 posts. This weekend there is a comment challenge so there will be lots of activity. If the internet goes down blame it on the teachers! I commented every day and it is always great to interact with people.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have had a training yesterday with Jim Knight. I drove into the city which always feels sophisticated to me. They had moved our tables which was jarring! This is a series of workshops and the same group meets every time. We have one more session next month. I spent a lot of the time talking to the coaches at our table. The materials are always great. We talked about learning maps which is something I will bring back to my office. It is a visible learning plan for students and teachers. There were times I had a hard time focusing throughout the day because I had woken up at 2:30 am. I had multiple little baby cups of coffee. I had great conversation about writing with a gifted classroom with an elementary coach too which was fun.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the conference I want to go to in November has posted the registration this week. I cannot sign up quite yet but will. There are studies that show the more you anticipate something the more happiness you glean from it. I will be taking full advantage of this fact with the writing conference in Salem! I have been there once. The Sunday before I ran the Boston Marathon I spent the day walking around the city. It was fascinating and I cannot wait to go back.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I read at least one essay, one poem and one short story every day this week for my Bradbury Trio. I found the formats and the ideas finding their way into my writing this week which is a good thing. The essays mostly were Ray Bradbury and Natalie Goldberg.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a teacher left our building in the middle of the year. She had her reasons and I support her, but I am sad about it. She is the second math teacher to do it this year. I feel bad for the kids. Some of them are not dealing with the feelings of abandonment well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my writing has been all over the place. I wrote every day but I am not working on any particular short stories. I do have the rejected flash fiction story I want to revise and send back out this weekend. I plan to work on some longer word count short stories for the month is April. I also will get 3 critiques back on another story from my group so I will be able to revise it next month and send it out too!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loved this chat with you today! It really is a highlight of my week. What is the best thing that happened to you today? I would love to hear about something inspiring you read.

Happy Weekend!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

You can also read more posts from teacher writers at twowritingteachers.org

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PLACE #FMF #SOLC Day 15

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life challenge. Each day in March teachers from around the country post to their blogs and the Two Writing Teachers website. We read and comment on each other’s posts.

Since it is Friday, it is also time for Kate’s Five Minute Friday Challenge. Today’s word is PLACE. You can read the guest post by author and inspiration Christie Purifoy whose new book PLACEMAKER just released.

In my Google Keep notes I saved the word : Monochopsis: the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place. This word is one I didn’t know existed but feel it is the perfect descriptor for several seasons of my life. I see belonging as a comfort but not always a necessity. My job title is coach. At this school, I am on a teacher contract. I have no evaluative portions of my job which I am grateful for but for some people the lines get blurry.

As a coach my place is to be helpful and a resource. Right now there are obstacles in my building and I am trying to reflect to make my practice better.
Christy Pulfroy said on a podcast I listening to toward the beginning of the month that a placemaker to her was someone who made their place even if you knew you would only be there a short time. She started me thinking of the gifts that place gives us. I suppose in the grand scheme of things everything is temporary.

I feel I am in temporary spaces in several aspects of my life. I am always waiting for the next thing. This idea isn’t all bad but can lead to frustration sometimes.

My place today is at a table with respected coaches I work with and my place in the room is among professional from around the area. The time with these people is limited now that we are in March so I need to be the gift and receive the gifts in this space I will be in today no matter how tired I am. The potential for knowledge and connection is great and I need to recognize that fact.

What comes to mind when you think of the word PLACE?

Keeping A Notebook #SOLC Day 11


I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then comment on at least 3 posts. There are lots of teacher-writers there I follow regularly and I have already met new ones.

Yesterday I was a gymnastics meet and was able to write in my notebook a lot in between my daughter’s events. I love a peek into other people’s notebooks and therefore their processes. I love the podcasts Keeping a Notebook from Nina LaCour and How Do You Write from Rachael Herron for this reason.

If there is a post with the word NOTEBOOK in it I am clicking every time so I thought I would share a glance into my brain that has too many drawers open with you!

Here is a list of what I put in my notebook yesterday:

  1. List of stories to find and ideas for blog posts for the month.
  2. Logged a prank my daughter played on my husband and I to put into a story.
  3. Tarot card reflections.
  4. Logged title of short story I read.
  5. Logged title of essay I read.
  6. Snippets from the 4 hour drive on Saturday to put in my compost pile for writing. One of which is the fact that 5 deer came running down in this hilly section of winding road. They all stopped at the road and waited for the cars to stop THEN ran across through the stream to the other side. It was wild and beautiful!
  7. Writing practice with the stems: I KNOW and I DON’T KNOW
  8. All the event scores and places for my daughter.
  9. start of 2 poems
  10. Planning for a story centered around a character named Ansil.
  11. List of names – first and last to mix and match
  12. Notes from a podcast about patterns.
  13. Play with verbs as an anchor concept for characters.

Do you keep a notebook?

Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 10

Grab your cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable chair around this oak table and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning. I am on my third cup though.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then comment on at least 3 posts. There are lots of teacher-writers there I follow regularly and I have already met new ones. I started participating the year I went to Hawaii for spring break so I think that might have been 2006? 2008? I have been doing this challenge for a long time.



If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have had a great time this week connecting with other bloggers and teachers. I always love chatting with people through the comments. As a writer, it is exciting to see what jumps out to people and resonates with them. I learn so much from everyone.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a Google call with one of my writing friends which was completely fulfilling to me! We are not geographically close enough to meet in person. She helped me realize a few things right in front of me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about hosting a gathering surrounding the Bradbury Trio. I think this would lead to a great reading and writing discussion. Read my thoughts about it here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I received another rejection. Sticker went in the book! I received some feedback so that made me happy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you, the time change is something I abhor. I wish we didn’t do it at all. I usually say it is jet lag without the trip. This year I have to travel by car for a sporting event for my daughter. Monday is going to be ROUGH.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loved this chat with you today! I would love to hear something wonderful that happened this week for you. I want to hear about what or who is inspiring you!

Happy Sunday!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

You can also read more posts from teacher writers at twowritingteachers.org

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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Things I Want More Of #FMF #SOLC Day 8

I am participating in TWO WRITING TEACHERS Slice of Life Challenge for the month of March. It is also Friday and time for FMF (Five Minute Friday) so I am combining efforts here.

Honestly, it has been a trying week. There has been a lot going on and I truly appreciate the interaction I have had with bloggers, teachers, writers, and friends.

What do I want more of?

I want more time that is my own and not overshadowed by other people’s stuff.

I want more time to write. Sometimes I want that time to be in a coffee shop or bookstore so I can people watch and overhear conversations.

I want more reading that lasts longer than 10 minutes at a time. I want to fall into more books. I also want to read more for reading sake – not just to get the book done and add it to a numbered list for the year.

I want more time at home as opposed to the car or really anywhere else for that matter!

I want more interaction with my writer tribe (I am doing something about this TODAY) This MORE goes with my word of the year #CONNECT. I also want to connect more with my readers – of the blog and my fiction.

I want more money to do things with my kids and husband. I want to travel more. I want to attend writing conferences.

I want more consistent sleep. I don’t do self care well. I get sleep but it is all over the place throughout the week.

I want more coffee? No…just kidding. I drink A LOT! Come by Sunday and we can have coffee together to talk about the weekend!

Overall, I want more peace. In my heart there is much peace, I just need more of the surrounding molecules to get on board!

What do you want more of?

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.

Waiting – A Flash Story #SOLC Day 6

I am participating in a flash fiction contest hosted by Indie Unlimited and you can read my flash story below the photo. Flash fiction is a great medium to use with students. The short word count makes it appealing and there is a zing to it! I will be posting soon some of my favorite flash authors but Kathy Fish and Lydia Davis are two to start with if you want to pursue that rabbit hole!

You can click here to vote for your favorite story written from this beautiful photograph.

Please vote for your favorite story! Of course I would love if mine is your favorite! After clicking on the link above, click the circle next to my name: TAMMY BREITWEISER, then click on the VOTE box at the bottom of the names. It is above the phrase VOTING RESULTS.

Thank you so much!

At the top of the hill I wait for my normal breath to return and gaze back on the trail hill I just sprinted up. The waves of Lake Michigan are crashing on the shore caressing the sand. Partners forever. I am glad I decided to run without headphones today. My thoughts are bombarding me with enough noise as it is. The same phrase is on repeat How did you not see?

My life will not be the same when I return to the car. The papers will be signed. The friends and assets will be divided, and not to be confused. It is a moment of before and after.

I have beat myself up with an emotional bat and today I physically match. My thighs and calves are burning from running in the sand. The small of my back is wet with sweat and ache. A trickle of sweat is making the space between my breasts itch but I can’t get to it because of the layers. I do not know how long I have been out here but  I have run the same loop three times. My heart still works. It is pounding trying to get out but I have to keep it caged at least 4 seasons. It needs to heal before it can be open to breaking again.


Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 3

Grab your cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable chair and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then comment on at least 3 posts. There are lots of teacher-writers there I follow regularly and I have already met new ones. I started participating the year I went to Hawaii for spring break so I think that might have been 2006? 2008? I have been doing this challenge for a long time.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this writing advice from Neil Gaiman has stuck with me:

There is power in finishing. That might mean the blog post, the short story, the essay, the day’s words, or the novel chapter. Neil says a writer learns more from finishing a story than just starting it even if you don’t like the story or how it turned out. This is just one of the nuggets of wisdom I have learned from his Masterclass.

If we were having coffee I would tell you, part of the reason this lesson stuck with me is I learned it by experiencing it with first with Julie Duffy’s Storyaday challenge which she runs in May. Writers start and complete one story a day for the month. Part of the challenge is to show yourself you can write every day and indeed finish a daily story even when you didn’t think it was possible. The endings of my stories and how I loop details together became a lot more skilled after I have done this story challenge now 3 times. Before September of 2016 I had a bunch of stories started and notebooks and notebooks of ideas. Now I have folders of real stories.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I believe endings are hard for writers because we don’t practice them enough. Personally, I get shiny ball syndrome and keep starting new things because I have a lot of ideas. This past week I worked hard to get several stories polished and submitted. I had to write an essay for one submission and was able to finish it within the time constraints.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I received two more rejections this week but ON THE SAME DAY. That was a bit rough. I went to my Superstar writing group for support. They didn’t disappoint.

If we were having coffee I would tell you, I connected with some of my husband’s family this past week. It was a nice afternoon and we have some great coffee too!

If we were having coffee I would tell you this week at work was a bit trying but I cannot exactly tell you why. There seem to be many underlying things that are eating away at the morale there. There has been a lot of sickness among the teachers and serious issues that are uncontrollable. The state-mandated high stakes test is looming as well as the district high stakes measure. I have been doing sessions of smaller PD with teachers but not the coaching work I normally do because of other obligations. To combat this feeling I plan to write a post about the things I am grateful for SPECIFICALLY at work. There are many times the grass seems greener anywhere else. I work with a lot of great people – teachers and students. I need to change my mindset.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loved this chat with you today! I would love to hear something wonderful that happened this week for you. I want to hear about what or who is inspiring you!

Happy Sunday!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

You can also read more posts from teacher writers at twowritingteachers.org

Gate A-4 + Writing Prompt #SOL19

This week I reread Gate A-4 by Naomi Shihab Nye. You can read the story at the link below.

https://www.csmd.edu/Assets/For-the-community/connections/SHIHAB%20NYE%20POETRY.pdf

I have a deep love for Nye’s work. I was introduced to her poem Secrets at the Writers at Work conference many years ago by educator celebrity Laura Robb.

The setting of the story is the Albuquerque Airport which I have actually been to. It is the backdrop for the story but also allows the conflict to play out in a natural organic way. I do find the lack of compassion from the flight agents disturbing but I feel it is purposeful for the pacing of the story. Another peculiar detail is the four hour delay. That seems long with no explanation.

One of the main themes of this piece is connection. The connections we have to people and how food plays a part. Food has a way of spanning all kinds of voids including language barriers.

When I was young my cousin from Germany would visit us every summer. For the first few summers I didn’t speak much German and he didn’t speak much English yet we were inseparable. Food played a big part of daily life in my Oma’s house and was a connector for us. Meals were always all together.

Lines I love from this story:

“Such an old country tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.”

“This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”

There is power in such a short amount of words. I love the idea of home and being rooted. I think as I get older I think more and more we are rooted to other people more than places. At least this seems to be in the case in my experience.

This story is about one event – what happens in the delay of the flight and how this woman who speaks no English brings a gate full of people together with cookies that bridge a gap of apprehension and prejudice.

As a teacher I see both of these lines being great springboards for quickwrites. I plan to use quickwrites for some of my #SOL19 posts for the Two Writing Teachers March challenge. If you would like more information about this challenge click here. I also will reference Linda Rief’s Quickwrite book. I have been a fan of Linda’s for a long time. I was honored to meet her in person many years ago. I even have her first quickwrite book which she autographed for me.

Writing Prompt: Write for 3-5 minutes using the lines from the story Gate A4.

Here are my quickwrites from these lines:

#1
“Such an old country tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.”

Carrying a plant as you travel seems to be a cumbersome activity in reality but I like the metaphor. As we travel away from home it is nice to have a connection to home. Now it is mostly through communication with the cell phone. I have had the experience of being connected to loved ones by letters when cell phone service is not available. Connection to home is people. Yes where we sleep is important. Sleeping in our own beds is usually a sentiment of what we miss when away. Plants are different in different landscapes. They can sometimes be transplanted and sometimes they die. Plants thrive where they originate from. Some plants don’t do well when you take them out of their natural habitat. Are people are the same way? Some can be transplanted and do well. Some are so attached to where they originate they cannot live anywhere else. I am not that person.

#2
“This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”

Apprehension of people can be dissolved with cookies and compassion. We are not lost on each other we can find the place we are more alike than different. Who knew it could be a gate in an airport in New Mexico.

What are your thoughts about these lines?