New Moon Sunday #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Thank you for chatting with me today. Let’s settle in and share.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the Jack Project is finally in order and a complete story – not a mess of scenes. Many writers who know me have heard of my struggle with this project. Jack was written during #NANOWRIMO several years ago. I love the story and keep coming back to it, but there had always been obstacles. I created a process that worked and I stuck to my deadline this time. My goal was to be done by the end of this month and I completed it early! I am celebrating! This week, I will reread the whole story in one sitting and then the revision passes will begin. Will it be a novel? I am not sure. WIll it be a novella or a long short story? I still don’t know and right now, that doesn’t matter!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am resuming weekly meetings for my PUSH group starting in June. Tomorrow we are talking about how to not run out of ideas for writing and creative work.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my story won an Honorable Mention in the 24 hour Short Story contest. This was a pleasant surprise!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have been cleaning and purging this week. I took a whole car load of items to Goodwill this week. I thought it would feel more cathartic than it did, but I am still glad to be making some space in my life. I have moved many times over the last 8 years and hope this last move will be the last one. I have been considering items I own and asking myself these questions:

Do I love this?

When was the last time I used this?

Can it be replaced?

These are the questions that help me decide what to let go and what to treasure. I am finding many items are easy to let go of. Books, however, are not. It is my goal to only own things that are my favorites.

Do you need a refill? Would you like some ice water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thankful for this holiday weekend. The time seems a bit off for me this weekend but I am rolling with it. I am appreciating the abundance, love in my life, and new beginnings.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I participated in the Kathy Fish reunion this weekend. If you take one of Kathy’s classes she hosts a weekend of prompts on a special platform. It is a great time to write to her fantastic prompts and then get some feedback from other students of hers. I am happy with the pieces I produced this weekend. I hope to turn them into pieces I submit.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have vowed to dig into my old notebooks and not feel like I have to start fresh with writing every morning. I have my writing practice routines, but am looking forward to piecing together some essays or stories from material I have already recorded. I stumbled upon an idea called The 5 Things Essay which works for how my brain does. I am planning to use this structure during the #1000wordsof summer hosted by Jami Attenberg.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am taking a class from Holly at Poetry Forge called Oceans without End. I am thankful I met Holly last year and have enjoyed all the classes she has conducted. She has a calm poetic vibe about her which is inspiring.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I slept in more today than I think I have in the last 5 years! Last night I had a wonderful night out with pizza, drinks, and live music. Today, I had a fantastic breakfast and have an afternoon of writing, a party, time with people I love. The universe keeps telling me the path I am on is aligned and it is reassuring. I have many plans on the stove simmering right now. There are some self imposed deadlines that I will reach over the next month or so.

I hope your Sunday is filled with loving words, hugs, dreams, and sunshine.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

Saying Yes or No #SOL22

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. and then comment on at least three other blog posts

YES AND NO

The idea of intentionally choosing YES or NO responses to areas of my life has come to the forefront this week. I have written about this concept before when I was inspired by Tsh Oxenreider from The Simple Show and her amazing podcast series. She rereads the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown every year which is a title I have also read.

Things I have been saying NO to lately:

– Explaining myself

– Apologizing for my feelings

– Toxic people

– Feeling I have to rush all the time, esp at work

– Hiding who I am

Things I have been saying YES to:

+Resting

+Feeling what I am truly feeling in the moment and naming it

+Not eating when I am not hungry (This one MIGHT be a maybe…)

+Spending time with people I want to and that are enriching to my life

+Drinking water

+Reading

+Writing

+ Planning for the future

+Looking forward to the end of the school year

What are you saying yes and no to in your life?

I am noticing and determining what is personally important so I can make the right decisions and goals for ME. I am crafting out the new identity I want to embody as I move forward.

For much of my life, I have done what is politically correct or the impression of what I thought “I was supposed to do.” This can mean influences from a range of people including parents, partners, kids, or bosses. As a teacher coach, I use the term: self-imposed rules. Humans impose our own parameters all the time. We use our past experience and excitement and the rules are given to us but sometimes we make it harder on ourselves then we need to. These rules often determine what I say no or yes to.

In spite of all the obstacles, I am always writing. I am composing in my head, dictating on my phone, thinking out issues of story, reading and listening about writing craft, and teaching some students and teachers along the way. This is my reality and part of my magic.

#happyllamatuesday #happyreading #happywriting

#WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Thank you for meeting and chatting with me today. Fill your cup to the brim and let’s have a long chat!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I attended an editing class taught by Amber Sparks. It was wonderful and gave me a lot of options to revise my flash fiction.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I learned about a technique used by author Aaron Angello from the Drunken Odyssey podcast. He took a sonnet and wrote each word at the top of a clean page. His daily practice [which was an assignment from an MFA class] was to wake at 5am and ruminate on the word, and then write a full page – no more, no less. It then ended up becoming a book he published! I took a poem that was shared by Ada Limon on the Slowdown podcast and have been following Aaron’s routine. It is a smaller notebook but seems to be a worthwhile writing practice.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather has been strange. There was 90 degree temperatures all week, and then it rained, and now it is in the 50’s.

Do you need a refill? The water is really cold so I will bring you a glass since it is so warm today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I hosted a Topic Talk about Tarot in the Centered community on Wednesday evening. It was well attended and we had a great conversation. I learned new things and was able to meet more new members of the community.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am resuming the weekly schedule for my PUSH group starting in June. I am in a much better place to be able to host every week and with schedules and summer it is more convenient for everyone.

If we were having coffee I would tell you revisions to my Jack project continue. I am pleased with the progress! My daily writing practice is going strong and I am making some plans for writing projects I want to complete over the next several months. Most of my writing has been in my notebook or computer however. I haven’t been sharing as much within my normal communities.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my artist date last Sunday was an amazing day! Neil Gaiman did not disappoint and he read my favorite short story, “Click Clack Rattle Bag,” and that was surreal. He also read a story called “Chivalry” which is about a woman who buys the Holy Grail at a thrift store. He answered questions that were submitted when we entered the venue. It was worth the 2 year wait.

While I was in Madison, I went to the Contemporary Museum of Art and made notes about the artwork which I used to write with later before I went into the Neil event. It was something I had planned to do for a long time and I was happy to experience it that day!

If we were having coffee I would tell you this weekend is flying by fast! Lately, I have felt more like myself and doors are opening for opportunities I have wanted for a long time. It is a good feeling to have some solid plans for the future. I have lots to look forward to and I am truly grateful for the abundance in my life.

I hope your Sunday is filled with light, happiness, plants, love, and fire!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat. I hope to see you next weekend!

Full Moon #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Thank you for meeting and chatting with me today. Fill your cup to the brim and let’s have a long chat!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went to amazing workshops yesterday with Cheryl Pappas, Kathy Fish and Crow Collective. I have taken classes with Cheryl before but never in a live workshop situation. I have heard her read a story of hers that I adore and it was nice to hear her voice teaching. I was able to draft some pieces yesterday that I am happy with. All are partial so I will have to dig back into them at a later writing session.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I need to schedule some time to revisit some writing classes I have taken in the past. I am good at taking notes about how classes are conducted and I save all the prompts and reading suggestions. One of the main ones I need to revisit is the Sarah Selecky Story Course. That course has the advantage of audio and video lessons as well. My Google drive is very full of lessons and drafts. My writing life schedule will begin soon and I will be able to do just that!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went to an online event where Jackie Kai Ellis spoke. She was amazing and I love her memoir. The call was magical and her tone and way of speaking was calming and inspiring at the same time. It would be worth it to join Centered just to listen to Guest Mentor replays. The daily prompts are highly recommended as well. The community is supportive and it is a great place to share your work especially if you are reluctant to do so.

Do you need a refill? The water is really cold so I will bring you a glass since it is so warm today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you today is a special day! I am driving into Madison to see NEIL GAIMAN SPEAK!!!! I am have been anticipating this evening for over 2 years and I am thrilled. I am going to take the opportunity to go on an extended Artist Date and go to bookstores, write at the art museum, have a lovely dinner and then soak up all the vibes from Neil. The full moon will be my companion on the drive back to the apartment. I will look at it and think of people I am under the full moon with tonight!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I cut my hair this week! It was nice to go a little shorter like I have had it in the past. It makes it easier for walking in the sun and just general maintenance. Plus, I like the look!

If we were having coffee I would tell you revisions to my Jack project continue. With work this week, I haven’t been able to get as much time on that project as I would have liked ,but I did some work yesterday and it was good. I have moved the deadline up and will accomplish the goal.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my routine is different this weekend and although I am excited for the creative day I have planned I miss my new normal. There are people I love that I cannot be with this weekend and I miss them. Changes are coming soon that will change that so I am thankful. I have abundance in my life and do not plan to waste it.

I hope your Sunday is filled with creativeness, sunshine, love, and great food!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat!

Four Somethings #SOL22

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. and then comment on at least three other blog posts

My dear friend Lisa shared this format on her blog. You can read it here.

Something Loved

Most of my students can pronounce my last name just fine but occasionally I have a student who will call me “Mrs. B”. I have one student that calls me “Mrs. Weiser” – she wrote that in her book she is making this morning! LOL

I always love writing time because the students always chatter. When I taught kindergarten they would comment on each other’s writing and process the whole time. It was adorable and perfect.

“We have a lot of dandelions in our yard” my student says today as she adds grass and dandelions to her picture in her book. “My sister is a teenager. She doesn’t care.” I found out her sister also cut her own hair…her mother was not happy.

Something Read

I am reading Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau and enjoying it immensely. I love a “stunt” memoir. The author is taking walks Thoreau did and writing about his experience. His writing style is inviting.

Something Treasured

My red thread bracelet I have not taken off since it touched my wrist.

I am also treasuring that my building has air conditioning. It is forecasted to be 90 degrees here and it was 60 on Sunday.

Something Ahead

There are lots of things to look forward to over the next several months and beyond. The end of the school year is approaching and major changes are happening for me. There is a plan for me to not be in public education in the fall in order to be a full time writer. There are several logistics that are being worked out but it is exciting and terrifying all at once. More on that another day.

Mother’s Day #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people who are nurturers to someone in your life!

Thank you for meeting and chatting with me today. I have dark roast coffee, spicy coffee and water today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my story challenge is moving along. I have not been as inspired this week for new material, but have been doing revision. I am writing, but not sticking as close to the prompts as I have in the past. The experience is different for me now since I have a well established writing practice. Words are written everyday. I joined a writing sprint Saturday morning which was nice to see some familiar faces and get a story done. I also had a call with a Canadian writer friend this week. It was incredibly fueling to me!

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather cleared up for 3 days and then it went back to raining. I have been able to sneak a few walks in. I do so much better when I can connect with nature even if it is only an hour.

Do you need a refill?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote with my poetry class on Thursday night. I had wrestled with a poem all day and it gave me time to revise it. I have been in my Sarah Freligh poetry boot camp class as well as Monna McDiarmid’s.

If we were having coffee I would tell you revisions to my novel continue. With work this week, I haven’t been able to get as much time in that document as I would like.

If we were having coffee I would tell you PUSH group was delightful on Monday night. The conversation went to reading at the end which was engaging and humorous!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am spending some time with my son today for Mother’s Day. We are going to lunch. It is always fun to spend time with him no matter what the day.

I hope your Sunday is filled with some fun and laughter. Mine started wonderfully and will be full of joyful moments.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat!

One Day MAYbe… #SOL22

On Tuesdays I write about education and then link to the Two Writing Teacher blog. and then comment on at least three other blog posts.

For more years than I can count I have a tradition on the first school day of May.

I invite students to finish the sentence stem: One day MAYbe…

Grade level or age does not matter for this prompt. It is universal and always applies.

My students wrote with this prompt today and we discussed if they would travel somewhere or what they wanted to be when they grew up.

One day MAYbe the weather will even out and it will actually look like spring.

One day MAYbe I will be a full time writer.

One day MAYbe I will be a princess.

I am always looking for the magic in teaching. Some days are easier to find it than others but it usually is in writing!

I invite you to finish the phrase –

One day MAYbe…

#happywriting

May Day #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Thank you for meeting and chatting with me today. I have dark roast coffee today and some water.

If we were having coffee I would tell Storyaday May begins today and I am excited for this annual event. Julie, the host, is running two side by side challenges this year. One is the classic 31 stories in 31 days and the other is a “fun size”. The alternative challenge is a lot about mindset and working on only a few stories for the month. If you want to check her site and the prompts out go to Storyaday.org. I will continue to write using the Sarah Selecky daily prompts during the month and will combine them when that works for my story.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather has been a little better. I have been able to get some walks in this week but there was still a lot of rain and wind. Thankfully, no snow this past week.

Do you need a refill?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went to a White Sox game yesterday with my three sons. It was crazy getting into the park and we had to stand in a massive line. We did get the free shirt , thank goodness. All the boys were worried they would run out before we got to the gate. The game started off with an Anderson homerun, so that was exciting. I had been looking forward to the food at the park as much as the game and it did not disappoint. We had great seats right behind first base and a foul ball landed right next to us…into someone else’s hand. We left when the sky opened up and it poured. They delayed the game, but that was ok. It was a good game. We even got ice cream on the way home. It was a great afternoon.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I worked on revisions to my novel and it is going well.

If we were having coffee I would tell you work seemed extra busy this week. I was glad for the weekend.

I hope your Sunday is filled with some fun and laughter.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat!

Illustrators #SOL22

On Tuesdays I write about education and then link to the Two Writing Teacher blog. and then comment on at least three other blog posts.

Reading and writing have always been taught together in my classroom. There is also lots of bookmaking for students and for me.

I used to take all the words they needed to know and would make books of text for them to practice reading before there were sites like Teacher Pay Teacher and Pinterest.

When teaching about what the author does in writing a book we also talk about illustrators. Throughout the years as I have met countless children’s book authors. I was surprised to learn that the writer often does not get to choose the illustrator for their books. They are sometimes randomly assigned. Sometimes requests are made but they are not always honored by the publisher.

Several authors talked about how the placement of words on the page is also chosen by the illustrator and sometimes will change the way the story is read. The illustrator has more power than I once thought.

I have always modeled how to draw certain things simply since I cannot just ask students to do something when I haven’t given them an example. I have used stick people to show how to make people more “fleshy”.

Yesterday I read Mo Willems book: The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!

I learned years ago when I saw him speak at an International Reading Association conference that he drew the pigeon the way he did on purpose so even young children could write their own pigeon books.

Today one of my individual students wrote about sheep using the book she just read as a model. I showed her how to use swirls to make it look fuzzy. Then she said to me, “I’m going to make the curlies up to the neck!”

I was reminded of the joy of drawing with my students today!

What brought you joy today?

I Invite You To Coffee #WeekendCoffeeShare

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat today. I link up with Natalie the Explorer with others who enjoy Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Thank you for meeting and chatting with me today. I have some spicy coffee this morning with mocha today. I can make you a regular cup if that doesn’t appeal to you.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was a guest blogger on a website I respect as a writer and an educator. You can check out my post here about writing poetry.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather is still not cooperating. It rained every day this week except Thursday when I was able to get out in the sun for a walk. Yesterday it was 89 degrees at one point and the day before it was 40 degrees??? When it is not raining, it is windy. Windy like 20mph – not breezy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was a busy writing week which is always my favorite. The Centered Guest Mentor call was this week and was amazing. Yesterday I attended the Barrelhouse writing conference online and also had my Natalie Goldberg writing session. I had a critique session as well. Thanks to my friends Jamie and Chari, I realized that my 100-word story was due yesterday instead of today, so I am glad I didn’t miss the deadline. I also turned in my CV2 poem.

If we were having coffee I would tell you today my schedule is a little different so my regular writing routine has shifted. I do not mind at all. I plan to do some revisions and submissions today.

Do you need a refill?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I think I have a plan to get my novel revised by August 1st. I have an accountability partner (THANK YOU ROBYN) who also has done this process before so I believe that will be motivating for me. From the Ease Lessons podcast, I also was reminded about a sentence outline which I think will work for figuring out (again) where the holes are in the story so I can work those pieces out. I know I need to rearrange many scenes as well.

I am excited to have a plan and a deadline for myself. I am still reading Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell and I am sure that will help with the plans as they become more solidified and written down!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have made some writing connections through my new role as Moderator for Centered. I am enjoying the increased interaction and learning more about these writers.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I hope you have some fun this Sunday! I am having the most enjoyable day today full of many things I love. I had the perfect start to the morning and had an amazing breakfast with someone important…more on that another time.

Looking ahead I am looking forward to next weekend already! I have some big plans and I am taking my sons to a White Sox game! I hope the weather holds out for us!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee chat! I am already looking forward to next weekend!