Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 9

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive. I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

June 9

Story: http://haydensferryreview.com/cheryl-pappas-tending-the-elephant

Poem: https://poets.org/poem/teller-tales?mc_cid=fef35fc1bd&mc_eid=2fac48206f

Essay:The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg Happiness

Reflections:

The flash is one that I heard Cheryl read at a flash fiction festival earlier this year. I immediately was drawn to it and couldn’t wait for it to be published. As I have shared this piece it is interesting to me people’s difference interpretations of what it means. I suppose that it is the beauty of flash – it can be cryptic.

The more I facilitate discussions in my groups around text the more I see how individual experiences change the lens which people read the same piece. I see the elephant as a metaphor. It plays on the phrase “the elephant in the room” The marriage is in trouble and they are only passing each other and taking on the task of cleaning the elephant. They are stuck in a routine. The rest of their lives are just in the background. Cleaning the elephant is the only thing they do together – yet separate. The detail about the three time zones intrigues me as well.

The poem inspires the thought that stories are everywhere around us. In all the details while we live our day and we need to pay attention to them. Sparkly phrases are popping out all over the place to me since I have started this challenge – more so than usual.

Where do your stories come from?

The NG essay examines the question “When are you happy?”

During the May challenge one of the prompts was to write a happy story (it was Roxane Gay’s prompt as well who I adore) and I struggled. I think of stories as having conflict or transformation. There are different levels of happiness of course, just like everyone thinks different things are fun. Being a writer is about paying attention and also about seizing opportunities. You take those few minutes to write down that thought that crosses your mind or the overheard conversation in the grocery store aisle.

Today I will ask myself often, ” Am I happy?” I need to ask my characters this as well in the story I revise today. I need to notice it.

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general!

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Let’s have a conversation!

###We start the Fabulous Flash Fiction Class today!!! Last chance to join us for a generative class with a casual atmosphere of community and writing! Registration details here.

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 8

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive. I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

Day 8

Poem: 

“Sadder Summer” by Zachary Schomburg

The house was crumbling down slowly around me like a paper marigold. It had been a summer full of interviews. I had become simplified into my most primitive body. Now me experienced, me said. Now me not alone.

Story: https://flashboulevard.wordpress.com/2021/06/05/meg-pokrass-there-are-these-powers-that-bring-me-to-my-knees/

Essay:The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg – A Moment

Reflections:

The poem today is short but powerful. There are several phrases that pop out to me:

paper marigolds

summer full of interviews

me not alone

As I have been reading these poems with more intention over the last 8 days I have been thinking of sentences and the how they convey my thoughts. Concise language is needed in order to be understood. Sometimes this is with an image or a peripheral memory of something you thought forgotten. Sometimes there needs to be more words, sometimes less.

These poetic lines make me picture paper flowers like the ones we used to make for dances in middle and high school.

I wonder if the interviews were for jobs or for something else. Interviews for friends? spouses? That makes me think of what unusual thing could you interview for and to make it into a story. Or search the drive for one I can incorporate it into.

The flashes from Meg Pokrass are intriguing to me. I like her stories but always feel like I have to read them more than once. I took a class with her 2 weeks ago. Her imagery is intriguing and unusual. I keep rereading searching for something that I think I might have missed.

NG talks about a small moment that shifted your perspective. I call them before and after moments. When I read the chapter this morning, I couldn’t think of anything that fit her description. I still can’t!

Today I am mostly just inspired by the readings. No specific revisions are coming to mind for the stories I am working on.

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general!

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Let’s have a conversation!

###We start the Fabulous Flash Fiction Class on Wednesday!! Join us for a generative class with a casual atmosphere of community and writing! Registration details here.

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.

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 7

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive. I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

Day 7

Poem: Playing The Telephone Game

Story : What Once Housed a Family and On Finding My Childhood Home on Zillow

Essay: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg The Opening Point

And Not a Novel A Memoir in Pieces Jenny ErpenbeckTime

Reflections:

The poem is interesting to me today because it is about a concept one of the stories I am revising hinges on: the game of telephone. We used to play it in the car with our kids and the crazy sentences that came out it were hilarious. I like how this poem plays with language and the sounds. It is a poem that cries to be read out loud.

I love this little story, but I am not a fan of the title. I keep trying to read it and stumbling over it. After reading this story, and the one below it I suddenly remembered the address of my childhood home. I looked it up and saw the remodeled pictures. I am not sure this story will inspire a revision, but it will inspire a new story. I warn you this story may lead you to an internet search of all the houses you have lived in before. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

NG talks about those flashes of moments that come to us and we don’t always understand them. Sometimes they are ideas or feelings we are running from. Those are the moments that we need to write about.

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general!

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Let’s have a conversation!

###We start the Fabulous Flash Fiction Class on Wednesday!! Join us for a generative class with a casual atmosphere of community and writing! Registration details here.

June #CoffeeShare

Welcome to Sunday! It is COFFEE TIME! But honestly, when is it not?

#thankyouforsharing

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

#lastdays

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my students’ last day was Friday. It was a strange feeling to have two last days since I had cohorts for the last 2 months of school. It didn’t feel real. It was a good last two days actually. Thursday was field day all morning and then Friday we pet baby chicks, made cube models out of marshmallows and toothpicks, had a scavenger hunt with Bomb pops at the end, and had hot dogs for lunch. I have a week of teacher days still but planning for kids is over for this school year. I am tired and burnt out and am looking forward to resting.

#graduation

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this weekend is busy. My two oldest are graduating. I am excited for them and what they are moving forward with in their lives in the fall. It is going to be 90 degree celebrations!

#BradburyRevisionChallenge.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I would love for you to join me for the Bradbury Challenge this month. I am posting daily what I am reading for revision. I am reading a poem, short story, and essay each day and applying those lens to a story already in my drive.

Would you like a refill? Some water? Something stronger? I feel like talking for a bit longer.

#fabulousflashfiction

If we were having coffee, I would tell you registration is open for a short time longer for my Fabulous Flash Fiction class I am teaching June 9-13th. Slots are already filling up! If you cannot make it but know someone who would be interested please share the link with them! You can find more info here. There is a kick off Zoom meeting that will be recorded if you are unable to attend. The class is asynchronous so you can do it at your own pace and schedule. There are no other live meetings.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it was a busy weekend. We went to two graduation ceremonies and a graduation party. It was an emotional two days. Honestly, it was a build up so it was more than just a few days.

——-

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I always love when we chat!

I would love to hear what you are working on and what you find inspiring.

I am already looking forward to our chat next week!

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 6

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive.

I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

Day 6

Poem: The Shortest Night

Story : https://www.passagesnorth.com/2013/06/boiled-clear-by-sherrie-flick/

Essay: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg What is Writing Practice

And Not a Novel A Memoir in Pieces Jenny Erpenbeck

Reflections:

There is so much I love about this Victoria Wang poem. It is short and punchy. You can reread it several times because it is so short. The last line resonates with me strongly.

NG’s essay outlines her writing practice rules that I have written about several times.

  1. Keep your hand moving.
  2. Feel free to write badly.
  3. Be specific.
  4. Lose control.

Her last line? Put your life on the line.

Sherrie Flick recently became one of my favorite flash writers. I was introduced to her work during a Flash Fiction Festival and have been devouring her stories. She is a master at endings. This story is in a respected publication and has a lot of food in it. I am hoping to take a class with her sometime in the near future.

Kathy Fish also is hosting her reunion this weekend so I am thrilled to have new prompts from her. Kathy has a great newsletter and she is working on a book which I will preorder as soon as I am able!

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general!

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Let’s have a conversation!

###There are a few more days to sign up for my Fabulous Flash Fiction Class! Join us for a generative class with a casual atmosphere of community and writing! Registration details here.

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 5

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive.

I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

Day 5

Poem:  Fire by Judy Brown  https://wordsfortheyear.com/2018/06/02/fire-by-judy-brown/

Story: http://www.smokelong.com/the-sugar-that-comes-from-funerals/

Essay: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg Slow Walking chapter

And Not a Novel A Memoir in Pieces Jenny Erpenbeck : Homesick for Sadness and Hope

Reflections:

The poem was one that Sarah Selecky shared this week. I am drawn to the idea of space that is represented in the poem and the need for it in order for fire to burn. You cannot pack logs too tightly or it will suffocate. Stories need a certain amount of space in them. I like flash for the reason that you can leave space for the reader to bridge the ideas together. I need to think of this when I revise my story today.

The story is from a publication I admire greatly. This story is told in smaller pieces that are collaged together. I am drawn to these lines: She made me feel like a chrysalis on the verge of opening up. I haven’t decided if the lips I’ve yet to kiss will taste like the salt that comes from the ocean or the sugar that comes from funerals.

I have used the last line as a title before. I have also taken Kathy Fish’s advice and used a cut line as a title.

For some reason, I am drawn to the use of salt in a story.

NG’s chapter is about the idea of slow walking: feeling the bottoms of your feet connect to the ground to anchor yourself to the world. I like anchors for a story. If you followed. my posts during May you would know that I included anchors for most of the stories I wrote for storyaday. If I keep certain things in mind, especially a list, then I will not veer off into a weird direction.

Slow walking is a piece of her in person retreats.

Her last line: It’s good to do ridiculous things. Please, not on a highway.

The memoir flash pieces are interesting. One is centered around a school building that isn’t there anymore and alumni write an obituary for it. This made me think about how to incorporate an obituary of an unusual object into a story.

The essay titled HOPE has a pattern of one sentence paragraphs. She toggles between three generations and ages and their hopes.

When my grandmother was ________________ she hoped ___________________.

I like this repeating pattern and plan to play with it. I am sure that a new piece could emerge. I cannot think of a piece I already have right now that it would benefit to use as a revision tool.

I am working under the idea that good words in with the challenge means good words out when I write.

Kathy Fish also is hosting her reunion this weekend so I am thrilled to have new prompts from her. Kathy has a great newsletter and she is working on a book which I will preorder as soon as I am able!

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general!

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Let’s have a conversation!

###There are a few more days to sign up for my Fabulous Flash Fiction Class! Join us for a generative class with a casual atmosphere of community and writing! Registration details here.

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 4

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive.

I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

June 4- Day 4

Poem: In Praise of Dreams by Soto

Essay: I am rereading the book The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg. Meditation (Sitting) Chapter also

And Not a Novel A Memoir in Pieces Jenny Erpenbeck : Pressure Cooker

Short Story: Escapism:  https://www.matchbooklitmag.com/margariti

Reflections:

In the essay/chapter NG writes about the darkness, that moment when you try to understand something, and we don’t have an answer. Her illustration is about a joke that was told to her.

This place of darkness, unknown, the place where there is nothing to hold onto is the “goal” of sitting she says. Your breath is your anchor. She also uses the phrase “allow it to be” which sparkles for me off the page. She is referring to allow things she doesn’t like (her neighbor’s barking dogs) so that she may have peace with something she cannot control.

The Pressure Cooker essay is a memoir piece. This book it is from [link above] is a collection of flash memoir pieces. It has started out in East Germany which I have family ties to so that is of interest to me anyway.

The story ESCAPISM ILLUSTRATES the idea that flash is about one moment. One subtle shift or reflection. There is a repeated element of the name, Harriet Houdini repeated at the beginning of almost every paragraph. Sometimes repreated elements take me out of a story.

Today the readings bring the idea of repeated elements in stories to me. It also makes me think about what I choose to allow. Sometimes I have to sit with the idea of the unknown in a story. What I mean is, I dont know what is oging to happen yet. It is a space if I allow will come to me. Sometimes it is in the shower, sometimes on a run or just a random time.

I also will read aloud my drafts today to hear how it sounds after I read the flash aloud right before it.

I am working under the idea that good words in with the challenge means good words out when I write.

Kathy Fish also is hosting her reunion this weekend so I am thrilled to have new prompts from her. Kathy has a great newsletter and she is working on a book which I will preorder as soon as I am able!

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general! Feel free to leave a comment or question.

Bradbury Revision Challenge Day 3

Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive.

I will share my reflections along the way.

I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.

June 3 – Day 3

Poem: Cure for It All

Essay: I am rereading the book The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg. Why Silence? chapter today.

Short Story: The Witch Who Walked the Shore

Reflections:

The poem was one I learned about when Sarah Selecky shared it at a Centered Community monthly call. It couples nicely with the silence chapter in the Goldberg book. I have trouble with silence personally. I always feel I should be inputting something but I am working on it.

A line I love from this poem is:

Breathe
until you stop needing
anything
to be different.

I also center on the word ALLOW in the poem.

Yesterday I wrote in silence and just noticed the wave of the air conditioner. It was a lovely feeling.

Silence is a subtext. I enjoy silence sometimes but love input more. It is another perspective. NG proposes a silent experiment – to go through your day in silence. Nodding when you to but not speaking. I find this idea intriguing. I do believe communication has a high percentage of nonverbal cues.

I have to ask myself the question: what is my relationship to silence?

There is a lot of punishment feelings around silence – the silent treatment or being ignored to be hurtful.

NG’s beautiful last line of this essay: “Silence can be the door to listening, which is one of the great cornerstones to writing – and also to eventual peace and reconciliation within you and in this world.”

Listening is important to writing – to develop characters and to listen to reader’s feedback. I always like to know how a piece of writing lands for a reader. It helps me bridge the gap between what I intended to say and what is received.

I believe I am going to use NG’s influence for my last lines of pieces. I have an interesting story I am working on today about food and an unusually eating plan formulated from my main character.

The story is the winner of the Janus Literacy contest. It is a heartbreaking story about the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we love in the name of protection and how many times it comes back to bite us anyway.

Today the readings bring the idea of large ideas that are conveyed in short amounts of text.

I am working under the idea that good words in with the challenge means good words out when I write.

I would love to know your thoughts about these pieces or writing in general! Feel free to leave a comment or question.

What’s On Your Plate?

What’s on Your Plate?

What: A Virtual Dinner Party.
Where: Deb’s Blog, The Widow Badass.
How: Share a breakfast, lunch, appetizer, dessert or dinner idea.
Why: Spread inspiration and shake up our meal routines.
When: The first Wednesday of every month (beginning April 7).

Thank you to my friend Antoinette over at Stories Served Around the Table for joining in and letting me know!

The goal is to spread meal inspiration and share dishes that we have recently enjoyed. Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, dining in, dining out…all ideas are welcome!

Here are the preferences:

1) an open, anything goes theme,
2) photos of the final dish/es,
3) links to the printable recipe.

Last night for dinner my husband made me chicken and mushrooms. It was divine. I fast and have committed to one meal a day. This works for me and my body type. As long as I eat good food I am not hungry and I do not feel bloated.

I naturally gravitated to this way of eating when I was a hardcore runner, I just didn’t know it had a name.

I prefer to think of it as a delay, not deny approach to eating.

I am also back to running which seems to be the only way that my body will drop these last extra pounds.

There is nothing like fasting to make your food taste better! The chicken was perfectly cooked as were the mushrooms. There was just enough brown gravy. I have been staying away from as many carbs so my side was my green drink. A concoction made with broccoli, strawberries and blueberries. It is cold and delicious and was a nice treat after my warm afternoon run!

This is not the exact recipe but one similar.

What was on your plate?