Slicer Writing Retreat #sol22 #day26

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. Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

Today I borrowed my format from Leigh Anne! Thank you to her for hosting this retreat this year!

Leigh always hosts a slicer party of some type every March challenge. In the past it has been a favorite things party which is always fun. This year, she is hosting a writing retreat. We are to share what we would bring to our own writer retreat.

So, I am imagining myself in close proximity to some other writers tucked away in our own cabins. Maybe there is a forest and beautiful flowers and perfect temperatures. It is always nice to get sit around and chat with other writers at some point in the day to talk about process, what ideas we are wrestling with, and works in progress.

Here’s what I would bring.

Writing tools – I always need my notebook and a variety of pens. I have been using one of three pens, whichever strikes my fancy that day, a purple extra fine precise V5 rt, an OBE WISEUS Retractable 0.38mm Ultra Fine Point Pen or a Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen with various colored inks. I also need to have my laptop for drafting and revising. There are some pieces that lend themselves to typing rather than handwriting.

Collage supplies – I have been dabbling with some collage lately and want to use some of the visuals to do some drafting. So I will bring my bag with all my magazine and paper supplies plus some adhesive. I have been creating the collages in an old cookbook so I don’t have to chase them down later. I like the texture and the feel of the pages from the glue and layers of paper.

Poems – Poems are incredibly inspiring to me so I would take several of my poetry books. When I was getting ready to pack I would just pull the ones off the shelves that love in that moment.

Food/beverage – To sustain my writing time I need coffee, coffee, and coffee. Did I mention coffee? I also need water and some wine for the evenings. Food has been fairly simple for me lately so some rice or simple sandwiches will do. I also tend to like some sort of crunchy snack with my evening beverage.

Fire – I love to write and read in front of a fire. It can be inside if the temperatures are cool [which they are today where I am…there is even some snow which I don’t mind at the moment.] I can be outside in a fire pit as well. There is something about fire that inspires me.

Animals – When I walk I love to visit the animals. At home, it is horses and red winged black birds. But at the retreat space a good literary cat is a welcome visitor!

Movement – I am inspired by walks if the weather cooperates! If it is rainy outside [also good for writing] then I am content to just get up every hour to refill my coffee or water for my movement break!

Natural Silence – I do not like to write with music. Being out in the woods would be lovely to just listen to the natural sounds and silence that comes with the area. I love the sound of a fire. At home, I use Youtube for the white noise of a fire. In real life, you get the smell too!

Quote – This is actually a hostess gift!

Neil Gaiman: “Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.

Dr. Maya Angelou  “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

also from her, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” 

These are three quotes I come back to over and over.

What would your writer retreat look like?

Currently…#DAY14 #sol22

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I then make comments on at least three other blogs. For the month of March I will be blogging and commenting daily.

The weather: Today it is supposed to be 57 degrees.

What I am thinking about: Today I have many meetings, some more important than others, but I feel off. Super tired but also drained. I woke up with pain in my right arm too.

I was reminded this morning it is Pi Day! I usually plan something, even though I am a reading person, but it slipped my mind this year.

It is frustrating when I am given a responsibility and then I am not granted all the permissions to do the job. Another coach and I wasted an hour and was on the phone with the state because something wasn’t clicked at the district level. UGH!

If you want me to play the game, you have to give me all the pieces!

What I’m thankful for: My job, writing, friends, time with special people, loose ends getting tied up

What I am reading: Gallant by VE Schawab

Around the house: I moved my desk into the sunny living room, but did not sit at it yet.

From the kitchen: There is not much happening in the kitchen lately. I was gifted a lovely bottle of Winter White wine that you can drink warmed or cool and it is fantastic. Food has been pretty simple lately. A lot of eggs and avocados…

Favorite quote:

I had the honor of hearing Maya Angelou speak many years ago at an ASCD conference in Chicago. It was the most amazing experience at a conference I ever had with a speaker. There must have been 5000 people in the room and when she spoke, you felt like she was talking just to you. When she came out on stage the room was silent. She had us laughing and crying and she filled us up in a way that still exists within me today.

What I’m watching/listening to: Gilmore Girls and podcasts: The Slowdown, Craft Talks, The New Yorker Writer’s Voice, Cult of Pedagogy, and The Tarot Diagnosis.

Fav photo of the week:

The sun had melted the snow and it lined up with the wall on the left. It was really weird to see!

Random thought:

I need to get better at returning library books….

5,4,3,2,1 #sol22 #day12

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. Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

Today I borrowed my format from Multifaceted Musings.

5 THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE
Kerouac’s 30 Rules for Writing

Podcasts

A friend’s unexpected analogies

Comments on my writing (Blog and Centered writing community)

Students reading with me

4 WORDS TO DESCRIBE MY WEEK
Scheduled
Hopeful
Active
Dragging

3 PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND
4am Flash Fiction Writing Class from Smokelong
Writing and reading
Running

2 THINGS I LEARNED THIS WEEK
Trust my intuition
Being social once in a while will not kill me

1 GOAL FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Get my passport photos taken

Tired, But Thankful Friday #sol22 #day11

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. Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

Today I am tired. I always forget how exhausting it is to be gone from home in the middle of the week. I also had terrible dreams and was too warm so that never helps matters.

I was greeted with light snow when I came home which makes me smile. It was quite cold on my run.

Right now I am choosing to focus on the bright spots:

I am thankful I get to wear jeans today.

I am thankful my new coffee mug recommended by a writer friend is keeping my drink HOT this morning.

I am thankful it is Friday and there is no work tomorrow.

I am thankful I have a writing class tomorrow morning.

I am thankful I get to run after work today and tomorrow morning.

I am thankful for my job.

What are you thankful for today?

Change of Scenery #sol22 #day10

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. Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

Today I woke up in a hotel because I have an all day meeting for work. I have not traveled for business for years. I drove straight here from school. I used to travel extensively for another position so it is something I have accustomed to.

Everything went fairly smoothly driving here directly after work. I dropped my things off in the room after check in and decided to go for a walk to see where everything was. My plan was to sit in the hot tub at some point last evening but the time got away from me. This hotel is huge partly because it has an indoor water park in it so I got quite a walk in.

Two co-workers got here a bit later than they anticipated and then we went to dinner together. I started at my building only this year so I do not know many of my co-workers well. It is always a different type of conversation when you are off campus. When you are staying overnight somewhere for a meeting there is also a different vibe than just going out to lunch on a staff work or professional development day.

It was nice to get away for a change of scenery. It was nice to socialize in a different context than usual. I will admit I am not looking forward to the all day meeting. It is heavy stuff and there is not always agreement on the team about what direction we should be moving. BUT the food they provide all day is amazing so that is a bonus!

I brought my writing and morning routine supplies so that makes it feel good. Temperature control in a hotel room is always precarious. I like my room cold when I sleep and the thermostat must reset itself to a default at midnight or something. There is coffee in the room which is always a plus as well.

My hope is that the change of scenery and getting to know my co-workers in a different context will be a delight for the day!

I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight!

What are you looking forward to today?

What I Used To Be #sol22 #day9

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. Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

I used to be an ultra runner.

I used to run races over the standard 26.2 mile marathon; on purpose, and for fun. Do you want to know the reason? Just to see if I could do it. I ran a 50 mile race that almost broke me, but I did it.

I didn’t start with the ultras of course. I started running because of the Biggest Loser. I gave myself a challenge (those of you who have followed me for any length of time will know I am the challenge queen). I told myself I would run every day for a month. If I hated it at the end, I would stop. It was 4 years before I stopped running every day.

I was obsessed and read everything I could about training. I read about what elite athletes ran and incorporated their technique into mine.

I went from 0 miles to racing a marathon in 10 months. Then I qualified for Boston by 18 minutes. I ran 18 minutes faster than my qualifying time. There are runners that train their entire career and don’t even get close. I ran Boston in 2012 right after my Opa died.

There were smaller races along the way. I figured I was built for distance when my fastest half marathon times were always in the middle of a marathon.

I won a 50K and beat the men too.

And then I stopped running.

There are a lot of reasons why. It wasn’t the 50 miler which would seem logical. One day I woke up and I didn’t want to spend the time training anymore. I wasn’t interested in the times or awards. I certainly was tired of too many people paying attention to my training, my times, what races I was in and what my time was the weekend before. I literally had been running away from lots of things in my life and I wanted to stop.

For the last several years I thought that my running identity was something of the past. Something I couldn’t get back. I wasn’t even sure I wanted it back. I wanted the shape I was in and the strength, but I knew the work that had to be put in in order to get there. A couple of months ago I looked at a running award in my bookcase and thought about how long ago it seemed. I wasn’t even sure that person was inside me anymore.

And then, as suddenly as I decided to stop running, I decided to start again over the weekend. It has been about 7 years since I ran regularly.

I ordered new shoes. I downloaded a past marathon training schedule to follow. I woke up Sunday and ran. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it might.

Yesterday I started to make excuses to a friend about not running because it was too cold and too windy (I really hate running in the wind) and then I stopped myself.

I am a runner ,so I run.

It was cold. It was windy. But I got my miles in because that is what I do. I kept repeating to myself, I am a runner.

This time I am not going to punish myself with the running. I tend to get a bit obsessive. I will not feel guilty if I need to rest.

I want to take all the good things I learned from the past running identity and embody them and chuck the rest.

I will keep you posted.

I invite you to answer the question: What is something you used to do that you might want to revisit?

What is Saving Me Right Now #sol22 #day7

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 Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

One of the blogs I have read for more years than I can count, besides Two Writing Teachers, is the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. A blog about reading and life. Anne Bogel is friends with Tsh Oxenrider who also had a blog and a podcast. Both of these women had this post format on their blogs that I have borrowed for today’s post.

What Is Saving Me Right Now

  1. Walks at lunchtime

I am able to get some movement in each day and a break from my work. I am lucky to have a place to walk that is right across the street from my school.

2. My writing routine

Though everything feels like a mess and topsy turvy for me right now, my writing practice in the morning has remained unchanged. It is an anchor I rely on to keep my sanity. Using the daily prompts from Sarah Selecky has been nourishing. I also have a couple other practices that I rely on each morning in order to feel grounded for the day. My tarot cards help me too. I pull cards and the images bring to mind stories and memories to write about. I use them for themes too. The visual art on some of my decks are stunning and they make me happy. So much of my writing is images – from dreams, tarot, my imagination. It all works together.

3. Sparkle water

I try to drink more water but I do like carbonated water occasionally but without flavoring. This can be harder to find than you would think!

4. The question: Is that true?

At this time, more than normal, I can fall down a rabbit hole of worst case scenarios pretty easily. I have to come back and say, “Is that really true?” Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. It is enough of a reality check for me to not freak myself out.

5. Satisfying sounds

My rings clicking together is a comfort to me.

6. Zoom, Slack, and Telegram

Most of my close friends are not physically close to me. If it weren’t for Zoom and my writing groups I would have lost my mind a long time ago. Slack allows me to communicate with many writer friends. The Telegram app lets me leave audio messages for a few friends and hear their voices back which is a comfort. I guess I could put personal email in this category too.

7. Reminders on my calendar and phone

Right now, if I do not write it down, then I forget. It is getting better as the weeks go on, but I have come to know this task as one that is necessary.

I invite you to answer the question: What is saving you right now?

March Is A Verb #sol22 #day4

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 Every day in March I will blog and post for the Two Writing Teacher challenge.

Today is my son’s 19th birthday. I can hardly believe that number. I am thankful I am spending the whole day with him at his request. We have spent more time together in 2022 and he has made the comment several times that he is more like me than he imagined. I have surprised him in many ways and he has been more verbal about that fact. He is a great kid and I am honored to be his mom.

***

As a writer, I am part of several writing communities. One I am an active participant in is Sarah Selecky’s Centered community. One of the benefits of this space is the monthly Co-writing sessions she hosts. Sarah has also picked themes to go with each month. The theme for March is Commitment.

What have you committed to in March?

For my entire life I have been goal oriented. I have made personal goals and achieved them since I was young. At the end of last month I committed to Nicole Rivera’s writing group for 2 months. I have also committed to participating in the March blog challenge. I committed to getting my booster shot yesterday as well. Although the word booster makes me think of babies! I also committed to launching my Tarot for Writing class which begins this Sunday.

My daily writing practice is established, so I do not consider that a commitment, just part of what I do. I also glean joy from the practice. I do not have to think about writing, or scheduling time to do it. It is as much a part of me as breathing. To me commitments are something new I am trying and reminders are needed.

Another thing Sarah said on the call was that March is a verb. I had never considered that notion before. We are marching towards spring at the end of the month even though weather wise it doesn’t feel like it here in Wisconsin. I am not sure I am ready for this new season honestly. If I think of new plants bursting their first shoots out of the soil, they are tender and fragile. That is how I feel right now.

Life moves forward and I have the TO DO lists to prove it!

I invite you to answer the question: What are you marching towards this month?

A Question of Time #sol22 #day3

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I then make comments on at least three other blogs. For this month, I will be blogging daily for the Two Writing Teacher challenge. I have participated for over 13 years (I think).

This school year has been odd. I know that has been a declaration over the past several years, but there has been so much turmoil at my building this year and personally I find myself wishing time away. That is a dangerous proposition because I do not want to waste time.

As a literacy coach, my day is often changed at the last minute. There is a skeleton schedule but often it is disrupted by students, teachers, weather, emergency meetings, fire drills, lockdowns, etc.

Today I am pondering about where my thoughts land.

Do you think in the past, the present, or the future?

I feel the “right” answer should be the present.

I try not to let the past roll me over but there is something to be said from experience and learning from it.

I try to anticipate for the future so I am not caught off guard but I have learned you cannot plan for everything.

But do I appreciate the moment I am in? I must say, not often.

I think into the future with my practice of drafting several blog posts ahead of time so if I feel stuck I can pull one up and move from there. If I read a post I find intriguing because of the format, then I start one. No writing is ever wasted.

This morning as I type I think about how yesterday it was 50 degrees outside. I walked at lunch time and worked with many children. We had an early release and I went to a district team meeting for 2nd grade.

Today is much colder and it feels like 17 degrees now. I am thinking about what I need to maybe wear today. I have to make calls today, attend meetings, celebrate a birthday with a friend, and write.

Tomorrow I am spending the day with my son for his 19th birthday. I am starting a Tarot for Writing class on Sunday that I am excited for as well.

In teaching there is a lot of future thinking. There is analysis in the moment in order to plan for the next right step for a student, a class, a teacher. It is part of the work but sometimes these thoughts make it seem overwhelming. It can also be a huge energy drain without a satisfactory payoff.

Personally, one reason I am not in the present moment right now is because my grief is heavy. If I linger in a moment for too long I feel my heart shattering even more than it already is and then I cannot control the tears. I have become good at compartmentalizing over the years so I can get into “Teacher/Coach Tammy” mode pretty easily. I can focus on the list and the task at hand professionally. Right now that also drains my energy quickly.

Is there a right answer? I don’t think so but today I will make an effort to be present with the students I am with so they feel seen and loved. I will just do the best I can which is all I can ask of them too.

How would you answer the question: Do you think in the past, the present, or the future?

What I Read Today #sol22 #day2

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I then make comments on at least three other blogs. For this month, I will be blogging daily for the Two Writing Teacher challenge. I have participated for over 13 years (I think).

Happy New Moon to you today!

What I Read Today

I have lost track of the amount of times I have read this book to children. I have also used it for professional development.

The descriptions are lyrical and amazing in this beautiful book. It always fosters discussion about individual places to love. Many children I have taught have written responses and poems with this book as the inspiration.

It is a book about family and how things are connected.

It is about what people find important and heartwarming.

It is about tradition.

Currently, I work with a group of students who are struggling with their Power Words. There are 60 in the first list they need to be able to read as part of the requirements for the level.

LOVE is one of these words.

Before we read the story I asked them to think about it as I read the descriptions and the story.

Today, I had first grade students use the sentence stem I LOVE and then they wrote about a place they loved to be.

They used their skills to stretch and write about their words to finish the sentences.

I usually do a model sentence, but today the students had answers ready.

If I had to finish the sentence it would be: I love my bed.

It is the place I relax and write and occasionally sleep. Lately the sleep has been elusive.

How would you finish the sentence: Where do you love to be?