One of the writing resources I use is Language is A Virus. Here there is a list of 66 writing experiments. I used the idea of English to English translation to work on craft yesterday.
According to the site:
Homolinguistic translation: Take a poem (someone else’s, then your own) and translate it “English to English” by substituting word for word, phrase for phrase, line for line, or “free” translation as response to each phrase or sentence. Or translate the poem into another literary style or a different diction, for example into a slang or vernacular. Do several different types of homolinguistic translation of a single source poem. (Cf.Six Fillious by bp nichol, Steve McCaffery, Robert Fillious, George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Dieter Roth, which also included translation of the poem to French and German.) Chaining: try this with a group, sending the poem on for “translation” from person to another until you get back to the first author.
I used the poem, “The Imaginal Stage” by D.A. Powell.
This is what I ended up with after utilizing a thesaurus and them rewriting for more cohesion.
Inventive Theater by T.L. Breitweiser
On the plane where we change
I move away into a view of abundant worlds.
Rather than suns,
Abundant corners are fancy to scorch.
Do not settle
An ending opportunity
When instantly they indeed appear
To settle with the mundane.
Quiver and alter
The remains of my mind
The end game is we combust
Apt to escalate at dawn
When I share my feathers.
This was an interesting exercise and more difficult than I first imagined. I would like to try it with students. I would only give students one stanza as it can be frustrating to find words that fit.
My FOREST timer was set today for 5 minutes and I wrote: INSPIRE
This is a word that comes up for me a lot. I know to pay attention.
I have been called an Accidental Inspire-er – I am not really sure that is a word really – or even a thing.
I am not inspired by sound today. It overwhelms my ears and my brain.
Today is Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Day – I hope to inspire at least one teacher with my post.
I was inspired by feedback from one of my critique group partners today.
I want to inspire students to be creative. I hope to do that through Genius Hour. I want to inspire kids to read and write. I do that through Writer Workshop.
I have to start a fire
Let it burn
Hot and Bright
Teach tools so there is management and the fire doesn’t get out of control.
Don’t let the marshmallows burn!
Do you know author Jason Reynolds? Not only is he an amazing writer, but an inspirational speaker as well. If you have not listened to his commencement speech for Lesley University, take 10 minutes out of your day and click play.
If you only have a couple minutes start at 7:20. This timestamp is where Jason talks about how some of us cannot fly and change the world because our wings have been clipped. He talks about how instead of flying high above everyone beyond the common understanding, to look around and Share Your Feathers so everyone is lifted up to a new consciousness.
I am grateful to the teachers I was surrounded with at the end of July who were totally absorbed in this speech. Not only did we listen and watch the video but we had the text in front of us and used it as a reference to write a response in various forms. There are parts of this speech that are heartbreaking and that will stay with you.
For my writing that day, I wrote a poem that I was able to share with a partner as a read aloud. I am still revising it. I wrote it to be so specific for that day’s activities so it wouldn’t make much sense to anyone that didn’t attend the meeting right now!
Who can you share your feathers with today?
I am continuing the logging of some of my funny stories from my teaching career and am sharing one for Two Writing Teachers Blog Slice of Life.
Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. Every teacher has funny stories of situations with students and I have decided to write some of them down.
Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!
Poem in Your Pocket…Literally
I love poetry. I love writing poetry. I love teaching poetry. I love reading and displaying the poetry my students write.
When I was a reading specialist I introduced Poem In Your Pocket Day. I use poems with reluctant readers because they are fun and because they seem to be less intimidating to students. We use them for reading and writing.
I was lucky in this particular job at the elementary level to push in to do full classroom writing lessons but also have small groups.
My classroom was right by the front doors and the office, but also right across from the bathrooms. I learned early that it was important to have reading materials outside my door and in the hallway so students could read while they were waiting in line for their turn to use the facilities.
I was standing in the hallway having a brief conference with a 5th grade teacher and her students were lined up. I noticed one boy kept patting his jeans pocket. It was that movement we have when we have something important in our pocket that we do not want to lose. We keep checking to make sure it hasn’t magically disappeared without our knowledge.
I asked him what he had in his pocket. I was intrigued. He looked at me shyly and said, “My poem”.
This was a student that was a little on the harder side. He was very guarded and would be likely to have a weapon in his pocket rather than a poem.
The look of surprise was evident in my face and he continued.
“You talked to us about poem in your pocket day so I thought I should put my own poem I am working on should be in my pocket then I always have it with me.”
I smiled at him with tears in my eyes. “I love it,” I told him.
He smiled and patted his pocket again.
I saw him several times during the day and every time he would smile at me like we shared a secret and pat his pocket to let me know his poem was still there. He extended poem in your pocket day for at least a week.
5 Things I am Reading This Week: + a Bonus!
2. Short Story: “Edgemont Drive” by E.L. Doctorow
3. Poem: “At the Airport-Security Checkpoint” by Claudia Rankine
4. Short Story: “Instructions” by: Neil Gaiman
5. Poem: “Gloves” by Kaveh Akbar
I am reading this writing book but am going slowly and doing the exercises within it:
I attended a new writer’s group last night. There were 13 people attending and I was the only newbie. The group is well established with a 30 year history.
Introductions were made around the table and 6 people read their pieces of writing. The author reads their piece aloud and the rest of us follow along with a copy provided by the author. Sign ups are provided ahead of time through email.
There were a variety of readings. One woman read Chapter 4 of her novel, one woman read a poem about texting, one essay about a sale and snowmobile ride (quite funny), one essay on holding hands, a short story about a bazooka bubble gum knife, and an essay about fishing.
There was some light critique, some more well received than others. Copies are written on then passed back to the author. I figured this part of the process out after the 4th reading!
One author specifically asked for us listen for a particular craft aspect before he read which I appreciated. I always find it easier to give feedback when given a direction.
Overall it was nice. The meeting lasted 2 hours and is held in meeting rooms at the county library. It is impressive that a group that has been around for 30 years still has several of the founding members attending.
It was refreshing to hear other people read their work. With it being my first time, I just listened. There was some side conversation with the 3 ladies sitting by me which was pleasant.
Everyone talked about their writing as something they are really compelled to do whether paid or not. Several writers expressed their difficulty in finishing projects.I do believe it is the right group for me and I will be attending the next meeting. I have to pick something carefully for the first reading because my stories tend to be dark or strange, and I do not want to concern anyone. They need to get to know me a bit first.
As I was thinking about this new group I was reflecting on the writers group experiences I have had in the past. Most of my writer contact is online now. These other groups were not purely writing groups so in my mind I put them in a slightly different category than the one I attended last night.
More than 15 years ago I took a journaling class that was held at an independent bookstore I frequented. The group clicked so well we continued to meet after the official class was over. The leader of the group graciously opened her home and we meet for many years after that initial meeting. We met through births, sickness, the bookstore closing, and changes of jobs. The form of writing was informal so there wasn’t any critique. The food was always fantastic! Christmas time there was the best blank journal exchange you have ever seen!
I still talk to the leader of the group although the calls and texts span between larger and larger blocks of time. We even co-taught a journal writing class for young girls at the United Way. The leader and I attended a few writing events over the years but none of them ever felt right for us individually or as a pair.
I also was invited to join a writing event sponsored through a writing group 5 years ago. There were sessions on a Saturday morning. I met my friend Jane and started to meet with her Book Club but we didn’t talk about writing so much after that first event. We were both gravitated toward each other during the potluck after the sessions were over. We both liked what the other said when we intro-ed ourselves in the first session. She is a smart woman and always interesting to talk to, especially about books.
I hope this new group has the longevity of the other groups I have been honored to be a part of. I feel like it was the right time for me to find them. I will keep you all posted!
Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day!
I am carrying around Mary Oliver’s Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
By Mary Oliver
(Why I Wake Early, 2004)
What are you carrying around today?
DO NOT TOUCH THE WATER
by: Tammy L. Breitweiser
Pixies swirl and twitter
I do not want to remember
Pixies disguised as trolls
Is what they really are.
Do not shatter my dreams
To no one
I have ever known
At the same time
They are precious
Let me hide behind
What is really true
Do not fracture my illusion
I am teased by the
Pixies empty promises
Do not torment me
Leave me be
To my own fantasy
In the trees
One ripple on the lake
Will remind me
Do not touch the water…
DO NOT touch the water.
Written on 12-12-12
For every happy moment there is a tear
For every soup make with love there is bread broken
For every trail run there is a breath for each footfall
For every poem there is a heartfelt emotion
For every dark moment there is light
For every rock there is a story and a plan
For every fear there is hope
For every uncertainty there is a glimmer of fear
For every question there is an answer
For every laugh there is a sigh and belly ache
For every angel there is a devil