Root Where You Are Planted #SOL19

Melody Warnick wrote a book called, This Is Where You Belong. She has a great newsletter you should sign up for too!

The book is about loving the place you live in and action steps to help you if you don’t. I currently am struggling with feeling disconnected and not in the right place. I read Melody’s book awhile ago and recently recommended it to someone who was feeling displaced herself which then became a self reflection that I needed my own advice.

I asked some fellow writers how they feel about where they live since I am not really loving where I am currently.

They said:

“I have roots in this place…it is part of me.”

“I love where I live…where I live now is where I feel I am meant to be.”

Another said her family farm makes it feel like it is part of her DNA.

I do not feel this way about where I live even though my town is next the town I grew up in. That might be because I have moved too many times over the past 5 years. Or that I have only been in my house since last September. Or that I still cannot walk around in my house in the dark. Or that there are some memories of the area that torment me. I am glad my friends are rooted in their homes.

I am a woman of action, so I have pulled out Melody’s list to work through this issue and see if I can make a change.

To Become Rooted:

  1. Walk more – this I try to do as much as possible. The kids and I go for walks, we have walked downtown, and I walk and run on the local bike trail. The town does not lend itself to walking anywhere as a destination, at least from the house.
  2. Buy local – this we do. We shop at the stores that are near us. The grocery store closest to us does not have the freshest product so we had to do more of the shopping across town. The local farm markets are opening soon and we will buy veggies from them instead of planting our own garden this year. This is a future endeavor.
  3. Get to Know Neighbors – my husband is better than I am at this. We do know them, and they have helped us out.
  4. Do Fun Stuff – We have gone to the library, the local cafe and the used bookstore. We do need to explore some of the restaurants downtown.
  5. Explore nature – the bike trail..I need to research if there are more parks that I am not aware of.
  6. Volunteer – I have not done this.
  7. Eat local – we like our local pizza place but we have some more exploring to do. Once festivals start we can explore that way too.
  8. Become more political – this one I have more issue with. I am not sure how I feel about it honestly right now.
  9. Create something new – I am always writing but will have to reflect about what this means connected to my town.
  10. Stay local through hard times – it is hard to abandon the town now even though I will admit my husband and I talk about this often. I will have to stop myself.

So I was thinking, does this same list of 10 apply to schools? Can using this same list meant for living in a town provided the same feeling of rooted-ness in a school atmosphere.

  1. I can walk more and interact with teachers in the building especially ones I do not talk to as often.
  2. I can buy from fundraisers and the 8th grade t shirt and spirit wear. It shows a person plans to stay if they buy the clothing with the school name.
  3. I can get to know the people in the classrooms next to my space.
  4. DO FUN STUFF – this we do not do nearly as often as we should. I need to plan some FUN at school.
  5. Explore nature is pretty easy at my school – we have a 100 acre wood and trails!
  6. Volunteer – I need to volunteer more for sporting events next year.
  7. Eat school lunch? Hmmmm, maybe not. Break bread with co workers – much more doable. Maybe I should organize a carry in and then we hit #7 and #4.
  8. Become more political – same as above. I do believe this causes more problems than solves…
  9. I created Workshop Wednesday, Short Story Club, and Genius Hour.
  10. Stay when times get tough. No explanation needed here – it applies.

How do you feel about this list? Do you have other ideas for feeling part of your town or school?

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Stay #SOL19

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It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers with a weekly Slice of Life Story.

Today’s Emily P. Freeman word is STAY.

STAY today refers to being in the present moment. You can only be in one place at a time. I suppose this is mostly true. As a writer, I am physically only in one place at a time, but mentally I am usually somewhere else. This is sometimes in one of my own story creations. Sometimes I am in a memory mining it for details that will add panache to the story I am working on.

When I am reading I am in the character’s head feeling and thinking what they are, often trying to anticipate their next move. Or I am trying to figure out the craft moves the writer made to have me feel the way I do about a character, setting, or story line so I can use it later.

I find it difficult to be in the moment. I am working on it. I know I should do one thing at a time but there is so much to learn. Everyone I meet has something I don’t know.

I have been tired lately. More tired than I should be. Last night I watched the movie The Professor and the Madman which my husband and I had been looking forward to. It did not disappoint. It is the story of how the Oxford dictionary came to be. It took extraordinary dedication and focus to have this book come to fruition. 70 years from the first conception in fact. Dr. Minor was meticulous in his mad state about the history and definition of words. He was in the moment for sure – for long stretches of time. I kept thinking of how much energy was put into this project and how many obstacles everyone had to overcome.

I am trying to find the right ratio of input vs output without driving myself mad. I love input of all sorts – deep conversation, reading, podcasts, etc. Outputs are likely interactions and writing lately. I know I have not found the right ratio when I am angry or overly tired.

Reflection and slowing down are both critical attributes for this process. I am glad that today I can breathe and think about it.

A Good Writing Day! #SOL19

I participate in the TWOWRITINGTEACHERS.ORG Slice of Life Challenge every Tuesday.

I started the day writing my stories for Camp NaNoWriMo. I am using a plot structure for at least one of the stories and started to flesh it out around the framework I already created. It is going ok but I do not find it as exciting as my normal writing I must admit. I have two other structures I am going to play with as well for this series of stories.

I read my poem, essay, and short story for the day. The short story I listened to from the New Yorker Fiction podcast which was interesting. I liked the commentary afterwards.

I met my writing friend at a local restaurant and we wrote together. I brought a prompt and she brought a prompt. It was great fun and then we talked about what we wrote. It was surprsing what I came up with and it was fulfilling. I have a seed for another short story now.

I had my online group monthly Zoom call. There really wasn’t much talking about writing. We did some sprints. I had already written a lot so I cut out early.

What kind of writing day did you have?

Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 24

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 but I can make you iced coffee if you prefer. Even though it is warmer it doesn’t stop me from drinking several hot cups. I think I will bring us glasses of ice water just for variety.


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 commenting on at least 3 posts. I have read some inspirational posts this week. I am going to miss this challenge when it is over.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you there was lots of testing this week at school. We have a district program called IREADY that requires a diagnostic 3 times a year. We are taking the end of year test a little early in preparation for the state test. There have been some incentives put in place for our 7th and 8th graders and they did much better this time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote everyday. I also started work on a coaching workshop that I hope to teach within the next year. I want to make it as interactive as possible – no PowerPoint! The other writing I did was reflective. I also worked on a few stories.

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 to continue my Bradbury Trio program. I was just recording them in my notebook but now started a Google Folder to log some links. I finished one notebook and started a new one so now the lists are separated!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you our team consultant visited on Wednesday. He is always interesting to talk to. He talked about paying attention to students who are always doing the right thing. Some of the things he said caused me to write 3 notes to students thanking them for various behaviors. One student is a fantastic writer and I am always honored she shares her stories with me. Another student went up 26 points on his diagnostic test which is about 2 grade levels. A third student is always kind and smiling. She is uplifting to everyone around her. I also write a couple thank you notes to teachers. Thank you notes have power!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the students I gave the envelopes to at first didn’t know what to do with them. In this digital age paper is not common. They weren’t sure if they should open them or not! The looks on their faces were cute and surprised.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am enjoying the 10 day writing challenge. The prompts are interesting and different. The game name from the Day 1 prompt I liked so well that I am using part of it for my writer bio.

If we were having coffee I would admit to you I did not go to my in real life writing group this week. I was tired and the drive seemed too long to go. I had not prepared a story to share. There is a celebration event I will be going to next month. My online group was not as active this week on the Slack channel. There seems to be a lot going on with them swirling around spring break and college admissions and other life stuff. I have missed the conversations.

If we were having coffee I would tell you yesterday was spent outside. We went to the park and I went for another run. It was 50 degrees and sunny all day! Today will be an inside day with cooler temps and thunderstorms in the forecast. Today is about being low key, reading, and writing!

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?

Happy Weekend!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

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

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

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

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

#SOL19 Memory Lane + Survey

I blog every Tuesday and link with other teacher writers at Two Writing Teachers.org. In March, they host a daily blogging and comment challenge. Come over to the blog and sign up to join in the fun this year!

Saturday was a trip down memory lane for me when I returned to the town where I started my teaching career.

I remembered the days I met my students at the park and we went sledding.

I remembered the Sundays I went to the library to get books for our class for the week and students started showing up when I was there.

I remembered the festivals downtown where I would hear my name shouted.

I remembered all the training I received at this corporation. I am still using most of what I learned there in my teaching life.

I remembered the teacher field trips we took to Brown County basically to eat pie and the line dancing class we took where I couldn’t keep up and just laughed the whole time.

I remembered the trips to Treasure Mart with Stephanie my friend and art teacher as we scoured for items to experiment with in our crafty states!

The town looked different and familiar at the same as 10 years of absence will do to perception.

One place I was looking forward to was lunch at Mike’s Pizza. My mouth was watering thinking about eating the Italian Beef Sandwiches and breadsticks. Sadly, they had closed at the beginning of the month.

What are you remembering today?

In order to serve my readers better please take a moment and take this brief survey and tell me your thoughts!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Survey

Where Do I Live? #SOL19

Where we live says something about us. When we ask this question it gives us insight into the person that is answering. There is a lot to talk about surrounding the answer and variations of this question.

This question was asked of me various ways last Saturday when I attended my writer retreat at a local Buddhist retreat and meditation center. I have lived in so many different places over the last couple of years I always hesitate before answering. I do not feel that the town I am currently living in reflects who I am. Which in many respects is silly. We did move here based on county affiliation and closeness to my work. I am in a temporary place and I know it. It is like we are stationed in this house and waiting for the next deployment and the emotions around this idea are complicated for me. So when I answered the question when asked by the wonderful people I was meeting, it sounded wrong when I said the name of my town in response. No one was judging one way or another but I felt like I needed to explain something that I could not quite place. I wondered if it sounded inauthentic when I spoke it. I felt the need to share the town I worked in too even though it wasn’t asked.

When one of my friends asked me how I was settling in a couple weeks after we moved to this house I answered, “I cannot walk around in the dark yet.” I still cannot most nights. It has been 5 months.

I positively frame the situation and am grateful for having a house to live in. We have a great backyard that we will enjoy in the spring. We will plant flowers and veggies to enjoy this spring and summer too. Everyone has space here and my car is warm in the winter because we have a garage.

In this town, there is a delightful coffee shop and a used bookstore that I will frequent as time passes. There are new restaurants to try that are not chains.

I grew up in Northwest Indiana and left to live in Central Indiana after high school. I came back to the north after my Oma died. I knew if I didn’t leave the state after college graduation I would stay here. I plan to change that status in a couple of years.

I have been asked when I moved from New York to live in Indiana. I have been told I don’t quite fit where I am.

Here is what I love about where I live – it is where I am. It is where my husband and four children are and that is what is important. (My books and writing are here too – also important!) The memories we have made in this area are important.

The physical space has come to not matter so much to me. I live inside my head a lot of time and circumstances have taught me to learn that many things I thought that were unshakeable are temporary. This is how life works and how I learn so I am not sad about it. I hope this post has not left you melancholy.

My inquiry to you is:

Where do you live?

What do you love about it?

Every Tuesday I write and comment at TWOWRITINGTEACHERS.ORG. Come and read other people’s slices of life and comment when one strikes you. This post was also inspired by the 10 Things to Tell You Podcast.

Melody writes about being where you are. You can find her site here: http://melodywarnick.com/?ct=t%28EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2_11_2019_13_6%29&mc_cid=ef5ebb0f05&mc_eid=c5a7f71a7b

10 Things to Tell You

Every Tuesday (And every day in March!!!!) I blog and share it with teacher-writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog.

My Slice of Life today is inspired by the new podcast of the same title of the post. To listen you can find it here.

Image result for 10 things to tell you podcast
  1. Accept is my word today for today’s #Write28days. I need to accept some truths. I am contemplating and planning these GATHERINGS and I need to find the WHY. I think I have realized some truth after some journaling yesterday. One truth is I am an introvert so I need to carefully plan the execution of these events to not exhaust myself.
  2. I am super excited for my critique group video call this evening with Katherine and Marta. I am so honored to be writing friends with these ladies. I value their feedback and thoughts and they never steer me wrong.
  3. Storyaday.org’s Julie Duffy hosted a free writer Zoom call last night where 16 of us got together and wrote. It was wonderful to do 3 sprints together and I crafted a new short story! It took a surprising twist and direction. It is always fulfilling to talk story with other writers.
  4. The topic for the above podcast today is “Are you Lonely?” I love solitude but there are times I feel disconnected from people. On my commute this morning, I was thinking about being disconnected which is why I think I am pursuing the GATHERINGS idea. I want to have time to connect to other creatives for everyone’s creative well to be filled.
  5. Several years ago my life blew up and I was lonely because I was thrust into a situation where I knew NO ONE who had gone through the same thing. There was one person that had a small connection and I was rejected. Luckily, I found a group that supported me. I am forever grateful for this organization and they helped me from going into a spiral that would have not been recoverable.
  6. The #teachwrite Twitter chat was last night and super fun! The questions were amazing. I love that a teacher is part of this group that works in the corporation I used to. Seeing her name pop up in my feed makes me feel closer to teacher-writers locally! There is a chat every month – If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. (I will put the questions at the end of this post.)
  7. I have a literacy/coach meeting this afternoon with a consultant I adore listening to and working with. I am looking forward to the word for are going to do today!
  8. This is a wonderful site to follow. There are daily writing tips, great words, great quotes and a prompt. https://writerswrite.co.za/
  9. Another person to follow is Nancy Stohlman. She is an amazing flash fiction author, editor, and overall fantastic person. Find her here: https://nancystohlman.com/
  10. Connection for students is important and creating a feeling of belonging. I once named a remediation group “Writing Club” because I wanted them to come and I wanted them to enjoy the writing not get down on themselves for being selected for writing remediation. I wanted to instill an abundance mindset. Everyone wants to be part of a club especially one that you have a special invitation to!

What do you want to tell me today?

Happy Writing!