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Showing posts from March, 2012

SOLS #31!!! A Mudder's Love

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I can't believe it is the last day of this challenge.  This has gone way better than my exercise plans.  Thank you so much to Stacey and Ruth , Two Writing Teachers , for bringing together this community.  My hope was to establish a writing habit, but more than that I have learned so much from all the participants.  I've learned the world is full of stories, we just have to slow down long enough to capture them.   What's next?  My plan is to continue to write on Tuesdays by participating in the weekly Slice of Life .  For the month of April I'm going to join Mary Lee Hahn and write a poem a day.  Why not.    "Fill your paper with breathings of your heart,"   William Wordsworth .   It doesn’t seem long ago we dropped our oldest daughter off for college.  Cortney has always had an interest in reading.  Actually to say she has an interest would be a huge understatement.  She is definitely #nerdybookclub material.  When she was a kid I remember sit

SOLS #30: The Best Things in Life Start with CH

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Wow, are we really on day 30?  Hard to believe.   Some days it's just about being persistent.  "What I try to do is write.  I may write for two weeks, 'the cat sat on a mat, that is that, not a rat.'  And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff.  But I try.  When I'm writing, I write.  And then it's as if the muse is convinced I am serious and says, 'Okay, Okay, I'll come.'"  Maya Angelou   (More quotes about writer's block here.) I have a lot of work to do to convince the muse I am serious.  Here's today's attempt.   My own children make fun of me for my first grade sense of humor.  Apparently, my jokes are't really as funny as I think they are.  It occurred to me that my children may be right.  Perhaps I have been living in a first grade world too long.  As I was sitting at Chipotle for lunch I started to think about how much I love Chipotle.  As I sat there and thought about it I began to realize that the be

SOLS #29 Gifts for Mom

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I found this quote by Drew Lamm on Ralph Fletcher's website , "I get my ideas from living my life wide-eyed and awake.  I sit on the edge of chairs.  I pay attention wherever I am."  That's really the hard part ---- pausing enough to pay attention.  Then, in my case, remembering to write it down quickly before it slips away. I have noticed many of the writers in this challenge using dialogue to tell their stories.  I always enjoy those stories as I feel like I'm right there with the author.  I thought I'd give it a try in this slice from the other day.  I placed my purchases on the small counter.  I'd been shopping for awhile and, after some deliberation, had settled on a gift.  The woman glanced at me and smiled as she arranged the items to ring them up.  "May I have two gift receipts," I inquired, a little proud of myself for remembering before she finished my order.  "This is a gift for my mom and I want her to be able to return it

SOLS #28 Free Stuff

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" You can't say, I won't write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, then… you are not a writer anymore, just someone who dreams about being a writer."    Dorothy C. Fontana    Well, I thought posting during spring break would be easier.  After all, I'm constantly out and about with plenty of possibilities for writing.  However, it's actually a bit tougher than I anticipated.  Carving time for writing in the middle of fun is a bit of a challenge.   My family just loves free stuff.  My grandfather used to joke the best way to get everyone together was to offer a free meal.  Of course, who could resist a meal cooked by grandma?  My dad is a champion at managing free coffee at Starbucks.  I'm not sure how he does it really.  It seems they are always waiting on a new pot to brew when he arrives.  I myself just managed a free oil change at my service station.  Free makes everything more enjoyable. A few years

SOLS #27: The Country Music Highway

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Today I traveled the Country Music Highway as I headed south for spring break.  For me, the Country Music Highway provides a little entertainment.  Though I'm usually a Top 40 gal, I crank the country music all the way down the Country Music Highway.  Singing at the top of my lungs passes the time as I try to match the music on my iPod to the singer at that part of the highway. So, I thought I'd use the "spine poetry" idea for country music (hopefully you've seen the poems written by arranging the titles on book spines to make a poem). I decided to take the titles and turn them into a traveling poem.  Let's just say the first country music poem I wrote wasn't appropriate for the internet.  ;o)  Here it is.  I wanted to put the name of the singer/group beside the title to give them credit. Travelin' the Country Music Highway Little Goodbyes (SHeDAISY) Ready to Run (Dixie Chicks) Nothin' But the Taillights (Clint Black) Halfway Down (Pa

SOLS #26: Are You In?

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"Blogging is using a new medium for what it is good for - connecting and interacting."  George Siemens This morning I awoke and started to read through some of the early slices.  It's spring break after all, so I'm in SOLSC heaven.  I was a bit shocked when I got to  Kathleen Gillis 's post about blogging,  What Is the Sound of One Blogger Blogging? .  Kathleen is wrestling with life after this challenge.  Honestly, I felt a little sad.  I hadn't really thought about what might happen to some of the blogs I've been enjoying  AFTER  this challenge.  I just assumed they'd always be there.  So today's post is my reflection on blogging.  Thanks, Kathleen, for the inspiration.   Blogging What brings one to this blogging madness?  I first began blogging a few years ago at Reflect and Refine:  Building a Learning Community .  I suppose it was a combination of conversations with friends and spending time on Twitter that pushed me to begin.  As I

SOLS #25: Pink Awakening

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When I step out of my house each day right now, I see this weeping cherry.  It looks like poetry.  I know there is a poem there, but I cannot find it.  "I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew.  Writing a poem is discovering"   Robert Frost Pink Awakening No matter how  I try, I cannot find  the words to  capture your elegance. Your branches  dance toward the  ground. Blooms cascade, tiny flowers  burst. Small pink  surprises rejoice in the warm air. "I am here,"  you say. I step out my  door And catch my  breath in awe of your  beauty. I pick up my pen to try, but I cannot  illuminate  your majesty.

SOLS #24: Ohio's Great Blue Heron

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When I started this challenge, my original intent was to get back in the habit of writing AND to try some of the types of writing we create in our classroom.  I've been fascinated by literary nonfiction.  I've been wanting to give a piece of literary nonfiction a try.  Tonight I'm collecting interesting facts about herons.  Maybe I can turn this into a piece of literary nonfiction.   Mandy, at Enjoy and Embrace Learning , gave me the final push with her post about manatees.   "Some people criticize nonfiction writers for "appropriating" the techniques and devices of fiction writing. These techniques, except for invention of characters and detail, never belonged to fiction. They belong to storytelling."  Tracy Kidder Visit ODNR  In the last several years I've noticed many more herons in Ohio.  Now it is possible they've been this common all along.  Perhaps I've just started to take note of the bird as it gracefully moves through

SOLS #23 Perception

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                        My first graders made me laugh today as they left school today, sad to be missing a week of learning with their friends.  I'm sure my husband won't experience the same sadness from his eighth graders when spring break arrives.  "In poems we're moved to catch the moment or place inside or outside ourselves where something is different and we know we're about to be led somewhere new."  Susan Goldsmith Woodridge, Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words In addition to the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers, I'm finally joining the Poetry Roundup hosted at A Year of Reading .   *If you're reading this poem from a mobile device turn it sideways.                                                                                         PERCEPTION                                             After a day                                             Of anticipation                                             The bell

SOLS #22: Your 2¢ Worth?

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Being a part of a writing community that learns together from places very much apart is new to me.  However, I have felt such a part of this community as we move from blog to blog - or slice to slice - to learn from one another.  Reading, writing and commenting are all important in our work together.  "The short songs we need now are about to be written by voices we don't yet know.  We will need to be eloquent listeners to invite these songs forth, and share them all around."  Kim Stafford, The Muses Among Us . Your 2¢ Worth So here we are.  Maybe I should say, SO HERE WE ARE!!  Twenty-two days of writing under our belts.  Twenty-two!!  I find it intriguing that today is the 22nd --- two 2s (2-2).  So...I'm going to talk about our 2¢ worth in commenting.  OK, I know I'm pushing it here.  That was probably worse than the segue on the evening news, I know. Writing, for me, has surely had its ups and downs.  Tonight I don't want to talk about the writin

SOLS #21: Picnics

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Everyone should have grandparents to spoil them.  Grandparents always have time to just sit and enjoy our company.  I was lucky to have four amazing grandparents.  They were actually the perfect mix.  It was like I had the best of four worlds growing up. It was obvious my grandma loved her role as grandma.  She'd had grandparents that were near and dear to her heart and she wanted the same for us.  When I was younger we would spend one week each summer with her.  She lived about an hour away so we'd jump in the car with our suitcases packed too excited to sit still.  I'd try to fall asleep as the time went much faster if I could.  I'd wake up and find us in the driveway. There were so many fun things to do at Grandma's.  We would play games day and night.  Old Maid, Kings on the Corners, Thirty One, Aggravation and Spoons were among our favorites.  Grandma would play with us well into the evening.  Games always were full of laughter.  Every night Grandma wou

SOLS #20: Spring's Never-Ending Chorus

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"Now, who knows if any of this is usable material?  There's no way to tell until you've got it all down, and then there might just be one sentence or one character or one theme that you end up using.  But you get it all down.  You just write."   Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird.  That's my plan for today - a spring celebration.  I often wonder why I live in Ohio.  As I travel the United States and see the beautiful mountains, the glorious oceans, the winding rivers, the rolling hills, the blue skies, I wonder why I live in a place where the skies are gray and the land is flat.  I wonder why I live in a place where the cold winters seem to go on forever.  Where, in the long months of winter, temperatures rarely get above freezing and snow has a way of slowing things down. Perhaps on days like today I start to understand.  This evening I came home to sit on my back patio.  It is unseasonably warm for this time of year.  In these days one can visibly see the transi

SOLS #19: My Book Is Calling Me

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In Writing Toward Home , Georgia Heard gives us this advice in trying to establish a habit of writing, "What are the rocks in the currents of your writing life?  What obstacles keep you from writing?  Becoming aware of what is blocking you sometimes leads to a solution."  Tonight the rock in my way is my book which is nearing the end. I try to pull the weeds from my flowerbed They've taken over The warm weather has made them bold They taunt me as they grow in number And dare me to drag them out I should get my gloves and begin,       But my book is calling me. My dishwasher is filled with dishes Needing to be put away The laundry is calling from heaping baskets The floors need to be mopped The house tells me to get busy It has been waiting,       But my book is calling me. I need to sit down To put words upon a page To think about what is worth writing And how exactly it should be said To find enough quiet to begin to make sense,       But my boo

SOLS #18: Who Would've Guessed?

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Ralph Fletcher, in Breathing In Breathing Out, reminds us about a notebook, "It serves as a container to keep together all the seeds you gather until you're ready to plant them."  Today is one of those days I struggled with an idea for writing.  It's been a busy weekend and I haven't had time to spin new ideas around for awhile.  The real challenge in this 31 day event is letting writing go to the world well before it is ready.  It is much better to capture these ideas in a notebook and wait for them to take shape.  Today we were up at 5:30 in the morning.  Yes, it is Sunday.  No, I do not believe in getting up before six in the morning.  It is a personal rule of mine.  Nothing can possibly be more important than sleep.  But I am up this morning before the sun is in the sky packing sandwiches.  Thankfully I quickly got the pot of coffee brewing as I will need it.  The darkness doesn't help to motivate me as I put the finishing touches on packing the coo

SOLS #17: Growing Up Small Town

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"Writing makes me aware of the extraordinary in the ordinary," Donald M. Murray, Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem Small Town You might have heard John Cougar Mellencamp sing, "I was born in a small town.  And I live in a small town.  Probably die in a small town and that's probably where they'll bury me."  Every time I hear that song I feel like it was written for me.  You see, I have lived in my small town since before I can remember.  All of my memories are of this small town. Growing up I remember walking to school from my grandma's house everyday as she lived in the same small town, and returning there each afternoon to hangout until it was time to go home for the evening.  I remember going for ice-cream at the local dairy queen, spending summers swimming at the pool with friends, and riding our bikes around the block for hours everyday.  In our small town you could ride your bike into the local dime store for candy or to the drugstore

SOLS #16: In the Night

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"Just start getting it down," Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird .  Well, here we are past the halfway point.  The hardest thing about this challenge is putting something out into the world every day.  This needs A LOT of work...but I just thought I'd start getting it down.   My alarm went off at six o'clock this morning.  Slowly I put two feet on the floor still tired from reading Slice of Life posts well into the night.  I walk into the foyer with eyes half open.  I first notice a laundry holder resting by the dryer.  "That's strange," I think to myself.  I try to wake up to make sense of the clues. I open the dryer to find my son's clothes inside.  Still half asleep and trying to focus I think back.  I had let the dog in for the night, turned off the lights, and locked up the house before going to sleep.  I was up until after midnight and didn't hear him come into the house, but signs are everywhere. Still trying to put it all together I wand

SOLS #15: Backyard Birdwatching

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"Story allows us to bring order to experience, to find pattern in events, to discover meaning in confusion -- and story allows us to share the order, pattern, meaning.  Through story we remember, understand, instruct, entertain, celebrate."  Donald M. Murray, Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem  (p. 77) "Come sit by the window and watch," my grandma would say after finishing the breakfast dishes.  Grandma never left a job until it was done so dishes were washed, dried, and put away before we'd all gather around the table to birdwatch.  After the work was complete we'd sit down at the kitchen table to gaze out the window into the backyard.  Grandma had an amazing backyard with a rolling hill that was just right for racing, rolling, and playing.  There were three old maples with their carefully shaped branches spaced the exact distance necessary for running bases.  In the center of the yard was a bird bath with neat rows of marigolds planted carefull