SOLSC2014: September Ends


Share a Slice of Life with others at Two Writing Teachers.

How can it be that September ends today. Since August 31, 2014, I have:

-returned to school
-gained a class
-been relieved of teaching at another school(hooray)
-completed eight physical therapy sessions for my shoulder
– followed the exercise protocol for my shoulder
– returned to yard work in small amounts
– submitted poems for publication
-participated in three Google chats with my online group
– spent a day at the Willamette Writers house
-time with oldest grandgirl

It’s been quite a month.
I can hardly believe that October will be here in less than two hours.

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SOLSC2014: How Much Technology Do We Really Need?

IMG_0785More SOLSC at Two Writing Teachers!

Saturday at was at the mall.  I had some time before my haircut so I popped into the store which carries my mobile phone service.  I was curious about the newest phone that Samsung has out.  After all my phone is ancient being two generations behind the 5s.

I am also wondering should I move to the IPhone as I have an IMac and Ipad at home.  There are varying points of view on this.  The latest from the sales person was that I would be “dumbing myself down” by moving to the IPhone. Interesting, I thought.

With great animation the salesman explained that by getting the Galaxy 5s phone, I would get the Galaxy S5 phone watch.  A phone watch?  Am I Dick Tracy? Do I need a phone watch? First all it is SO big!  SO big.

Meanwhile, the salesman explained how I would no longer need my Fitbit, I would know what my heart rate was at all times and best of all, I could change television stations. Really, a TV remote control on my phone?

I told him that I would need to think on it and walked out.  I would like to upgrade for the camera but I just don’t want a phone on my wrist.

It really raises the question about how much technology does one really need? As a Teacher Librarian Technology Specialist (my new title), I get the importance of staying up on the technological advances.  However, soon, we may all be implanted with a chip.  I want mine to be a chocolate chip.

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SOLSC2014: When I Was Nine


I was sad to miss last Tuesday’s Slice of Life. But here’s another Tuesday and time to share slices at Two Writing Teachers

Fifty-two years ago the country experienced The Bay of Pigs. I was nine. They say that nine year olds are nervous lot. Yep, that was me.

Recently, I read Revolution by Deborah Wiles and I shared my thoughts in this POST.

I had her first book in the trilogy, Countdown. Which I read this week. Now where Revolution felt like worlds apart, Countdown capture that slice of time perfectly for me. She describes wearing Buster Brown shoes. I don’t know if Franny shoes were cute but my Buster Browns? U-G-L-Y! I hated them. So much so that I wore my mutt lucks for three weeks before getting caught by my father. And as Franny, I loved playing jacks.

I could not understand why my parents were so lax in building a bomb shelter. We has a house without a basement. Where would we go without a basement? What provisions did we have?

Here’s what I wrote about that period in 1989:


Even as an adult, I have had dreams of nuclear bombs. I have often wanted to discuss what it was like to be nine in Russia in 1962. Did they worry about America bombing them? Did they have the same kind of fears? Did they think about building bomb shelters?

Today my oldest grandgirl is nine. I owner what affect the international news has on her? Does she worry about beheadings or bombings? She hasn’t mentioned such worries.

I was going to put Countdown in the school library when I finished reading. I must keep it as it captures so much of me during that period. I will buy another plus Revolution for the library.

Now I have to wait for the final book by Wiles in the trilogy. I can’t wait.

Posted in Books, Family Life, SOLSC2014 | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

SOLSC 2014: What Do You Need for a Good Writing Day?


Tuesday. Time for a slice of life. Thanks to the incredible people at Two Writing Teachers for a place to share.

Monday was a day to work on my manuscript. I have been away from it all summer until last week when my critique group met (my home group).

I have know for awhile that my beginning needed a change. A dramatic change. I had an idea and last week my critique group confirmed I was on the right track.

As I worked on the manuscript, I started noticing how I write. There are things, I need to do before settling into work.

Like making sure I am caught up on my email. Today that led me to notes from a critique partner which helped the revision. In particular, it led me to research more about pinball machines. (This figures into the book).

Another email was a discussion with another friend on worked and didn’t work for a novel in verse book we just both read. It made me think through my character.

I need to have dark chocolate around. This is important.

This revision also led me to researching blue butterflies as I wanted to compare the color of a house to a blue butterfly.

I am currently reading, Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild. As I wrote and revised, I reflected on how Miller observed her daughter’s reading habits. As she stated in her book that at first glance, it may look like her daughter’s not focused but actually everything she’s engaged with is connected to her reading and writing. That’s like me. I may look like I am unfocused but in reality it’s all connected.

I finished late in the afternoon and was pleased with what I accomplished.

Revision is messy work. I have to admit that I’ve been terrified to tear the beginning apart due to the domino effect. But it’s all good.

Posted in Reflection, Revision, SOLSC2014 | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

SOLSC 2014: Summer Writing Group



Time for a Tuesday Slice of Life.  There are more slices at Two Writing Teachers.  Writing this post early as on Tuesday, I will be going to the dentist to start the work on two crowns (oh joy) and I know that I will be done for the day after that appointment.

Do you remember the post about creating a summer writing group? That invitation was HERE.  I signed up and later in June was given the names of three others.  It has taken us a bit to coordinate between summer vacations, one shoulder surgery, and such.  Happy to say that last Thursday we had our first meeting through Goggle chat. 

We decided to meet via Google Chat twice a month. Each time two of us will share our writing, therefore that means about once a month for feedback.  I always get nervous giving feedback.  I don’t want to step on the toes of the writer, especially in that first meeting.  But I felt it went well.  I am thankful that one group member has taken the lead on facilitating the group.

My biggest challenge perhaps in the first meeting was to figure out the ins and outs of Google Chat.  First I was on my phone which wasn’t the best for two reasons: the battery was almost dead and it was hard to hold the phone to show my face.  The phone was dying so I moved to the IPad. Better but still, the holding and when you can’t really hold with one arm due to surgery, it was frustrating.

I finally figured out during the course of the meeting how to get the Google Chat on the computer (which admittedly I should have figured out prior).  So finally I could use the computer and have hands free. 

I am really liking using the whole Google Drive to put documents in that we can review and add comments.  I have been trying to do this with my other writing group.  I like being able to read and comment on the document. Plus it saves on printer ink.

I am hoping to make more use of the Google Chat in other areas of my life this year.  For one thing, I am hoping when it comes down to discussing the CYBILS Poetry nominations, that we will be able to use this medium.  I like being able to interact with people much better than sending emails back and forth.

Twenty plus years ago, I took a Northwest Writing Institute month long workshop at Lewis and Clark College. Email was in the baby stages and I remember suggesting having on-line writing groups.  People just shook their heads.  We have come a long way in how we communicate since then.

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WANTED: Panelists and Judges for the 2014 CYBILS Poetry Award


How do you know you might be a good candidate? Here are ten things to consider:

1. You love poetry as much or more than dark chocolate.
2. You love posting for Poetry Friday.
3. You email others about poetry books they should read.
4. You send poetry postcards
5. You are known as the poetry person.
6. You blog ALOT about poetry.
7. You try to convince your book club to read a poetry book.
8. You want to receive poetry in the mail.
9. You go to conferences and search for your poetry people.
10.You are heard saying, “For the love of poetry” often.

Panelist for Round One: plan on reading 30-40 poetry books and whittle the selection to 5-7 finalists.

Judge for Round Two: read the 5-7 finalists and select the Winner for the CYBILS Poetry Award.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s CYBILs award, please sign-up HERE.
There are a lot of links to explain all the ins and outs of being a panelist or judge.

Friday, September 5, 2014 is the deadline for applying. Participants will be announced September 15, 2014

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SOLSC 2014: Summer of 1964, Worlds Apart


It’s Tuesday and time to share a slice over at Two Writing Teachers.

This past week I finished reading REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles.  I am challenging myself to read books that might be Newbery contenders this year through Goodreads. It’s funny as I have COUNTDOWN on my shelf but have never read it.

Wow!  If you haven’t read REVOLUTION, consider putting it on your list.  She is to historical fiction what Brian Selznick is to combining illustration and fiction novels.  The book blends a historical fiction with clippings, photos, quotes,etc. about the summer called “Freedom Summer” in Mississippi.

While reading this book, I felt that perhaps I was reading about a foreign country.  The main character Sunny, experiences the unrest in her town of Greenwood, MS.  She experiences the “invasion” of northerners coming to her town to help register people for voting, the pamphlets left by the KKK, and the attitudes of those who don’t want integration in the south.

Meanwhile, in sunny southern California, my summer of 1964 was all about playing Barbies on the patio of the house we just moved into, playing with the neighbor kids before the walls to divide our properties all got built, and threatening harm to my brother’s blue bellied lizards he captured. It was about having my grandmothers from New Jersey visiting and going school shopping for that special first day outfit.

I grew up in a protected world. My parents weren’t the kind of people who had deep political discussions.  I don’t remember hearing about the unrest of the south, of Mississippi, of  Freedom Summer. And today with the unrest in Ferguson, MO, I wonder if we should all take a time out and read Wiles’s new book and remember our history.


Posted in SOLSC2014, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments