SOL2015: Treasures of the Past

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers, there’s a place to share a slice of life each week.

I grew up loving the antiques in Great Aunt and Uncle’s house. There was the China cupboard that Great Grandfather built.  There was the iron cat that was a door stop. Oh, the treasures. It was a house of antiques. I remember being upset when they passed on and then their daughter, my second cousin, needed to downsize. I was in college and missed out on asking for some things I thought I needed.

Ten year ago, I received the China cupboard with Mom’s China, crystal, and title odds and ends; some from house of antiques. It’s a special piece of furniture.

I also have other pieces of furniture that Great Grandfather built, two tables from both parents childhood homes, and the Grandfather clock that was in our family.

I grew up with the idea that family furniture stayed within the family. Now it’s time to downsize once more.  There seems to be a difference between my generation and the generation of my nieces and nephews.  

In a recent conversation with the nieces, it’s clear that some of what I consider to be the “must stays in the family” don’t seem so important to the youngest generation.  They seem to travel a bit lighter with processions. 

I discovered this when I asked them recently what they might like to have. It’s pretty clear that I may have to find different homes for some treasures.

There’s probably a benefit to traveling lighter. I do hope that perhaps some of the family treasures will indeed remain in the family.


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Time for Poetry Postcards

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An Announcement! Poetry Postcard TIme


it’s time
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It’s our seventh year to be sending postcards to into the world.

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SOL15: in Which I Ditch a Book

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for providing a place to share our slices.

It’s not been the best year for me with my book club. I’ve either missed the meeting or haven’t finished the book. I hate not finishing a book. And usually it’s not because I didn’t care for the book.

But this month’s book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. And I can’t get into it. Like the premise: a precocious young girl finds a dead man in the garden and then sets out to prove her father’s innocence. But something’s missing and I am not drawn into the story. So I am going to abandon it. And I am going to be okay doing so. This is not how I read usually. In fact as I write this, I am sort of planning how to get my wanted reading read so I can slog through the book some more before book club.

Don’t we tell young readers to give it fifty pages? I’ve done that but it’s difficult to follow my own advice.

Right now I am into reading novels in verse. I am about finished with Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Then I have the Newbery winner, The Crossover, written by Kwame Alexander to read up next.

It’s where I am in my reading life at this point in time. This year I feel immersed in children’s books more so that adult books. Being current is super important in order to recommend books to students. And honestly, lately the adult books seem a bit blah.

So if you have a good adult book suggestion, let me know. Happy slicing.

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SOL15: More on the Pattison Revision Retreat


Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for providing a place for community to happen each Tuesday.  There are opportunities that stick like Velcro. Two weeks ago, I attended a revision retreat facilitated by Darcy Pattison. I wrote briefly about it HERE.

One requirement for the class was the willingness to read three other manuscripts and respond. Then we exchanged then with each other at the retreat. My manuscripts are writing for me to read as is my manuscript waiting for revisions. I want it to settle for a bit as Kim Stafford once shared in a workshop, “Throw it in a drawer and let it simmer.”

One technique that Darcy advocates in her workshop is the shrunken manuscript.  By shrinking the pages to fit within a set number of pages, you can get a pretty good visual.  This is mine:


The first thing I did was to go through the one plus poems identifying specific scenes. If it were in prose, my guess is that they would be chapters. (#writingnovelinversechallenges).

This sets up a way to go through and check for the emotional arc, check for where the protagonist and the antagonist meet on the page, highlight words important to the story, look for pivots, it can be used for just about whatever you need.

It  creates a “to do” list for polishing my novel:

I need to go through and check for each line for the strength of its word.

I wonder often I use the word “tilt.” It’s a pretty important word to the story.

I have struggled with the novel’s opening scene.  The strength of my novel is the characters but the opening has been such a bug-a-boo.  Darcy  shared five different ways to create an opening. She asked that I write five different openings.  In doing so, I discovered a possible new opening.

I keep hoping for just one snowfall so I can dive back in to revisions. But for now, I will take my weekends to work.

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SOL15: My OLW: Open

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for providing space to share our slices.

So this past weekend, I finally had time to spend working on my OLW project. I decided to take Ali Edwards class. She provides a prompt every month to focus on you word. I am being open to working on these monthly activities. I am open to creating a visual journal per Edwards’ suggestions.

I have to admit that at first I was a bit scared to start. I used to scrapbook but I discovered I was such a perfectionist that I didn’t always finish. I am being open to leaving my perfectionist ways behind. I like the way Edwards framed creating this notebook, the personal nature of it.

So I listened to the Edwards January video and created. I needed to create. It’s been a busy month. Last week, there were a few tricky things about work. In fact, my principal reminded me of my OLW when we were having a discussion on the changing nature of my job. It was good to get lost in the creative process for a few hours.

Here’s a page I finished.

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SOL15: Revision Writing Retreat

2015/01/img_07851.jpgThanks to Two Writing Teachers for providing a place to share our slices each week.

This weekend I had the privilege of spending the weekend with Darcy Pattison. She offers the Novel Revision Retreat.

It was the culmination of six months of planning. To start, we were required to have the first draft written of our novel. There were twenty of us in groups of four critique groups. During December we shared our manuscripts with our critique members.

The best way to describe the weekend: fleeting and not enough time. Darcy led us through activities that provided tools to work after the conference.

This weekend was one with limited Internet. Not because it wasn’t available but rather because is put the phone in Airplane mode and prevented it. There are times that I want to put my computer in that mode. To work without distraction.

My manuscript is close to being ready to send to the world. I feel like in the coming months, I should be able to zero in the polishing. I didn’t choose an easy route by writing a novel in verse so I feel it has to soar

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