SOLSC: Gratefulness

It’s Tuesday, time to share our life slices with others at Two Writing Teachers.

It’s been a tough autumn. And this is always a dark month. Today I am focusing on what I give thanks for:

  • My grandgirls, my chickabiddies
  • My daughters
  • My husband
  • Buster, our dog
  • My friends and the rest of my family
  • My students, staff, and school
  • That I love writing poetry
  • Naps and sunsets

Enjoy this week.

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SOLS15: A Saturday for Me

It’s Tuesday. Time to share slices at Two Writing Teachers. 

This last Saturday was a day for me. I had an email a couple weeks prior about a poetry workshop with the Oregon Laureate, Peter Sears.  Thirteen people met at the Pond House which is behind one of the local libraries. 

I shared the info with a friend and we made a plan; breakfast and the workshop

Just four hours and two writing prompts. The first was a narrative poem based on a mentor poem, “Of My Father Before the War” by Frank Gaspar.  The was more playing with images.  I wish that I had a link to the Gaspar poem. It’s stunning beginning with:

“Suppose I were leaning in a doorway in Marseilles watching a volley of far clouds while two men quilted the water with their nets.”

 There’s nothing better than a mentor poem to break loose tangled ideas.  I’ve been working on three poems for a submission call. The topic is difficult; violence against women. But something about this prompt called up images.

Sears built in time to hear from all of us. Plus he gave each poem thoughtful consideration and feedback on what we wrote.  Plus feedback from the other participants, the time flew.  

It was what the doctor ordered. With all that has been happening at school and continues to happen, I needed to focus on a time for me.

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SOL 2015: Autumn

Two Writing Teachers provide a place for our life slices each Tuesday.

Thunder’s clap
Leaves swirl

Branches snap

Lone squirrel

Autumn’s flap

Been thinking about two word combos all day.

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SOLSC15: The Substitute Dilemma


Two Writing Teachers provide a place for community to gather every week.  Thank you to them for creating this venue.

The start of the new school year has been exhausting, hence the lack of SOLSC posts from me.  I was on such a roll last spring.

Fourth and fifth grades began with overloads in classes, thus the need for a new hire.  I was on the interview committee.  The choice of candidates was limited and as stated at the school board meeting, the Superintendent stated the teacher cupboards were bare.

Oh boy, are they.  As I write, I am subbing in a fifth grade classroom today.  It’s the second time that I have subbed in this room.  But the first this week which I am counting as I may have to sub a second time this week before someone else is called in for the “Unfilled Substitute” dilemma.

A new procedure was created to provide consistency throughout the district as to who subs and how much when a classroom position doesn’t fill.  That new procedure puts teacher-librarians at the top of the list, the “go-to” people twice in a week before music and PE are asked to sub and then the next tier of people.

I see all classes once per week.  If I miss classes, like today, then I am a week behind.  Music and PE see classes twice a week.  Oh, and I am to try and reschedule the missed classes.

I don’t have a problem with subbing. In fact, last year it worked well, we all rotated.  It wasn’t falling on one specialists shoulders.

It makes it difficult to feel valued in the area of my expertise.  I wonder what it says to students about the library not being available to them.  I wonder how this decision was created.

And the bigger issue remains that we are out of subs.  Our coffers are slim, almost empty.  People are choosing other careers for their lives.  The teaching profession isn’t respected.  The pay for subs has be marginalized.  Our subs in our state can’t make a living on what they’re paid.

Plus there’s the whole issue of safety especially in the middle and high school.  Who wants to sub knowing the possibility that the school might not be safe.

There aren’t any easy answers to the substitute dilemma.  I am thankful that today’s class are terrific self managers and know what to do as I write this post.  It’s ironic that their writing assignment is “The Best Day Ever.”  I can’t say that this is my day.

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SOL15: Pitch Wars and Being Open


Thank you to those who make this Tuesday writing community possible, the wonderful contributors of Two Writing Teachers.

Last week, I briefly wrote about my word of the year, OPEN, and submitting to Pitch Wars, a writing opportunity hosted by Brenda Drake.

This event asked that you submit  your first chapter and a query letter to five potential mentors.  There were over a hundred mentors in a variety of age groups and genres.

If after reading your submission, the mentor was interested, they could ask for a full or partial of your manuscript.  In the end only one mentee per mentor. But what an opportunity to have a one on one mentor for two months and then the chance to pitch to an agent.

DARRAH’S TILT, my novel is approaching the time to go before agents and/or editors.  I know I will feel it’s not ready enough, but I need to push myself.  Pitch Wars seemed like the perfect scenario for submitting my manuscript.

I entered with low expectations.  Just the act to send the first ten pages and a query was eye-opening.  Queries are a witch (well, rhymes with that word) to write.  But I put it out there and got feedback before submitting so that makes me happy. Plus I grew as a writer.

On Tuesday, August 18, one of my submitted mentors requested the full manuscript to read as well as a synopsis.  Can I tell you how thrilled I was to be asked?  To me, that made me a winner.

And in between then and now, I’ve been making connections in the Twitter world with other potential mentees.  There is this amazing community of writers out there and which I hope to find a someone that is writing MG contemporary and enjoys  novel in verse for further critiques of my WIP.

There was also this great post is helping me to revision my blog.

But most of all, this experience has challenged me to really re-vision my ms.  I have big questions:
* should I look at rewriting it NOT as a novel in verse even though I love this format?
* dialogue? Is there too much.  Should I rewrite with less dialogue?
* how can I strengthen the sub-plot with out diminishing the main plot?
* how can I write a three sentence pitch that will know the socks off an agent and editor?
* what am I willing to give now for what I want most?

Tonight I learned  I wasn’t selected to be a mentee and that’s okay. Disappointed? A bit. Discouraged? Absolutely not.  I am more resolved and more excited than ever to dive back into my ms because I know that it can only improve.

All this was possible because I was OPEN to an opportunity.

Posted in Writing | 13 Comments

SOL15: Returning from Blogcation

IMG_0785Please join this wonderful writing community at Two Writing Teachers.

Can I just say that I am happy to new back form my blogcation?  I am going ease in slow because there’s so much to share with you all!!

We said good-bye to our sweet 19 YO gal.

Sophie on the left.

We downsized into a condo with a view of outrageous sunsets.


We drove to SoCal to see family.
Our younger dog (who’s naughty as all get out) missed us and escaped his caretaker. We considered it a sign so we returned home after being only in California for forty-eight hours. Thank goodness he was chipped and found.

Since OPEN is my word for the year, I took a brave step and submitted my manuscript to Pitch Wars.  It was optional but I created a bio for the event.

Once again its CYBILS time. That means we’re looking for panelists and judges.  To find out the information and apply, go to the CYBILS website.  I am always looking for people to serve on the poetry committee.  So especially if you participate in Poetry Friday, please consider applying. OR even if you don’t but you love poetry, please consider applying.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

I still have boxes to unpack.  My official school work begins tomorrow.

But I am happy to back contributing each Tuesday to SOL.

Posted in Writing | 6 Comments

In a Perfect World: Blog Break

In a perfect world, I would be able to move for one place to another without a blog vacation. It’s not a perfect world, the selling and purchasing of a home is complicated.  I need to be able to focus on that.  I am not guaranteed Internet over the next weeks.

So I am taken a blog vacation until sometime in August when I am once again settled in a new place.

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