March 4 2016

I Want to Write

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HAPPY SLICING!
Ms. Haseltine’s students:

Please post a link to your slice to this post!

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Friday. Only day four. How could I already need more ideas? I’m stumped. I guess, it isn’t that I don’t have ideas, but it’s more I don’t want to write about any of them. It reminds me of these words, “I hate writing, I love having written.” Dorothy Parker said that. Usually, I don’t agree…tonight I do.

 

I want to write about how tired I am. I want to write about the book I’m reading. (Honestly, I want to read the book I’m reading.) I want to write about going to the movies this weekend with my friends and watching American Idol on TV. I want to write about Bella and how she runs away whenever I start cooking. I want to write about how my niece wants to be a mermaid when she grows up. I want to write about how my nephew loves his tooth so much, he doesn’t want the tooth fairy to take it.

 

I want to write about how I love music and share all of my favorite songs. I want to write about struggling with elapsed time so much that it’s embarrassing. I want to write about Voxer and the great conversations going on over there. I want to write about my students and their successes. I want to write about my terribly boring lunches and how I can make them better. I want to write…

 

I want to write about all of these things and none of these things. I want to mention them and not explain. I want to calm the crazy in my brain. I want to find the quiet in my day. I want to finish this blog post. Hmmm, look! I just did!

December 2 2015

Dear Writing,

Dear Writing,

I’ve missed you.
Been gone too long

All the excuses are there…
Too busy, work, family, friends
But it’s not enough
I haven’t made time for you
and I’m sorry.

When I avoid you,
I feel it.
Less.
Empty.
Voiceless.
Sad.

I need you!
Please forgive me.
It’s just that you ask,
you demand EVERYTHING from me
and my resistance comes from
the fear that I don’t have enough to give

I don’t care anymore!
Whether you’re good or

you’re bad… I need you in my life.

Recommitted. That’s me:
4AM morning pages.

Working on my book.
Notebook writing.
Blog writing.
Card writing.
Bullet journaling.

I’m back.
I’m here to stay.
Ready to offer you everything

because the truth is
You. Are. Everything.

Love,
Michelle

This poem speaks to my reluctance and struggle to sit down and write lately. It’s inspired (the format is blatantly stolen) from the retirement poem that Kobe Bryant wrote and published yesterday. His words surprised me and moved me and inspired me. The other reason for this poem is a webinar, The Potency of Poetry, that I listened to last night between Donalyn Miller and Kwame Alexander. They talked about poetry for an hour. Here are some of my favorite lines from Kwame Alexander… “My goal is to make words cool and make words fun!” “I’ve seen poems dance!” “You don’t dissect poetry. You dissect frogs.” After listening to his passion for poetry, I woke up this morning inspired to return to it. Thanks for reading! I hope your day brings you poems that dance and words that are cool and fun!

October 20 2015

Why I Write

Let’s celebrate the National Day on Writing.

I Write

Why do I Write? Today is the National Day on Writing sponsored by NCTE. I’ve been thinking about this question for awhile. There are so many reasons that I write…

I write to untangle my insides.
I write to communicate my feelings.
I write to think, to figure things out.
I write to calm myself down.
I write to learn.
I write to explore new worlds.
I write to express myself.
I write to share who I am.
I write for my students.
I write for my family.
I write for my friends.
I write for myself.
I write for my readers.
I write because I don’t know how not to write.
When I don’t write, I lose myself.
Writing brings me back to me.
Writing quiets the crazy chaos of the world.
When I write, everything makes sense.

Why do you write?

Double click on the Padlet and answer the question. Why do you write?!?!

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October 17 2015

Celebrating Blogs, Recess, and Books!

I am celebrating my students today!

 

We launched our blogs this week. I nudged and pushed and stretched them this week. We became problem solvers. We became published writers. We worked hard and worked together and created our own place in the blogosphere. I celebrate their perseverance and their strong writing voice.

This week we took a little time to relax. Recess!! I think this picture says it all!

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New books. A favorite author of mine, Adriana Trigiani, published a new book. It is based on the true story of the Hollywood star Loretta Young. Her words are like a symphony on paper.  It’s one of those books I can’t put down. 

Finally, I celebrate this beautiful autumn morning. There’s something about how the sun shines in the fall. It seems more golden. The leaves and the cool, crisp air make for a perfect day! Enjoy!

May 26 2015

What Kind of Writer Am I?

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Last week, Stacey wrote a powerful post about herself as a writer. She was inspired by Terje’s post. Today I’m going to begin my answer to this question…

What kind of a writer am I?
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I am the kind of writer who needs words and sentences to make sense out of life.
I am the kind of writer who feels her way through writing.
I am the kind of writer who writes daily, many times a day, for herself.
I am the kind of writer who has filled sixty-three notebooks.
I am the kind of writer who has a story to tell, but isn’t sure exactly what that story is.
I am the kind of writer who has discovered this secret…so much about writing is having faith.
I am the kind of writer who must write, even if no one else reads.
I am the kind of writer who writes too much and takes out lots during revision.
I am the kind of writer who enjoys repetition and symmetry.
I am the kind of writer who is afraid of failing as a writer.
I am the kind of writer who wants to use words to make the world a better place.
I am the kind of writer who needs just the right pen, and just the right color, and just the right font to help my writing come alive.
I am the kind of writer who loves to read mentor texts and then worries that everything has already been said.
I am the kind of writer who uses ellipses…
the interrobang?!?!
and overuses exclamation points (and doesn’t care)!!!!!!
I am the kind of writer who returns to my writing weeks, months, years later and doesn’t remember writing those words…and finds that often that’s my best writing.
I am the kind of writer who has had to work to compose digitally and appreciates the different styles of writing it creates.
I am the kind of writer who needs silence to write.
I am the kind of writer who always has my notebook with me.
I am the kind of writer who wants readers. I am the kind of writer who will continue to search for the answer to this question.
I am the kind of writer who writes to untangle my life.


Thank you, Terje and Stacey, for the inspiration!

What kind of writer are you?!?!

March 23 2015

How My Bedroom Turned Me into a Writer #20

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 Plumtree Road

 

Four walls covered with lines of pineapples watched me laugh, read, talk, cry, sing…grow up. The pineapple wallpaper wasn’t even new. The edges  began to fold up and wear away like a worn out, but well loved note passed in school. As I walked into the room for the first time, pale olive green walls (below the unnecessary chair rail) and orange shag carpet repulsed me. With the attitude of a teenager, I declared, “UUU-HUGGG-LEEE!” (I was only nine, the dramatic years began earlier than expected.)

The rug looks like thick, orange grass. Yuck! Who picked pineapples!? Who thinks these prickly, nasty pieces of fruit are really saying welcome, come in to my room? And who’s welcome in my room, anyway? It’s MY ROOM? NO ONE ELSE ALLOWED!

Before the days of kids decorating their own rooms, it never occurred to me that I could change it. Acceptance began to sink in, I mean the ten by twelve box of pineapples did have it’s advantages. Location, location, location!

I’m alone on the first floor. Wicked awesome! When mom and dad and Katie go to bed, the whole first floor and basement are all mine. I can do what ever I want. What’ll I do? The television is in the family room, I can watch late night TV. What’s on past 9:00? The kitchen is down the hall. Mmmm, midnight snacks! The telephone is sitting in the hall outside my door. I can call anyone I want!

Once the dreams of mischief passed, I noticed the room had eyes. Two giant windows that stood about twelve inches off the orange lawn facing the driveway and the back door.

 Sitting in the ugly, but comfortable orange grass and gazing out the windows became a favorite pastime for me. I became the witness to all who came and left our home. I began to sit there with my notebook while I listened to music. I noticed everything: times, cars, clothes…I wondered and created stories. Perhaps, these hours of observing prepared me for writing. I never reported my observations to anyone except my beloved blue flowered journal.

March 23 2015

Exclamation Point!!!! #17

Today is my 23rd slice for the March Slice of Life Challenge on Two Writing Teachers.

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As I was innocently scrolling through Twitter, I found this tweet by Kelly Gallagher. He is an educator and author whom I respect greatly! His tweet:

I am often a bit wary of people who overuse exclamation points. Just sayin…

— Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) March 12, 2015

All said in good fun…in jest…but for some reason it stuck with me. It stuck with me as I commented on others blogs. It stuck with me as I composed emails. It stuck.

It stuck because…I am an overuser or exclamation points! I use them ALL the time! Sometimes, when I really get excited about something…I use multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!

As I was writing, I found myself resisting the call of the EP (exclamation point). I tried to use a period…BORING…or only one EP. I stopped and thought to myself, “Why? Why are you doing this?” We all have writing styles and we all make choices. I have no thoughts about you if you do not use EPs or if you use them “sparingly”…but for me…it’s BORING!!!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my love of the EP and how I’d discovered an old email from my Dad filled with EPs. It’s a connection to him.

Last week, I read aloud ! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld to my students…

I feel like this book explains my love of the EP!!! Oh and my students loved it so much that I have a group writing the sequel…the EP and the question mark become best friends…they never leave each other’s side…The Interrobang!

It’s all love here for the exclamation point! Use as many as you like in your comments. It’s my 3rd favorite punctuation mark. 

  1. Interrobang
  2. Ellipsis
  3. Exclamation Point

What’s your favorite and why? 

March 3 2015

Places to Write…Day Three

Today is my 3rd slice for the March Slice of Life Challenge.

Writing is a discipline. It takes focus and attention. I’ve set up a lovely office with lots of space to write, pens, notebooks, and my computer. I even copied Cynthia Lord and put up twinkle lights! 

I live alone…well ok, I live with my dog Bella. I have an organized space, I have supplies, I have quiet and yet, there are times when I need to leave to write.

Sundays afternoons are my time to write away from my home. I’ve found some great places, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites…

1. Wegmans. That’s a grocery store that’s a few miles from my home. There’s an upstairs with seating and a food court. I’ll grab lunch and find a quiet spot and settle in. (If I can’t find a quiet spot, I follow Kate Messner’s advice and listen for good lines to include in my writing.)

2. Panera. I prefer Panera during quieter times, but I can walk to Panera from where I live, so it’s convenient. My favorite indulgence is the creamy and decadent macaroni & cheese. I feel like it really makes my writing better. 

3. The bench by the fountains. In the warmer weather, I love to grab my notebook and sit on the bench by three giant fountains. There’s a main road in front of the fountains, so it isn’t silent…but the water is soothing and I love sitting there. 

4. Exploring new places and writing. On Saturdays in the spring and summer, I love getting into my car and driving to a place I’ve never been with my trusty notebook and maybe my iPad. Some of my best writing spots have included Annapolis, MD and Shepherdstown, WV and Great Falls Park in Virginia. Even a rest stop on route 81 on my way to the Green Valley Book Fair worked for me last spring!

New places bring new life to my writing. Where do you like to write? 

P.S. I wish I had pictures of these places…I’ll be sure to start taking pictures to record these places. 

January 20 2015

Four O’Clock in the Morning

I woke up at four AM with my mind whirring. 

This week. Busy. So busy. Don’t want to forget anything. Grades close on Friday. Two projects due. Formal observation on Friday. First grad class meets Wednesday. Syllabus is ready. I have to gather books to bring with me to school. Blog. My OLW blog post for Thursday. Birthday Dinner on Thursday. Dinner out Friday. Snow?!?! There could be SNOW?!?! Don’t think about it. Snacks for Wednesday? Should I get more? Formal lesson plan written for Friday? I should wait and see if there’s a snow day between now and then. I can’t think of what to write for Thursday!!! Did I pick the wrong OLW? What should I say?!?! (I love the interrobang!) Nothing’s coming to me. Everything I start sounds silly and dumb and just plain bad. And blogging…the SOLC is coming soon. Can I do it? Can I blog everyday for a month AND teach a graduate class AND teach 100 sixth graders AND…breathe. Stop! Yes. Day by day. I can do it. I will do it.

Pardon my brain dump. When I wake up at 4AM with thoughts spinning faster than a roller coaster, I need to write. I call this kind of writing a brain dump. The process of writing it makes me feel calmer.  

How do you calm down in the midst of panic?