BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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My Awesome Life: In Honor of the Writing Project

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I have the privilege of attending both the National Writing Project annual meeting and the National Council of Teachers of English convention this week in St. Louis. I arrived this afternoon, and overall my impressions of the people here are overwhelmingly positive. The people at the airport, the shuttle driver, the hotel workers, all have been exceptional. And the conference attendees? Wonderful.

You see, things like this are a little overwhelming for this introvert. I was really shy as a kid, and to this day my social skills aren’t the best. I try, I really do, but I’m just sort of awkward. The good news it that other people are far better at this stuff than I am, and they’re frequently kind enough to include me in their conversations and plans. The mixer this evening started off really uncomfortable for me, but ended up very pleasant.

I circled the ballroom (and it’s a beautiful ballroom) several times, not seeing anyone I knew. I eventually struck up a conversation with a woman who looked about as lost as I felt. Turns out she’s from my state and we hit it off. A few minutes later a woman I met in New Orleans (who’s from Missouri) turned up, and joined the conversation along with her colleague. Not long after that another New Orleans connection turned up (from Louisiana), and so on. I never did see any of the folks from my own group, but that’s okay, I’m sure they’re around somewhere.

Tomorrow the serious stuff begins. I’ll be leading a round table discussion in the afternoon, and attending other sessions led by other educators. I’m excited to share information with them. In honor of this conference and the experience, I’d like to share some writing I’ve done with Writing Project kids over the past few summers. It’s a rough piece, done in my composition notebook while the young writers worked on their own pieces.

The prompt was “My Awesome Life.” What does your awesome life look like? Here’s a snapshot of mine:

I wake up when I want, fully rested and unhurried. I prepare to face the day and I feel good about the work I’m about to do. Midday I head off to a school or library or community center or bookstore, knowing that readers and writers will be there waiting for me. I bring along a box of my latest title — a give-away to thank them for being such loyal fans and readers.

When I get there I do a presentation that enthralls and inspires the audience. I answer their questions, take a few pictures, and sign my books. Then, a smaller group meets me to do a workshop. I’m so impressed by their dedication to making their work the best it can be. I love days like this.

Later on, at home in my studio, Lila lays at my feet as I write. She is a soft, quiet companion who grounds me and reminds me that I must occasionally take breaks.

 


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Taking November Off

writers-need-a-break-too.jpgThis year I’ve decided not to attempt NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo, the writing challenges that I’ve enjoyed in the past. This year is just far too hectic for me to even think about doing a challenge like either of those. A novel this month? Nope. A blog post each day? Uh uh.

I consider it a good day if I make it to work on time with my lunch in hand and matching shoes on my feet. I’m taking a class, attempting to participate in my writing group, and traveling out of town twice this month. I’ve also agreed to be an advance reader for a friend and prepare a review of the novel for its launch date. In November. Of course. It’s enough.

I do miss the daily routine of blogging before heading off to work, or making sure I get it done before the clock strikes midnight. I miss the links to other fascinating blogs and “meeting” bloggers with huge hearts and imaginations. I even miss the increased blog traffic it generates (I’m not gonna lie people, I like it when the numbers go up). I don’t miss the stress, though. There’s definitely a little pressure there, albeit self-inflicted. At the end, though, I’m always glad I’ve done it. I’ll miss that feeling of satisfaction this year.

Overall, I’m glad I didn’t commit to one more thing. I’ll be out of town, doing classwork, preparing Thanksgiving dinner with my sweetheart, and working. I’m thankful I chose not to stress myself out even more. Sometimes you just have to say enough is enough.


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Halloween Around My House

Quite a while ago I published a blog post lamenting the loss of some of my favorite fall and Halloween decorations. It was a blow. Really. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Then again, it probably was. Mine, in fact. I moved out of my old house and my former husband moved back in. I left behind some items to be donated, and he took them. Apparently my decor was in the mix, somewhere. Sad story, right?

Except that it has a happy ending. He never dropped off that box. He delivered all the other donations, but he figured that someday I’d want that box. He even asked me about it, but I thought he was talking about some old junky plastic stuff, not things my son had made and ceramic items that I really like and handmade decorations. I told him to just get rid of it, but he didn’t. He put it aside. He even moved it when he sold the house and moved out. Then he moved it again.

Eventually that box came up in conversation, and I told him how I regretted telling him to get rid of that stuff. He smiled. He told me he had it. I was shocked. I actually cried. I know. I’m a sap. It’s just stuff. But he was kind. He wasn’t vengeful. He knew I would want it and he kept it. He delivered it a short time later. I appreciate that, more than he’ll ever truly understand. I knew there was a reason I married him in the first place. There were lots of reasons, in fact. It was nice that he reminded me. Happy Halloween.