BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Poetry Day

I’m looking forward to working with my young writers today. Our focus this morning is on poetry. We’re starting with this poem:

Legacies

BY NIKKI GIOVANNI

 

her grandmother called her from the playground

“yes, ma’am”

“i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old

woman proudly

but the little girl didn’t want

to learn how because she knew

even if she couldn’t say it that

that would mean when the old one died she would be less

dependent on her spirit so

she said

“i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”

with her lips poked out

and the old woman wiped her hands on

her apron saying “lord

these children”

and neither of them ever

said what they meant

and i guess nobody ever does

 

I love that poem, especially the end. Sniff, sniff. Then we have a picture book to share and we’ll do some blackout poetry. After that we’ll try our hand at writing poems inspired by the color names on paint chip samples and we’ll mess around with some words and phrases on magnets and popsicle sticks. It should be a blast. I can’t wait to hear what they come up with!


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Writing Inspirations

How to get young writers going? tetragono-lounge-chair-in-purple-velvet-lazur-living-zero-gravity-fullsizerender_15__-cushion-bedroom-cushions-for-sale-chaise-axel.jpg

How to get myself going?

One way to do it is to ask questions. From the painfully real (what do I want the world to remember about me?) to the absurd (what does purple feel like?) questions can trigger words.

Tomorrow I plan to give my young writers a list of questions to trigger their writing. They can answer all of them in a poem, or they can choose one of them to explore further, or they can design their own response. I don’t really care what they write, just that they do.

I need to take that same approach with myself. In so many ways. I need to say, “self, I don’t care what you write, as long as you write something.” Or, “self, I don’t care what kind of exercise you get, as long as you move.”

The problem is, I don’t do a very good a job of listening to myself. Fortunately, the kids listen to me better than that. They’ll read the questions and give them some thought. Then they’ll write. I think I’ll join them. After all, writing something is better than writing nothing. Now I’m off to ponder the feel of purple. I’m pretty sure it’s warm and soft, with a definite velvet feel to it. The feel of luxury. Now, on to other questions of the universe.


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Daily Passion Prompt 2: Need Help Writing? I’m Your Go To Gal.

Question #2

What topic or subject are you the go-to person for?

Ah yes. The question of expertise. The second daily passion prompt requires some introspection followed by a portion of horn tooting. I started to think about the things that I’m good at, and a few came to mind. I’m a fairly good scrapbooker and quilter, but nobody really comes to me for advice on either of those topics anymore. They used to, back when I was active in groups with like-minded crafters, but it’s been years. Seldom will anyone ask whether they should use crop a photo or use it whole, or if the chevron fabric should be in the narrow border or the sashing strips.  I can and will give my opinion on those topics, as well as offer some other options, but my opportunities for those interactions are limited these days.

So that leaves writing. Big surprise, I’m sure.  I’ve really always been a writer, even when I was little and couldn’t quite figure out how to write my own name correctly. I decided that I better practice, because that d in the middle was tricky and I couldn’t always be sure which way it was supposed to go.  After a while, I was pretty sure I had it figured out. Just to be certain, I wrote it on my wooden desk, my wall, my bedspread, and my carpet (in my defense it was a horrific tannish grey almost industrial thing). Oddly, my parents were not pleased with my new found mastery.

231024448They were more supportive of the little stories I made up in elementary school. I had a tan covered spiral notebook just for my writing. My parents even brought it along to my parent teacher conference in fifth grade. I think they were proud of me.  Either that or they found something odd and felt the need for professional help. Since I never got any, I just figured on the pride thing.

In high school I was blessed with the most difficult teacher I have ever had. Dr. T was my junior year English teacher, and man, was he tough. We honors kids thought we were so smart, but Dr. T taught us plenty. The most important thing he taught us was how to write. He taught organization and research and how to follow main ideas with details that are both crystal clear and compelling. He also taught us to scrutinize our work and revise, revise, revise.

beigeselectricThose skills served me well in college. I was a very popular freshman essay reader, offering suggestions for strengthening arguments or pointing out repetitious sentence patterns.  Over the years my skills evolved. I became a resume expert, a lesson planning resource, and a valuable member of the “word-smithing” committee. Yes, this was a real committee. Additionally,  I guided the extensive revision of a Harvard University graduate application statement, allowing my brother to earn his MPA degree from the Kennedy School. Yes, I know it’s name dropping, but doesn’t it sound cool?

At work, I’m often the go-to girl for tricky emails, final proofreading, and a wide variety of other writing tasks. I enjoy helping people find the words that best express what they’re trying to say. Usually they come easily to me. Finding my own words can be a little different. When I do my own writing I start from a place where I don’t always know where I will go next. I know this approach isn’t for everyone, but I find it liberating, as it allows me to move from one thought to another freely. Of course, if I’m not careful, this approach can also produce quite a bit of verbal vomit. When that happens,  it’s back to revise, revise, revise.