The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Be Bold!

This quarter my students are working on opinion writing. They have to take a stand. They have to be bold and brazen and--on paper--cocky. At least that is my hope as they craft their pieces.

The cast of the 2014 Listen to Your Mother St. Louis show, and the best
kind of photo---one without me in it.

The writers (see the picture above) who shared their story had to be brave. Sharing each story--even the humorous ones--was risky. There were tales of becoming a single mother through invitro fertilization...of adopting children from another continent...of almost losing their baby...of surrendering their baby. With each story told, they shared a part of themselves, a part of their lives.

Of course, writers are not unaccustomed to writing, but the Listen to Your Mother shows involved performing before an audience... using a microphone... in non-Croc shoes.
Okay, I could have done it in my ol' trusty Crocs, but I think the other oh-so-chic women would have given me grief.

Here are my Crocs (the tear in one keeps getting bigger, but they're still serviceable)
and the shoes I did end up wearing to do the show.

           People everywhere are doing bold things. Coming out with new books--Shay just had one and Lisa is about to debut her first of a set of "triplets." Writing outside of their box--Lynn--who is working on a gorgeous picture book, even though she doesn't think of herself as an artist (she most definitely is). Pearl is bold every time she steps outside during the winter months (which in Minnesota, I guess, stretches from September to May). There are friends and acquaintances all over the place doing things and stepping out and taking risks... and every day they continue to do it.

         My original post title was going to be 400 vs. 1400. I'm trying to adopt the mindset that 400 words (or even 200 words) a day is better than nothing. If I don't have a large span of time to write, can't I write in small snatches here and there? Should I only write if I think I can get a couple of thousand down? Otherwise, it's not worth the effort? Short pieces (800-1200 words) come out in a couple of sessions, but slogging through a longer piece (like a novel) is not so easy-peasy.

        I would be grateful for any words of advice... any kind words about my Crocs (they look worse than they looked in that photo, if you can believe that)... any words of encouragement that St. Louis will have three more snow days (icy roads = school closings)... or anything else you want to lob my way.

Monday, February 9, 2015


       This weekend I finished Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time. In fact, I got up an extra half hour early to finish it... on a Saturday morning... when I had a 7 A.M. workshop to present at... it was that good.

       Around 30 or 40 pages from the end, I was a bit confused. Not terribly, but just experiencing a slight sense of disequilibrium. What is going on? I wondered.

        However, I soon understood--I was going around a major twisty-turn that Picoult had crafted like the talented pro that she is.

         Read Leaving Time. You won't be able to predict the ending until you get there (I almost guarantee it).

        And if you want to find out more about the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, go here.

          What surprise have you been "gifted" with lately? (It could be a pleasant surprise--like, "Wow, Radar wasn't digging this time," or it could be not so pleasant, like "I'm amazed my arm can be pulled out of its socket several times a day when I walk the 73-pound puppy and I haven't experienced permanent damage yet.")