The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Finding One's Voice

         I've been spending time with a small group of 3rd grade writers after school. They work for microwave popcorn, chili or nachos (sometimes) along with the chance to tell their story... in a unique way.

        The group started out with six students, then four and this week it was down to two. Just two girls.

       Yesterday was our second-to-last day of working together. One of the girls (all school year) has written pieces that sing. Her stories are infused with pizazz. Her voice has almost always been quite evident and distinctive. 

       The other girl struggles. Her writing has been bare-bones (not in a good, sparse way) and she lacks confidence. Her words plod along on the page.

       We've been creating digital stories which makes me sweat (since I am technologically a nimrod) way more than the kids. The students have brought in photographs and drew pictures to be a part of their stories. 

        Yesterday we did some video clips to insert in our pieces. When I suggested that instead of reading their bits off a notebook, perhaps they could say their spiel in a more conversational, off-the-cuff way, they both rose to the challenge... and the results were incredible.

        Each of the girls knew their story. They knew what they wanted to say because they had written it, so when they had the opportunity to use their voice and their facial expressions and their gestures to help convey their story, they did an outstanding job.  

      I have been struggling with a WIP. Struggling perhaps is not the best way to put it. Perhaps mired in the muck would be more accurate. The project has sat, stagnant, for a while. However, even though I haven't written much on it, I have been thinking about it. Ruminating. Reading other things (like Stephen King's Revival) and getting some pre-writing done.

      I'm hopeful that when I get some time to write this summer, my voice will become unleashed. I'm hopeful (fingers crossed) that I can fill in the holes that have reared their obnoxious head in my story (so far).

      What are your plans this summer?  

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Out of the Womb in Camouflage"

        I've been buried under report cards and end-of-the-school year paperwork for the past week--still am--but I had to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day.

       In the middle of the night when I was hunched over my laptop, writing comments on 27 report cards, I saw a short feature on a veteran. He had loved the camaraderie of the military so much, he signed up for a second tour of duty. During that second tour, he got his leg blown off. When asked if he knew then what he knew now, would he do it again, he replied, "In a heartbeat."

       He later said, "I think I came out of the womb in camouflage." He received a Purple Heart from President Obama. He's now busy putting his life together...

      In two days my son is leaving for an air force base. He's finished his first year of med school; it's the military's nickel (millions of nickels?) that's paying his tuition. Beginning on the 28th of May, he has four weeks of officer training. When he's finished, he'll serve for four years to pay the country back.

      On this holiday I'm thinking of my dad, who served and wanted to be sent overseas. Unfortunately for him (but perhaps fortunately for me?) he blew out his knee playing basketball and never left a U.S. base. 

      I'm thinking of that veteran who is now adjusting to life with a new leg.

      And I'm thinking of my son...

      Happy Memorial Day!