Sunday, March 18, 2018

Slice of Life 2018 Day 18: Ode to My Notebook

Writing is an act of faith: faith that what I have to say, how I see the world, are important. 
I listen. I see. I feel and I record. Keeping the words flowing is an act of faith." 
(Page 27) Writing Towards Home

Writing Towards Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way (Heinemann 1995) is any writer's gift. For several years I have appreciated Georgia Heard's invitations to write and enjoyed reading her smart insights. 

One of my favorite chapters from Writing Towards Home is "Songs to the Everyday," a chapter dedicated to celebrating the ordinary through Ode poems. After explaining the origins and purpose of an Ode poem, then sharing an example, Georgia Heard invites her readers to write an Ode poem: 

Georgia says, "Write an ode (don't worry about the form), a chant, in praise of the ordinary things in your life that you feel grateful for. Choose something that's common and everyday, then exalt it." 
This morning I decided to play with writing my own Ode poem:

Ode to My Notebook
Hard cover.
Lined paper, 
full of
crafted into poetry,
Heart Maps,
lists of gratitude, 
aching questions,
and stream-of-consciousness

Flair pen moves
in my notebook
my tree fort-
and imagining-
although sometimes 
I do not stay long enough
and other times I play
until I must rest. 

I honor my notebook,
of quiet,
reflective, and
arduous writing.
These pages
guide me 
in what deserves revision,
what I elect to share,
and helps me notice and
the most 
My current writer's notebook 


  1. Georgia Heard's Writing Toward Home is one of my top 3 favorite books about writing (the other two are Ralph Fletcher's Breathing In Breathing Out and Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones) and I feel like it's really underrated, so I was so excited to come here and see you writing from it! And I LOVE this piece. I hope you don't mind if I steal the idea because now I want to write an ode to my writer's notebook too.

    1. I agree! I never see Georgia's book as a recommendation, but it is SO good. I have Breathing in and Breathing Out but I haven't read it in a while...

      Please, please steal this idea! I would be honored!

  2. Trina, this prompt is definitely a must do for me and I would like to share your ode with teachers I will be working with this month. Thanks for the idea.

    1. Thank you Carol! I am honored that you would use this with teachers.

  3. Once again you've written an amazing post that offers something really important for teachers. I love your ode and am thinking you should explore writing your own writing book w/ models based on how you use these in your classroom. I have never been very good at keeping a single notebook. I have lots scattered around here and there and have lost lots of writing on computers that subsequently crash. It's a big regret I have: this not having my writing organized in notebooks.

    1. Glenda, you are so generous with your comments! You have no idea how nice it is to read. Know that I wrote for almost 2 years every single day only in my notebook, so scared to share anything. I actually hid it... I sometimes use my notebook (or parts of my notebook) with my students. It isn't super organized, but I definitely use it!

  4. So many lines in this ode that I love. You have given us a peek of what's inside, how you use it, and how it is a writer's tool. Very nice. I have been playing with an ode today, too - to my paring knife!

    1. Oh thank you Leigh Anne! I would love to see your Ode to a paring knife! So fun!

  5. I love your ode. I don't go anywhere without my notebook, and I love each one. Your respect for your notebook is so evident. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Thank you! I rarely go anywhere without my notebook either! I think that it is one of my most precious things!

  6. Powerful ode ... I think what strikes me most is "helping me notice and celebrate the most ordinary and extraordinary moments." That is just exactly what writing is all about.

    1. Thank you Fran! Writing is what ultimately helps me notice things!

  7. I've worked with Georgia and love the ideas in her books, used for myself and with students. I love your idea of a "tree fort, exploring and imagining"!

    1. I bet that it was amazing to work with Georgia! I have only heard her speak once and she was awesome!

      I was actually looking out my back window at my children's treehouse when I was writing this poem. the treehouse is where they play the most!

  8. I love the Ode to Your Writer's Notebook! I have Georgia Heard's book on my shelf of teaching books, and I need to read that one right away. Thanks for reminding me about it!

    1. Thank you! Georgia's book is a treasure trove!

  9. I also have this book and need to make time to spend time with it. I love the pic of your notebook, the description of it as a tree fort, and how it helps you celebrate.

    1. Thank you so much! One of the best things about Georgia's book is that you can savor it in small chunks!


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