Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tuesday Slice of Life: Notebook Work

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Tuesday Slice of Life: Notebook Work
I have not felt particularly inspired as a writer this month. Although I have had plenty of topics to write about, I have had a challenging time articulating my thoughts in words and coherent sentences. Each time I have sat down to blog, my process has looked a little like this: I start writing. I get stuck. I write about something different. I get stuck. I try writing again about a new topic. I get stuck. Inevitably, I do not get a post published.

However, as much as I have dragged my feet in writing, I have continued to write daily in my notebook. Late in April I read the great visual artist and Professor Lynda Berry´s Syllabus. Instantly, I fell in love with the sketches infused with multimedia in Syllabus, the Emily Dickinson poems and other important quotes scattered throughout the book, but mostly I appreciated how Dr. Berry encouraged her students to explore and record what they noticed. For a great example of Lynda Berry´s work, read Brain Picking´s post

Throughout May I used Dr. Berry´s Daily Diary format for at least one page a day. The Daily Diary includes a list of seven things you saw, seven things you did, something you heard, and something drawn. By far, the most challenging part for me was drawing something every day. When I first started creating a Daily Diary it took me a while (about thirty minutes!) to create one page. Then I reread the instructions in Syllabus, and Daily Diary pages are meant to be created quickly, so I set a timer for each section and now I can complete each page in about fifteen minutes.

Below is an example of a recent Daily Diary page: 

One of my favorite things about creating Daily Diary pages has been rereading my past Daily Diary Pages and noticing emerging patterns, such as how I notice a lot about nature on dog walks, things my students and my own children say and do, how many of my days are spent. Ultimately, my favorite part of a Daily Diary page is recording what I heard. Often I include what I overhear at stores in in the hallway. ItÅ› such great stuff! The page I posted (see above) is an exchange between a teenager and a middle age women at Target. 

Daily Diary Pages did not necessarily give me confidence as a writer, but it has helped me continue with my notebook work and kept me noticing what I cared about. When I took the time to revisit my Daily Diary pages, I realized that I could go back and use these pages for future writing, too. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Tuesday Slice of Life: Three Things I Want More of Right Now

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Tuesday Slice of Life: 
Three Things I Want More Of Right Now

I wasn't going to post today. Lately, I have felt pretty meh, especially when it comes to my writing life. But then I read Elisabeth's post today, and it gave me just the nudge I needed to show up as a writer. 

Below is a list of three things I want more of right now: 

More patience. It's May. Many of my students (especially the seniors) do not want to be at school, expressing every opportunity possible to remind me of this. In general, my students are chattier with each other (about anything but the task at hand), skipping more classes, more bold about inappropriately using technology in the classroom, and not submitting assessments. 

More outdoor adventure. Last weekend I spend a lot of time with my daughter and her Girl Scout troop. We were outdoors most of the time, cooking as much as we could over an open fire, exploring our nearby local nature preserve's trails and pond, and learning how to whittle. I had forgotten how much better I felt after spending the day outdoors.

More meaningful conversations. Often I get lost in the mundane. You know. Those simple day-to-day interactions: "How's it going?" "Okay, what about you?" Quick, surface level conversations in between activities, passing time in the hallways or office, or even at the grocery store. I need more. I want time to engage in conversations with those I care the most about. These are the conversations that fuel me as an individual and help me to feel seen.  

What do you need more of right now? 

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