Last year during the March slice of life challenge I discovered spine poems. I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread! But the idea got lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This morning Terje over at Just for a Month Blogspot reminded me of this fun poetic form. Not only did she post her spine poem she also included snapshots from each of the highlighted books. So thank you Terje! Here are a few of my favorite pages from the books used in my spine poem.
Today is the last day of the month long challenge. It feels great to once again be successful in writing each day for these last 31 days. This year I am most proud of the fact that I wrote quick and fast, something I could never have done on year one of taking on this challenge. I do judge that challenging myself with my participation in the March challenge and the Tuesday slice posts for three years has made a difference in how I approach writing. I am no longer fearful when I get to the keyboard. Many times my fingers fly off the page. That is not to say I don’t have days when writing comes slow – there are those days. But now I have strategies to guide me through those moments – mostly to just type away!
As I look back on my 31 day days I feel proud!
I have experimented with my writing, crafting bold beginnings and thoughtful endings, infusing my sense of humor, and using the same elaboration techniques I teach my students.
I have spoken like a bluebird, cursed a few geese, and marveled at the eagle.
I welcomed a new grandson, recalled song titles, and reminisced about family hikes.
I shared my travels to Haiti, lamented record snowstorms, and cursed the damage left behind.
I penned stories of grapefruit, cookies, and butter.
I met new friends as a member of the welcome wagon, and enjoyed re-connecting with old slicing friends.
What a month of growth! Thank you to the team at Two Writing Teachers.
I can’t tell you how many times I have written about wanting this snow to go away so spring could begin. I wanted to feel the warmth of the sun and enjoy the colors and aromas of spring flowers. That was until I pulled into the driveway today. Warmer temperatures had melted away much of the snow pack and revealed…
a broken fence
a toppled chair and garden ornament
all hiding beneath the snow and calling me to spring clean-ups.
Good thing the March challenge is nearly over. Come April 1st I might have a little more time to devote to my yard.
There they sit floating in the waters in the early morning hours, quietly peddling their feet under the calm of the lake. Their reflection on the glass-like waters makes for a beautiful scene – one to admire and enjoy from my bedroom window before my day truly begins. They move ever so gently across the surface without effort or strain. I admire the starkness of the black head against the necklace of white. Your innocence entrances me until I recall…
The irritating honks late at night that awaken even the soundest of sleepers
The bullying behaviors you display to all the other flying creatures of this lake
And the messes you leave across my yard that have me scooping all hours of the day!
The tribe over at the Facebook group TeachWrite post a word of the day to help prompt writing. Typically I read the word and pass on by, but this morning I saw the word butter and a flood of memories came back to me.
My dad was a milkman and a product of the depression. He oftentimes brought home creamer that was a day or two day past due, but still good to use. My very handy mom, also a depression-era child, would take this cream and churn away to make butter.
She knew exactly how long to crank the churn to turn that white liquid into the most beautiful shade of yellow you ever laid eyes on! She would put aside the liquid buttermilk for her baking and start the process of rinsing the clump of butter under cold water to ensure all the buttermilk was removed. She amazed me with the ease with which she moved through the long and tedious steps, never complaining or moaning about the rigor of the task. Maybe it was because the end result was a glorious tasting butter. A creamy substance that was like a taste of heaven.
And while that butter was delightful, what I recall even more was the taste of the butter eaten with a stack of homemade buttermilk pancakes.
I pull in the driveway and open the car door. I sense movement in the shadows of the window above. We lock eyes. A bright smile spreads across his face. I smile back. As I move towards the walk he follows me with his eyes. His head presses against the glass to keep me in view as I reach the corner, out of sight for a minute. As I near the door I hear the excited giggles and screams of delight traveling through the house. I open the door and see him. He grins and runs towards me yelling my name – Bebe! His arms fold around my neck in a bear hug so tight we both laugh and fall down to the ground in a tumble of legs and arms. Oh the sheer joy and unconditional love of a grandchild!
It was out of my typical behavior to participate in a march, to take a political stand, to make my voice be heard, but this was different. This was about the kids. This was about children’s lives. This was against most everything I believed in and worked for, making schools a place of safety and comfort. Of course I would go!
I made my signs, packed my bag, and arrived in town before the 2pm rally began. I kept wondering if my presence would make a difference. My questions were many: Would I be another voice drowning in the bureaucracy? Would I be another person carrying the same old sign with a muted message? Would my teacher voice be a blah, blah, blah, much like Charlie Brown’s teacher?
Once there I quickly realized that I indeed could make difference. My questions were quelled. I was one more voice crying enough. One more voice shouting no more. One more voice drowning out the opposition. One more voice speaking up for my grandchildren. One more voice proudly urging our youth to continue on. I was one more voice and that voice mattered. As did all the voices that marched on Saturday. 50,000 voices in Boston, 800,000 voices in Washington DC, and the thousands upon thousands of other voices that marched to make their outrage be heard!
I made the good and right decision to march yesterday. I felt proud to be in attendance shouting enough with my daughter and my best friends by my side. My voice does make a difference! I feel hopeful that all our voices shouting No More will make a difference this time. The young people are taking charge. We have taught them well and they are taking the lead in saying ENOUGH!
“My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world. Period.”
Quote from 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King, the eldest granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.