Five on Friday

Five Things That Bring Me Pleasure (inspired by Natalie Goldberg)

  1. slow mornings where we take our time getting out of bed
  2. coffee with my man
  3. making a connection especially in conversation and reading
  4. inspiring someone else
  5. cooking for others
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Thinking Thursday

Welcome to December!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

When I taught kindergarten the joke was we celebrated everything. I am channeling that energy today since it is December 1st! Advent started last Sunday and I am reading some verses each day and also rereading Mary Oliver’s poem Yes! No! daily.

I typically am not a rereader of books but have been thinking about depth vs width this week. It was recommended to me by a writing mentor to choose some “Book Friends” and reread to see what new perspectives arise.

Here is the list so far:

The Night Circus

Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Alchemist

The House on Mango Street

A book on running that I cannot remember the title at the moment

The Hazelwood

I plan to make a list of other poems and short stories to reread as well.

In the class I teach, Fabulous Flash Fiction, we choose a flash piece to reread every day for the duration of the course. Each read brings new insights and they are fun snippets to share.

For writing, I plan to sink into a topic or image rather than switching subjects when freewriting. I also plan to write more about how I feel about something rather than just recording events.

I am open to new ideas about what the concept of DEPTH may bring to me in relation to growth and learning.

Suggestions are welcome!

What are you thinking about today?

#TGIF

A practice inspired by Brene Brown: trust, gratitude, inspiration, and fun

(T) I trust…

my stories will find their way to what they need to be. I trust myself as a writer and teacher of writing. I trust Chris.

I trust the sun will come up and the coffee will be hot and the words will come.

(G) I am grateful for…

my schedule and the people I learn from every day. I am grateful for my love and this life we are creating together. I am grateful for sleep and weird dreams I can remember and write down.

(I) I am inspired by….

my man, Sarah Selecky, my own notes, and reading.

(F) What I am doing for fun…

laughing, not taking myself too seriously, watching author interview videos!

Three on Thursday

A triptych of interesting resources for National Novel Writing Month I actually use.

I love prompts and use them daily for my writing practice.

Here are three places I gather prompts from for the month of November.

  1. Sarah Selecky Daily Prompts – I use these prompts daily and have since 2016. Centered is the private community space where you can get these prompts and also have space to share your 10 minute freewrites. Join here. There are other perks to this community like monthly co-writing times, Guest Mentors, and special programs!

2. Caroline Donahue NanoPossible – These are audio prompts that are posted for the day only. You can join at any time during November and start writing! The ones so far have been based on word count and a topic. For example, on the first day, we were to write 300 words about a secret a character is keeping. It is fun and mission impossible like! She has a free community to join for this month and beyond.

3. Nancy Stohlman Flash Nano 30 stories in 30 days – Nancy has been doing this for 11 years! If you click on the link you can see the prompts so far. The goal is to write a complete story in 1000 words or less based on the prompt! There is a private FB page you can join after signing up.

Sometimes I combine the prompts to come up with a story I would never write if I didn’t have these boundaries. It is a fun way to play with writing!

Happy writing!

Coming Home: Magic at 8,000 Feet (Reflections and Photos from the Grand Lake Retreat)

This is such an amazing write up about the retreat I went to in August!

Open Your Art Flash Fiction Retreats

Grand Lake (photo by Kathy Fish)

From Nancy Stohlman:

Every retreat has its own magic, its own signature. Even if you go to the exact same location, no two retreats are the same. Grand Lake was our 9th retreat, and no matter where we go–from the tropics to the arctic, in a medieval castle or a Rocky Mountain log cabin–it’s always the people who animate that location. We’ve been lucky, and Grand Lake was no exception. Our high altitude group felt like coming home–metaphorically linking arms with new family and climbing the creative mountain together.

The Grand Lake crew

There is always something wonderful about coming home, and Colorado in the summer is a special sort of magic. John Denver wasn’t wrong to describe the Rocky Mountain High as, “coming home to a place he’d never been before.” Whether it’s your first or hundreth time, being in these mountains brings…

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#SOL22 #last100days2022

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I also comment on at least three other blog posts.

As of today, there are 103 days left in 2022.

For the last several years I have self-inflicted a #last100days project. There is significance to 100 days for me. My son used to tell me when he was a toddler that 100 was his favorite number. (He is 19 now!) It is a nice round number I am drawn to. You can do something with it. It is important.

This morning I spent several hours in writing life related Zoom calls which are fueling. I spent time reading. I did some yoga.

Next month there will be a prompt to write a poem a day which is a common challenge I give myself. I will write to them but probably will not publish them anywhere.

Past 100-day projects have been me writing prompts, writing one random sentence that turned into a story after the challenge was over, and the 100 rejections that morphed into 100 submissions. The 100 submissions project yielded a collection I published.

I am thinking about tarot and writing which I explore daily. I am reading flash fiction and logging details that will enhance my writing but I have not landed on a project yet for 2022. I could revisit old classes and redo them every day. I am still thinking.

I have been thinking a lot about public and private writing and the purposes of each. The why behind what I choose to share and what I don’t. Maybe that will become part of my project.

What project would you choose?

I would love to hear your thoughts about 100 day projects! Instagram I believe will be part of my accountability with this project. If you want to follow me there I am @writertammy.

I Love My Library #SOL22

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I also comment on at least three other blog posts.

A New Library Card

When I move to a new town the first place I visit is the library. I have lived in this area before but never intended to return so I discarded my old card. To move back here has been a blessing and just what I needed, but was certainly unexpected. Many things have been unexpected in this year of 2022 for me.

Yesterday I stopped at the local branch to acquire my card. My license hasn’t changed yet, but I did have the change of address paperwork from the post office. It was sufficient and I was thrilled. The library system in this county is award winning and many of the books I have been hearing about on podcasts were on displays when I walked in. After I had the card in my hand, I went to look for a YA book I had been trying to get my hands on. I have been trying to not purchase novels because I typically will only read them once. [The Night Circus is the exception.] It was still classified as a new book so it was in a different section. I had to look in three places before I found it!

This is the first time I have browsed a library in quite a while. I have the Google Extension on my computer so whenever I look up a book it automatically tells me whether the book is at my library in hard copy or digital. I can click on a button and put a hold on it immediately. This extension has stopped me from buying numerous books and allowed me to borrow them and then not have to store them! When I am alerted my holds were in I just went and picked those up. Sometimes the books just take a field trip to my house, but I started reading Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa when I got home.

The visit had a secondary purpose as well. I checked with the librarian to see if a writing group was meeting at that location already. There is not. Then I asked about how I could start one. Groups started meeting in person two months ago so there aren’t many gatherings on the schedule.

My plan is to use the library as an occasional writing space as we move into fall. It allows me a change of scenery if I need it.

It was a happy moment and another way I feel like I am immersing myself into my surroundings.

How do you feel about your local library?

#happyllamatuesday #happyreading #happywriting

Ten Things on Tuesday

On (some) Tuesdays I write about education and then post to the Two Writing Teacher blog. I also comment on at least three other blog posts.

Austin Kleon style...

This prompt was a favorite list I would invite my students to write to over the many years I taught public school. Anything that interested them could go on the list. I often used my student’s lists to plan prompts on other days!

  1. Ada Limon is the 24th poet laureate of the United States. I love her poetry. Her new book, The Hurting Kind, is amazing. One of her favorite poems I love to reread is, “I Remember the Carrots“.
  2. The concept of mannequins keeps coming up this week. There are cardboard mannequins you can buy that remind me of a posable doll put together with brads I made in college. I still have it. There is also an amazing short story Mannequin by Jean Rhys.
  3. K-ming Chang published her book of short stories called God of Want.
  4. I am attending a writer workshop by Sophie Kohn today and am super excited!
  5. I learned about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone yesterday!
  6. Studying with Natalie Goldberg live is so different than just reading her books. I am reading Thunder and Lightning which I had no idea was a craft book! It is changing my mindset and it is amazing.
  7. Writing community is amazing and fueling to me.
  8. I am excited to host a Topic Talk on Flash Fiction at the end of the month!
  9. Through my writing I have realized part of my self-care after trauma is cooking. This Salt and Lavender website has the best recipes and each one I make becomes a favorite in my house.
  10. My dreams have been vivid and I am freewriting with images that are still in my brain when I wake up!

What is something that would be on your list today?