Monday, July 18, 2011

Good, Clean Redneck Fun!!

I am a firm believer in taking the time to have a good adventure, especially if it's a little out of the ordinary. Thanks to some of my fellows at the 2011 Yellowstone Writing Project, we were able to have just that this weekend. We spent time doin' it up at a local demolition derby, having a few Moscow Mules out on the town (I even met one of the real Busch men!), and finishing the two-day event with a gopher huntin' trip (my first experience). Wow, was it a weekend to remember. It reminds me of the power of amazing friends, great adventures, and the natural wonders of nature.

What will your next adventure be??

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Expiration Date...

Writing Prompt: What do you wish had an expiration date?
(From The One-Minute Writer)

I'm not quite sure yet what I wish had an expiration date, but I do know I am glad milk has one. There is nothing worse that Jonesing for a big tall glass of frothy, ice-cold milk after a chocolate chip cookie only to find it has gone sour. Yuck! Sour milk is 100% straight up horrible. I don't even have the words to describe its curdled, foul state. My husband is convinced, however, that expiration dates are more of a suggestion than a hard, fast rule. I suppose I can go along with that to an extent, but if his theory gets me "soured" some day, Hubs just might reach the expiration date for sleeping in our cozy bed for a night or two.

I also know what I wish didn't have an expiration date. I guess this stems from my never-ending struggle with letting go. For starters, I wish people didn't have expiration dates. I do understand that all good things and people must reach their end, but it sure does stink for the rest of us who have to find ways to accept the missing spots from those who pass away. I also wish good programs didn't have to come to an end, whether it's a summer camp, a t.v. show, a sports team, an educational program (i.e. The Writing Project, and a plethora of other good ideas out there and never seem to last long). It's hard to mourn those spaces without being soured to the forces or entities who ended them.

In terms of thinking of something I wish had an expiration date, I'm still drawing a blank. There are too many things I like and the things and experiences I don't like usually have expiration dates built into them some how. But, I'm curious. What do you think should have an expiration date?

Friday, July 15, 2011


Writing prompt (YWP '11 July 13th): Write about short fuses.

Fusion can be such a beautiful thing. There is beauty in merging together two, three, four, even five or more ideas; finding that point at which they all meet. It's electrifying, really, and can spark our minds as we search for the next thing to weld into this wonderful amalgamation of thought, perspective, words, and experiences. Each idea has its own individual luster. When we dig deep enough, we can find some common point, despite how small or unusual, that links to some different and equally sparkling thought.

Of course, finding the unifying point is often a challenge. To find it, we must be willing to stretch our minds and bust through our own thick habits and insecurities. It's hard work and is often uncomfortable. It can even start the short fuse of our frustrations. But, if we persevere and stay the course, marveling at the differences while also looking for the similarities, we can fuse all of these perspectives, words, theories, and experiences together. We can create our own spectacular art; art that will surely light up the world and linger in the minds of those we encounter, adding to their amazing mess of thoughts and experiences, sparking the passion within us all-- lighting the world on fire. Fusion: what a beautiful thing.


Sam Intrator once wrote in his article Teachers: The Heart of Education, if teachers are not well, their students cannot be well. Over the past few years of my emerging teaching career I have not always been well. There were glimmers of hope and inspiration from time to time, but I was often not well and not living the balanced life I wanted to live. Slowly, I stopped doing the things I loved. I stopped walking, reading, socializing, and writing. I taught and that was it. As amazing as teaching can be, it wasn't enough. I was no longer whole.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to participate in the Yellowstone chapter of the National Writing Project this summer. In fact, the institute just ended today. It was just the salve I needed to help me be well as a teacher and as an individual. The intense collaboration and interaction with my 16 fellow writers and teachers made me well. I can write again and plan on doing so every day! Writing, after all, is what helps me shape my perspective and experiences. It helps me laugh, reflect, and sometimes cry at any given moment. The Writing Project helped me find this again.

So... I'm going to muse about my wandering spirit and adventures once again, trying desperately not to fall off the wagon. More than anything this space is my accountability for my own writing challenge and my effort to support The Project's philosophies. Thank you NWP and YWP. I owe you a great deal.