Monday, July 27, 2015

Reading Drought

Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers
I have a confession. I've been in a reading drought...a serious reading drought. I can't explain it. School has been out for weeks and I haven't finished one book. Not. One. Book. I sit in shame as I watch friends participate in Book A Day challenges and book clubs about professional books and YA books. I continue to order books. I have piles waiting for me...and I don't read them.  The shame spirals. I wonder, "What is wrong with me?!?!" I sit down to read and I can't focus on any one book for more than a few minutes and I refocus my attention on something else. I tell myself, "It's because I'm writing a lot this summer." I tell myself, "I am so busy, I'll get back to it." Excuses. All excuses. How can that happen? ME?!?! Not read? 
This weekend I forced the issue. I made myself sit down, I set the timer and I picked up a book. It's a book I promised to read, as I received an advanced copy. The timer was set, I settled in and started reading. After less than ten minutes, my mind was wandering already, but I refused to move until the timer went off. And then it hit me, "I'm not enjoying this book. I don't like it." And then I panicked, "How can I not enjoy this book?!?! Everyone else who is reading this LOVES it! What's the matter? Am I not getting it? I don't understand, why don't I like it?" When the timer rang, I'd read a few chapters and gave myself permission to feel however I wanted to feel about this book. I found it boring.
Next, I considered my students! I am a teacher. I am a reader. I LOVE to read...and this happened to me. I forgot that simple lesson about enjoying reading. I forgot to give myself permission to abandon a book. I forgot that I loved reading. My readers that never knew the love of reading feel like this everyday when they walk into my class. They feel the dread. The boredom. The confusion. Maybe they feel the shame. The panic. The confusion. It's ok. They need permission. They need to continue their search for that book. The one that will pull them into being a reader. And after that book, the search continues. I need to remember to be patient with my students who just aren't finding any book enjoyable. Remember the shame and the fear and the confusion. TEN MINUTES. I give a book ten minutes and then I'll try again.
I'm happy to say that my reading drought is finally over. 
I'm back to reading professional books and I've almost finished a beautiful novel by Patricia MacClachlan called Kindred Souls.
I'm reading Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke. 
I'm reading books about writing.
There are books waiting for me on my Kindle, like, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 
While I've struggled through this reading drought, I am grateful for it. These weeks and these feelings will make me a better teacher of readers. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Celebrating Space

Thank you to Ruth Ayres for the opportunity to focus on celebrations every week!
This week I am celebrating space. Space to write. Space to read. Space to cry and laugh and live. Space to BE.
Space to be.
There's a terrific blog called, The Messy Middle, and this week she wrote a post about slowing down. She said, "Our lives demand so much motion. But our souls demand stillness." This week, there's been space for stillness. The stillness can be hard, but it's where we grow and learn. I celebrate the stillness and space to just BE.
Space to write.
Writing has been such a focus for me this summer. I have miserably failed this past week...well, I haven't written what I wanted to write. On Instagram, Glennon (author of the blog,  Momastery and the book Carry On, Warrior) posted a picture of her writing space.
I needed to reorganize my space...I found a candle that looks and smells lovely. My pens surround me, as does my washi tape. I have a picture of me holding my sister when she came home from the hospital...reminds me of family that loves me! Googlie eyes that remind me to laugh and not take myself too seriously. My writing room tends to get warm, so I even have a tiny little fan. It's warm and homey and I love coming in here. Thanks for the inspiration, Glennon!
Space to read.
I have my bedroom back. I was bringing all of my writing into my bedroom. It's out now and it occupies it's own space. Whew! My bedroom makes a beautiful reading spot, as does my couch...I LOVE all of my new pillows.
Space to cry & laugh & live.
I celebrate my friends and family who generously give me the space to be me...crazy me...and they love me anyway! Phone calls and texts connect me with those I love who live far away!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Small Moments

Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers
I woke up at 7:30 today. I slept through the night, didn't wake up at all until 7:30 this morning. That usually doesn't happen. I'm awake around five a.m. every morning and most nights I wake up a couple of times. Last night was filled with restful sleep. I find myself wanting a reason for this night of restful sleep, and then I can replicate it. Instead, I'll enjoy it.    Yesterday I met a friend for lunch. It was one of those lunches...we met at noon and we were still there talking after three o'clock. We used to work together and she left to open a new school and life got in the way for both of us. I missed our friendship so much. I missed our talks and laughing and how much we had in our school supply addiction. That led us to stopping my Joanne's to look for washi tape to decorate our planners. We both have the Academic Passion Planners
A good night sleep. Yummy lunch with a good friend. Stickers & planners & washi is good. I'm reading a book, Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. It will be released on August 18th. It's about celebrating the ordinary as extraordinary in our lives...about being present for those "small" moments because our lives are a series of those small moments. 
I once asked Stacey why we write our slices on Tuesdays. She cited this clip from Seinfeld...
Writing slices and reading slices helps me focus on those small moments, helps me stay present and really witness my life. For me, "Tuesdays have a feel," Tuesdays are what life is all about...

New School Retreat

This school year brings changes for me as I'm transferring to a new school. It's a brand new school. It's still being buil...