Houston: Let a Tiny Spark Send You Rocketing!

With special thanks to Slice of Life for giving writers inspiration, space, and voice

Slice of Life Day 31 of 31: Journeys (my March theme)

Journeys through ordinary days lead us to extraordinary people and places.

In Atlanta, Georgia in 2016 while I was attending the NCTE Convention, I was doing what every other attendee was doing but never admits: numbering my preferred sessions in each time slot, then positioning myself strategically close to a door in case my first choice didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped, praying in advance to not appear to be one of those rude attendees.

Dr. Sarah Donovan was moving through the conference room placing her contact cards on the chairs. I picked up the card and placed it as a bookmark in my conference catalog for my second choice session – just in case. But as she began her presentation, I was captivated by the way she engaged her audience.

I would not be sneaking out of this session seeking a second choice.

At the end of the session, she announced, “If you’ll look on the back of your card, a few of you have won a free book. Please come see me to get your copy.” I shook her hand and thanked her for my copy of Alone Together, unaware of the places it would take me.

The following spring, I pledged to write every day during #VerseLove at her site http://www.ethicalela.com to celebrate National Poetry Month. A host gave a prompt and a mentor poem, and participants wrote their own verses, shared them with the group, and everyone commented on at least three other poems.

When #VerseLove ended, I was hungering for the same manna that had fed me all of April when I hadn’t even realized I hungered for words and creative expression. I emailed Sarah to let her know how much the month had meant, and found that several others were also hoping for a more frequent writing community. Today’s Open Write was born from those seeds of need that bloomed and grew, all because Sarah listened and forged a way.

I’m grateful for all that Dr. Donovan has cultivated in her writing group. She is the reason that I write daily and have come to be a host for prompts in April that will now carry Slice of Life daily writing into the next month as I transition from prose to verse. I’m also grateful for Two Writing Teachers who broaden the spectrum of blogging, allowing tiny slices of life, concentrated moments, to create habits that drive me to stop whatever I’m doing in the midst of life and write what inspires me. Prose writing is sharpened and refined through verse writing, where every word, every form, every technique is practiced and woven into the fabric of other writing.

At the end of slicing through March last year, I took on the April verse challenge. At the end of April, I thought,I’ve written 1/6 of the year. I could do this every day. So I do.

I celebrated one full year of daily writing at the end of February all because Slice of Life and #VerseLove gave me a drive to be an ultramarathon writer – even just a few steps each day of my journey. I find a monthly theme is helpful, and I outline my plans at the beginning of each month so the well doesn’t run dry. i also reflect on my One Little (not so little) Word for the year: Listen. I learn a lot of lessons from Listen!

In 2017, the NCTE Convention was in Houston, Texas, home of NASA. The Space Museum lay under my feet on the floor beneath the session I attended with Sarah Donovan one year after I first met her, and I couldn’t help thinking of the past year’s writing and all the ways teachers launch rockets by inspiring others. That’s what Sarah and Two Writing Teachers and other similar groups do, and as teachers, that is what we do. We spark interests in students that take them to the moon and back and everywhere in between.

Thanks again to Two Writing Teachers for a month of inspiration, space, voice, and challenge for the March launch into Year 2 of daily writing.

Cheers for the journey!

The actual card

Habakkuk 2:2 

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

10 Replies to “Houston: Let a Tiny Spark Send You Rocketing!”

  1. Kim, the thought of endings being but new beginnings was also in my mind as I wrote my thirty-first slice of life in this challenge. “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning…” (Ecclesiastes 7:8) – in that there’s so much more writing to do! We do not run out of stories, or poems, or images, emotions, or words. Rocket-launching is THE perfect metaphor. How grateful I am that you write, that you share it on on TWT and Ethical ELA; that you have this beautiful blog where I so often find myself reflected that I’d swear we are sisters. Your words make me laugh, they pull on my heartstrings, they fill me with awe… you are a tremendous inspiration and encouragement. Alongside you, I celebrate the journey ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fran. I absolutely believe we share some DNA somewhere. I keep looking on my 23 and Me tree for your name to appear whenever they send an update that I have new relatives on my leaves. If we aren’t sisters or cousins somehow, then I know for certain that we are nest eggs. Birds of a feather. Holding pens. Watching. Writing more! Thank you for inspiring me each day with encouragement and for opening my eyes through your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, I read your post after reading Frans, and I swear we must all be sharing the same brain today, although that’s probably a little scary to you both! I wonder if we were together in the NCTE session where Sarah talked about her book. I remember her voice. I found the Open Write for 2019 via Anna and a FB post. I’d written poetry all April 2018 after several in this community decided we didn’t want our March journey to end. Like you, I’d not write—at lest not as much—without this and the EthicalELA community. And I’d be utterly lost w/out my friends in these groups.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing writing journey! I will be heading over to Ethical ELA after this comment, because I’ve seen it linked in so many blogposts now that I feel I need to investigate it further. Writing impacts so many areas of our lives beyond serving as models for our teachers and students. I never felt that more than when the pandemic hit, and the SOLSC and Tuesday Slices became a place of therapy and a historical archive for years to come. Congratulations on wrapping up your SOLSC ’22!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is truly inspiring. You have tremendous stamina–and to support so many (myself honored to be included) while doing so makes a true statement about you as a writer and a person. I am happy to be your writing colleague.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I am learning bits from all of you. I am Kim’s Dad and delighted that she is preaching well with a pen .
    I am tackling two projects I have become more disciplined. I may have some of the marathon approach. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration .
    I did Four paragraphs on one section today.
    Not much. But I like all of them. Felix Haynes

    Liked by 1 person

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