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