A Reflection on Slicing

Dear Two Writing Teachers,
Just a short time before the Slicing Story Challenge started, I started posting slices on Tuesdays.  I found a welcoming community that pushed me to push myself.  Then, the challenge came and I debated and talked myself into it and out of it, only to put myself into it because I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t.  
I dove in with my own writing rules and developed new ones along the way.   I wrote each day, living wide awake, so I would have something to write about.  I wrote about the life I am living and the moments inside of that.  I haven’t written this much since I was part of my local writing project.  I also shared my writing.
I’m happy to say that I have grown.  I can find a spin on moments in my life that can truly make them a slice.  I appreciate reading other people’s slices and often borrow ideas for my own writing (thank you fellow slicers).  I grew my writing process because there isn’t time for several drafts in daily slicing.  I accepted that my writing doesn’t have to be perfect.  I accepted that sometimes it is.  I made time each day to write.  
As I leave this month, I want to say thank you for the opportunity.  Too often I say I will write, and then I don’t.  Or I write what I must for school and spend little time writing for myself.  This month, though, I wrote for myself because you asked it and because my fellow slicers encouraged it. I now truly feel part of a community of writers with whom I will continue to write with. 
Thank you Two Writing Teachers.  I look forward to your blog posts, slices, and comments.  Thank you for creating a space for other writing teachers.
Amy (agurney2015) 

31 Slices Found Poem

Just as there is a following for Slices, there is a following for Found Poems.  Found poems are literally found in your daily life.  The rules are that you choose a text that is 100-300 words and then you choose 50 or so “good” words.  These “good” words will be used to create your poem.  Your poem does not have to have the same theme as the original text.  You may add 2 words to your final poem.  Personally, I allow myself to change the tense of words as well, but some found poem enthusiasts may not agree.  So, today, I wrote a found poem from my slice titles this month.
Write a slice
one little word
I persevere
and find comfort with a paragraph
Unpacking change in our life together
indulging in writing rules,
nail polish, food pics, books, and friends
February, dark inside
doin slicing with kids
and painting with dad
Spring found change
ringing in lungs
dance, persevere, laugh
calm time for what if?
Good, happy slices each day.

Books I Read

The tears dripped down my face, but my mouth smiled as I closed the cover of my book. I am an avid reader. My mom likes to say that once I started reading I never stopped. I will read anything, but I love a hard cover book. Like anyone, I have my favorite series and the related characters as well as my favorite authors. Why do I love these books? It’s because there is an expectation from that author of a certain enjoyable quality. It may not be everyone’s taste, but since it’s my author list, it doesn’t matter.  Then there are books that I just come across and read because I felt the draw or sometimes the recommendation.  Sometime, I simply like the character. Following a character through a series of books is truly a gift and a well-written book makes you miss that character when the story has ended. Like many, I think about these characters in my real life, but for the most part, they live on the page, and come alive each night when I open my book. Tonight happened to be a night that I finished my book. Just like any good book, it left me wanting more. I want to hear the rest of the character’s lives. But, it was a beautiful ending in which all the pieces came together, and thus, the tears slip down my cheeks.

Happy Birthday!

We were invited to my husband’s cousins birthday party. He is 8 and he is a huge sports person. He will play any sport and for a kid he is pretty good. Due to all of this, his birthday is sports themed. It is also a surprise party for an 8 year old. In order to make it a true surprise we only found out about the party on Friday for a Saturday party. Now this is pretty typical of my husband’s cousin. Ali. We are not allowed to park at the house. We have to park down the road and get shuttled in by family cars. Yes, this party is quite the endeavor.

So, we get to the party via the shuttle at exactly 4:30 as we were told. And then we were put to work. We decorated a basketball cake with Reese pieces. We placed pepperoni on pizza to mimic the shape of a basketball. We also arranged carrots and olives in the shape of a basketball. We even hung up balloons and streamers and lanterns all sports themed. This is not surprising though given this family. They are the nicest people and they are very generous with gifts, but the will wrap then when they got to the shower and will sometimes even ask for tape at your house. Essentially, nothing about this party is surprising. Including that the birthday boy who was supposed to be here with his dad at 5 is still not here at 6. Happy Birthday!

Whatcha Doin?

I was upstairs putting laundry away, and I heard a rustling downstairs.  I knew it was my husband, so I wasn’t alarmed, but I was curious.  We had both been running around all day.  Cleaning, organizing, accomplishing all of those weekend tasks that homeowners have.  So, I yelled down, “Whatcha doing?”.  

His quick reply was “Nothing.” 

Knowing that I didn’t recognize the sound, thus my curiosity, I continued, “Can I help you?”  

I could hear him almost snicker and reply, “No, why, what do you think I’m doing?”.

“I’m not sure, that’s why I’m asking.”

The next thing I know, he’s running up the stairs and smiling at me.  I smile back and he begins his story.  

He has brought up our beach chairs from the basement because he is hoping to box them up to take on our Spring Break trip.  This is actually as crazy as it sounds, but let me explain.

My husband travels for work.  Since he is a frequent traveler, as I have mentioned before, he gets some perks from flight companies.  One such perk is the opportunity to check several bags at no cost.  I have admittedly taken advantage of this on several occasions when we travel together, relishing in the fact that I can bring liquids that are more than 3 ounces. Now, though, he has thrown me for a loop.  He is going to check our beach chairs.  I didn’t know you could do this, but I am pretty happy.

The vacation we have planned is 7 days on the beach.  We are staying in a condo, so some hotel amenities aren’t available.  Knowing this, though, I just planned to buy a chair along with the groceries we would use for breakfast and lunch.  Now, I am a beach person.  I will lay on the beach, properly sunscreened, of course, from early am until later dinner time.  I will read magazines and books, and I will be the happiest person ever.  I will eat and sit back down.  I will walk up to the bathroom and sit back down.  I might dip my toes in the water, and then, sit back down.  I will literally sit and brown on the beach for 7 days.  So, the beach chair is very important and my husband knows this.  This, is why he snickers as he retells his plan.  He thinks that he is very clever – which I suppose he is. I guess, I’ll just enjoy the chair and wonder how we’ll package them back up to bring home. 


The day outside my window is gray and the rain falls steady, forming puddles on the sidewalk and moistening the grass into green and mud.  Few people walk outside and those that do gather their items close to their bodies and duck their heads to avoid the streams of rain.  They don’t hurry though.

Inside, there is a calm.  The heat of spring is not in the air. The excitement over spending time outside after school is gone.  The to-do list gets checked off, methodically, one-by-one.  The students work to finish their writing.  They seek help from others rather than just me.  I walk around observing and answering questions, but they are calm and the questions are few.  I breathe in and out, I am calm.
The gray rain has brought a welcome calm that I’m not sure I knew I needed, but certainly feel better for having.

A Paragraph

The quote of the day enticed me to consider, “If we’re lucky, the sentences will hold, the paragraph will retain its beauty and poise, and the essay will snap into place. Then there are those other times.”

So, as I entice, my students, I grabbed onto part of this quote and wrote.
My 8th grade team is remiss.  We didn’t do something that was asked of us, and we received an email from the principal about it.  Now, this is an extra thing.  It isn’t part of teaching or caring for students, it is more like an advertisement for the school.  It’s not that we haven’t valued it, but like most, we just ran out of time as we welcomed the high school counselors for scheduling and responded to parents with class choice concerns, as well as trying to wrap our heads around the schedule for state testing.
Anyway, our task is to print pictures of things we do in our classroom to display for the school.  I held back because while I value student’s writing, an essay is not necessarily attractive and it’s true beauty cannot be highlighted in a picture frame.  I would have loved to show the student blogs, but the picture frames are not interactive, so I was stuck.  Out colleagues filled the frames with projects and pictures of projects, and the 8th grade shelves sat
empty.  We are bad.  So, we sat at team planning and gathered our materials.  Then they look at me – and say, “We need a blurb about these pictures.”  I think, okay, a sentence maybe two.  Explain where we are in the picture and what the learning task was. Then I see the others in the showcase and they have written paragraphs!  A blurb is not a paragraph says the Language Arts teacher.  I didn’t add that I didn’t want to write it – I’m slicing!
Well, I guess I’ll write the paragraphs.  Hopefully they will come together to fulfill the requirement.