Resolution: KINDNESS

KINDNESS

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. They sound good on January 1st, but, by the end of the month, generally, they are compromised in a sea of rationales or simply forgotten, drifting with the tide, further and further out into the ocean.

This year, instead of focusing inward on the multitude of changes I can make (diet, exercise, write more, swear less, spend more time with friends and with mom…) to quell my feelings of ineptitude in one direction or another, I’ve decided to alter my perception of what a resolution is suppose to be by turning my projection of change outward: acts of kindness toward others with the simple notion of one person carrying out one selfless act in the pure interest of benevolence.

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In order to create some tangibility to my resolution, I’ve set aside a jar, crafted a label (KINDNESS), cut out brightly colored pieces of symbolically-shaped papers on which to write each act of kindness upon completion. While I’m committing to 26 Acts of Kindness, as an homage to the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy, where my inspiration is routed, I hope to be able to fill the jar over the course of the year with many more.

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And so I begin, with three already completed before the New Year’s even begun with the hope that one Act of Kindness will have a ripple effect to another and another and so on and so on…

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What Kindness

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When Lawsuits Make the Country Crumble: When is Too Much, Too Much?

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In the wake of the Sandy Hook Massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a place I took the opportunity to visit earlier this week, Irv Pinsky, local lawyer announced his intent, on behalf of a six year-old survivor, to sue the government for 100 million dollars for not having the proper protocols in place to prevent an act such as this from ever happening in the first place.

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As a teacher and mom, living only 30 minutes away from where Adam Lanza unleashed his rage on not only his mom, but 26 innocent victims at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, I cannot help but be deeply saddened, emotionally scarred and, not to mention, my sense of security altered as an observer to this event. After writing letters and making cards with my students the Monday following, an activity that helped us work through our own grief, then responding to the request to make snowflakes, which the Newtown P.T.A. asked for to decorate the new school, I still felt the need to make a pilgrimage to Newtown to pay my respects, certainly, to witness the outpouring of love and sympathy from all around the world. Seeing the town-wide tributes paying homage to the victims and the survivors, one sign stands out to me: green and white, representing the school colors, and it reads “We Are Sandy Hook: We Choose Love.” Obviously, leaving heavy-hearted, I also felt this enormous sense of pride that as a nation, in the face of trauma and terror, we rise above. On that day, I felt overcome by love.

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Sandy Hook Classroom Survivor Played Dead, ABC News

When I heard about the young girl who, at six years-old, had instinct and presence of mind that when the gunman shot up her classroom, she played dead, being the first to emerge, bloodied, from the school on that day, my heart wept for her. I thought about the many years of nightmares, the survivor’s guilt, post-traumatic stress, and therapy that certainly would ensue despite her courageous, where-with-all to survive. There are so many survivors just like she who will be terrorized for many years to come, perhaps for their whole lifetimes.

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Last night, on the local news, Irv Pinsky, a local and vocal lawyer who enjoys the limelight, emerges with an announcement to sue the state for damages. In the news report, Pinsky said this will be the first of many lawsuits to come forward and added that he will be representing many of the victims. The suit filed in the amount of 100 MILLION dollars.

Claim Seeks $100 Million for Child Survivor of Connecticut School ShootingBy Mary Ellen Godin | Reuters

So, my question lies in the ethics of lawsuits as a result of an event such as this. When does providing adequate compensation (in the form of health and mental & emotional wellness, in this case) end and gluttony begin? How does one put a monetary figure on emotional damages? Isn’t this one of the reasons our country is so sue happy in the first place? I am so bothered by this because precedents have long ago been established for compensation for mental and emotional damages.

The bottom line is, who is to blame? Is there any one to blame? Lanza’s family? I’m sure they are just as distraught wondering what they could have done to prevent this, for they, too, have lost their family members. Certainly, Nancy Lanza comes into question– owning the arsenal she did, allowing her son exposure to this arsenal when he was, it would seem, emotionally unstable and cognitively impaired, but Nancy Lanza paid the ultimate price. Are schools to blame for not having armed guards standing at their doorsteps? Are the lenient gun laws to blame? Is the lack of support and interventions for those cognitively challenged to blame?

Did we, in fact, know this would happen again, Mr. Pinsky, as you claim? And if we did, are you suggesting that every single building (movie theater, mall, school, office…) take precautions to prevent this from ever happening again? Is there such thing, in this messed-up world, as full-proof safe-guards? I think not.

I do, however, believe this is a call-to-action to see HOW we can prevent something like this from ever happening again. But, certainly, it’s not something that could have been pointedly predicted or, I have to believe, precautions would have been enacted.

From my perspective, lawsuits should only allow compensation for tangible damages. Like soldiers who goes to war, who are often kids themselves, sure they signed up for it– unlike those innocent little children who lost their innocence way too young– but what they see and experience is unforeseeable. It’s LIFE. It’s unfortunate, and it sucks beyond belief sometimes, but accidents, terror and tragedies happen every day, all around the world. They always have, and, sadly, I believe they always will. I’m sure that grossly abundant lawsuits are not the answer. I’m also sure that lawsuits in excess of anything beyond tangible damages only exacerbates the state our country’s economy is in. It’s just one more example of the narcissism that plagues us that I fear will lead to the crumbling of our country.

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May God bless the survivors and victims’ families of this horrific event. I pray for their healing. 

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Post NaNoWriMo: Thank You, Scrivener

So, you’ve written 50k+ words for NaNoWriMo… NOW WHAT?  It’s nearly a month post-contest.

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I’ve continued writing. I’m up to 96 K words, about 400 pages in– 200 ish more to go. Although, now, I really am not mindful of the word count at all; in fact, I just looked it up to provide you with an accurate update. I’m really feeling the momentum; I know where it’s all going, except for the unexpectedly welcome twists and turns I encounter along the way. My favorite part of writing is always when the characters make their own choices in what they do or say that even surprise me.

I’m no longer obsessed with getting it done. Instead, moving at my own pace while maintaining a do-able schedule for me which means writing 5 out of the 7 days of the week for at least two hours at a time. Flow is everything

Which takes me to a writing program, Scrivener,  I learned about through a fellow writing blogger. I’d heard about it before, even considered a novel-writing program, but never seriously looked into it. However, among the perks of being a NaNoWriMo winner are the deals you get. Scrivener.

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I am a baby step kind of person. I’m pretty set in my ways. While I believe wholeheartedly in change, it’s still difficult for me. I always have that lingering thought… what if I regret it?… so I opted for the 30-day trial period before diving in. I’d had about half of my novel written, so I decided to play with the program, using my would-be novel as a guinea pig. Moving the files I’d already created over wasn’t difficult. And because I’d done such extensive brainstorming, character sketching, note taking, researching, outlining prior to November 1, it was really just a matter of organizing my notes into sub-pages. There’s actually a neat tutorial to work you through all of the features. I’m such a show me person, so using my kinesthetic skills to move around the program worked well for me. Two weeks into the trial, I took the plunge and bought the download.

One of the things I like most is the accessibility of which all of my notes and such are at my fingertips. No longer do I need to have 5 Word document screens shrunk to the bottom of the page at a time. With Scrivener, it’s all right there.

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Another feature that works brilliantly is the notepad to the right of the screen. I am obsessive about writing notes along side my writing (formerly using a notepad to do so), but Scrivener allows me to have my notes visible in the corner of the screen. I note what I want to revise, where I want to go with a scene, what I have already revised, etc.: a good source for maintaining continuity.

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Previously, in working on Microsoft Word, I’d have a file per chapter, so during the revision process I didn’t need to scroll through hundreds of pages. Then, I’d need to copy and paste each chapter into a final document. With the compile feature on Scrivener, I click a button, and the program compiles it all for you. The best part is you get to choose your own settings for the compiled draft.

Three other features that I’m making a good deal of use of are the character bio files and the research file, and the cork boards (for us visual types). Character Bio files are just that– they enable you to have a separate document for each character that you can refer to or add to with ease throughout the writing process. Likewise, the research feature allows you to capture a webpage and have it available with a click, so you don’t have to re-look-up the reference pages on the web you’d already found. The cork boards make it easy to see all of your note pages/chapters/characters/research sites on one screen.

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So now I find myself with roughly a third left of the novel to write. I’m moving back and forth from editing mode to writing mode. I’m making goals for finishing the first draft of my novel and even tentative goals for having the final draft done– ready to put out there.

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HAPPY 1 Year ANNIVERSARY: Mirror Muses

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Girl at the Mirror, Norman Rockwell

A year ago, I dove in, head first into the blog writing world. I had no idea what was in store. Just in the last month alone, I’ve reached so many milestones: I hit 100 comments on my blog, 50k words in NaNoWriMo, 100th post, here, in addition to my one year anniversary as a blogger.

I’ve since created a Facebook page for Mirror Muses, I’ve opened Twitter and Tumblr accounts to link my posts to. I’ve averaged an entry every 3-4 days for the entire year. I’ve had 1,027 views, 38 hits on my best day, been viewed by 43 countries; my best month was October and my top viewed post is “Fire! Miss.”

What I’ve learned the most is to be BRAVE!

Putting myself out there was not an easy task. I lecture to my students all of the time about sharing work as a form of publication. And to some degree, I practice what I preach, though in my own little safety zone. I’ve published my work to audiences of fellow writers, colleagues, students– a safety net. I’ve attempted to publish my work to a number of publishing houses and agents, but when I fail, no one knows but me and anyone I care to share the information with.

Putting myself out there on this blog was a leap of faith for me, one I confided in only a few, at first, giving it a test run for a couple of months before boldly going PUBLIC.

One concern I had early on was the kind of blog I wanted to write. It’s taken me a while to find my way. Some of my initial considerations included– a blog about the being a woman in the middle of life (and everything really: marriage, motherhood, career…), the wisdom I’ve acquired along the way, and the uncertainty that still persists. I considered a blog about what I do– teaching is such a passionate part of my life where I could discuss serious topics like pedagogy and content; likewise, I could share the zaniness that exists working with a bunch of teenagers and a crazy, fun English trust. The most obvious approach to my blog was to share my writing, to just slit a vein and put it out there for all to see (and critique!! YIKES!). I think in not wanting to define myself by choosing, I’ve defined myself by morphing it all. It’s become my journey– me looking in the mirror everyday and writing about what I see and think and feel. Along the way, I’ve also considered this a legacy of sorts for my children, for they are at the center of all that I am and do.

Once I put some of my writing out there, I’d poll those I allowed access to it. I cared if they thought it was good, or appropriate, or informative…. I really did care. Until I stopped caring. Because, on my journey, I decided that this blog isn’t really for other people as much as it is for me. While I am mindful of my audience, my vast array of readers, I write honest and true to myself. If I can’t do that, I can’t write it at all. So no more being safe. No more caring if people LIKE it. While I hope they do, I’m not governed by trying to please others. In fact, if I write well enough, I might even piss a few people off or touch a few hearts or make people think about something in a way they hadn’t before.

I became brave when I created a Facebook page for Mirror Muses and linked my blog to it. I became even braver when I branched out to wider audiences to put my work out there.

Walt Whitman writes in his poem “The Noiseless Patient Spider”:

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Like that spider, I’m looking to connect, working endlessly, toiling my web.

 

What I’ve learned about blogging (and ultimately myself) in a year:

I’m glad I went with WordPress as my host, after doing a lot of research and considering other blog spots. I learn a little more about its capabilities every day and my own in utilizing it. I’ve made so many connections with other bloggers whom I’m grateful for. They make me a better thinker, a more informed reader, a more empathetic person. They validate what I do and think and believe.

Just go for it! Put yourself out there. Believe in what you do. Life is too short to dream about what you want, to take baby steps, give into the fears– the fear of failure. No one will take your hand and lead you to your dream. You need to make progress toward attaining your goals each and every day. Some days I make little strides, sometimes great ones that I look back upon from the perspective that I didn’t think I could make: and I did.

Find inspiration in the little things in your day… like an interesting article title…a person you see that does something to catch your attention…a majestic butterfly flittering in your path… be open to all that you see and realize you were meant to see it in that moment for a reason– explore the reason. Or don’t. Simply enjoy the moment.

Be honest. Don’t hold back. Some of my most honest writing are the pieces I’m afraid to put out there because I’ll be judged or they’re controversial ideas that may offend. Yet, in looking back on my last years’ work, these are the pieces I am most proud of, also the ones that garnished the largest audience.

Acknowledge others’ work. Tell them what makes you smile or laugh or inspires you because it feels good. Just a little note to acknowledge their work means a whole lot. When someone takes the time to leave a comment on your blog, take the time to write back. Even if it’s just to say, “Hey, thanks for reading what I’ve written.”

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Goals for 2013

Keep my passion alive

Remain inspired

Take a step or more forward a day

Get freshly pressed

Reach 100 or more followers

Reach 200 blog entries

Garner more responses to my work

Start a community of writers

Get an agent

Have my work published (in Print)

Write every single day (in one form or another)

Pay attention to the muses

A Request for my Readers

Comment please– to keep the conversation going. If you cannot take the time to comment, at least LIKE my posts if you like them, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and RATE my posts. By taking a second to rate them will help me to gauge how I’m doing (what is working and interesting or not) and who my audience is.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for musing with me undaily about all that matters most. ♥

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Sentiments for Sandy Hook

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I wasn’t looking forward to going to school, today. In particular, I was ambivalent about seeing my 4th period American Literature class because it was with them that I heard the first reports of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

On Friday, just after 9:40 a.m. one of my students said, “Did you hear what happened?” I answered, “No,” and he proceeded to read the news that was coming in from his smart phone. At the time, there was news of a shooting and it was reported that someone had gotten shot in the foot. I thought, Oh, that’s sad, and I went about my teaching. Later, when the principal came over the loud speaker, about 1 p.m., I thought what I’d heard earlier must be much worse than it originally seemed. It wasn’t until my ride home, listening to news on the radio, that I understood the gravity of the event. Then, my husband had the coverage on the television when I arrived home. I’d become glued to it– waiting and waiting for the WHY?

Seeing my students again this morning, I shared with them how my initial response had been a passing thought because I/we/society have become so desensitized to stories like this. And, for that, I feel shame.

After spending the weekend checking in to the news and the television reports, going through my fair share of tissues, I braced myself for this morning. I knew I would cry. And, that’s okay. I’ve cried in front of my students before; it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I could not just go into class business as usual; that was out of the question. There is this event that has affected us all, in varying degrees of deeply. Their assignment for the weekend was to finish up The Catcher in the Rye in which the main character, Holden Caulfield, is a troubled teenager wanting to protect all of the innocent children from reality. What better forum for this discussion, I thought. And, so it proved to be.

With not only this class, but all of my classes, we discussed how we’ve been impacted, what we’ve learned so far, we’ve debated religion and the right to bare arms and how the autistic community is/ will be affected by the reports coming out. But above all else, we talked comfortably and freely about what they are thinking and feeling. Brave students shared personal stories. One who was adopted from China shared that she had experienced a mass loss before her adoption and how this event brought all of this back for her. Another admitted she’d had “some problems” of her own, and explained that some people just don’t know how to be happy even when attempts are made to give them the right resources. I thanked them both for being brave. Many of them cried along with me, so I generously supplied tissues. Moreover, I have a student teacher, in his last week of student teaching, I needed to be a role model for him, and at times, he was a role model for me.

We decided to create cards and letters to send to the Sandy HookElementary School which turned out to be a cathartic exercise for them and me. They spoke in small groups while they were drawing or writing which gave me a chance to meander around and speak to them individually. I feel like they became wholly invested in writing a sentiment that was just right. Not only would they be making others feel good by lending their support, but I could tell they felt better in expressing their sentiments.

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When word got out that my classes were making cards to pass on to the victims’ families and the survivors, students who are not even mine stopped by my classroom to ask if they could contribute too. In this time of crisis, people want to do what they can however small to make others feel better.

While it was an emotionally draining day, it was a good day. I am so proud to be surrounded by such thoughtful and compassionate teenagers. Their insights amaze me all the time, but particularly in light of this event. It is an honor to be their teacher.

I’d like to share their work which needs no words to explain.

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Sandy Hook Remembrance

Dear America: Why?

…in light of yesterday’s events at Sandy HookElementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Dear America,

I fear for us. I see us changing in ways that frighten me. I sat, glued to the television yesterday waiting for the WHY? — Why did this happen? Why an elementary school? Why 20 innocent little children? Why did a 20 year old young man want to kill his mother and all that she loved? Why so close to Christmas?

I looked into the forlorn eyes of my fifteen year old daughter, as she watched intently. I wanted to have the answers for the questions she was looking for.

Before I had children, I recall my grandmother saying, “Why anyone would want to bring children into this world is something I’ll never understand.” I looked at her, stunned, really, as she was the epitome of everything one would expect a grandmother to be. Caring and warm, attentive and giving. I brushed her comment off as being jaded– one, coming from an old woman who was tired and didn’t understand progress. I was so wrong. Instead, she was a woman who understood very deeply, for she’d seen tragedies I had yet to in all of my hope and naiveté.

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It wasn’t until my son was four years old and I witnessed the Oklahoma City Bombings on t.v. that I first came to connect to my grandmother’s words. I held my baby tightly in my arms as I heard about the pre-school children who had lost there lives among so many others. I watched the devastation. Images that would become imprinted in my mind. One fireman handing a baby wrapped up in cloth to another. A child’s lone shoe amidst all the rubble. The American flag waving, the backdrop, to ash-stained fireman in the foreground.

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Four years later, the horrific Columbine shootings followed. I was home when the news broke, two of my children two blocks away at elementary school. All I wanted was to fetch them and hold them. I recall phoning the school that day to see if they’d be let out early– no early dismissal. When they came home, my eldest had been watching the day’s events unfold on a t.v. in classroom. I was mortified that the school allowed this– he was far too young and too innocent to see the images of students fleeing, running for their lives, some jumping out of windows, and all of the stretchers that rolled through the screen. My little one knew nothing, but he would come to hear the stories. They both had questions. I answered them as briefly as I could trying to satisfy their curiosity and calm their fears without revealing too much detail. We hugged a lot. I came to fear them going to school, from that day forward, into the unknown and into the knowing that seemingly innocent children could be so distraught and mixed up that they’d take the lives of their peers in an act of revenge. Something like that had never occurred to me before this event.

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Then came 9/11. A day that is etched in all of our minds. For we were all affected in some way. Francois Mauriac writes in the Forward to Night, a memoir by Elie Wiesel, an Holocaust survivor, “It is not always the events that have touched us personally that affect us the most…I witnessed during that dark period had marked me as deeply as the image of cattle cars filled with Jewish children at the Austerlitz train station… Yet I did not even see them with my own eyes.” Like Mauriac, all of my securities had been shaken to the very core by 9/11. The images are branded in my mind like the numbers branded on the prisoners of the Holocaust. The way I lived and thought and believed was turned upside down. And though I had not been directly affected in the way so many had (the survivors, those who lost their loved one, and all of the people who rushed in– the kind of heroism I don’t believe I’ll even witness again), the way I live my life has changed. I am a little more aware of my surroundings, of the people in my midst, of an escape route, of the proximity of my children to me; I hold my children more and cherish them even more than that. I say what I feel even when it’s uncomfortable, sometimes, so my loved ones know what they mean to me.

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It’s all coming so much closer to home, my home. Both in a geographic sense, this event occurring just a thirty minute drive from me, and metaphorically, too– affecting educators and parents and children.

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Yesterday’s events remind me of how tentative and unfair life is. As a mom, always first and foremost, I can’t help but feel empathy for those parents waiting for word about their children who had not been there to greet them at the firehouse as so many other children had. As a friend, who witnessed the grief of a close friend who lost her nine year old daughter in a senseless fire, I can’t help but think what is going through the minds of the parents who lost their children and are questioning how they died and what kind of pain and fear they endured beforehand. I think about how they go home to a pile of Christmas gifts for a child who will never receive them– they were supposed to bring so much joy, and that joy has been ripped from them. As an educator, I sympathize with all of those surviving teachers who were heroes in the face of evil, but they need to go back to work in that building, they need to mourn the loss of colleagues who were so dear to them, they need to find a way to carry on.

This is what my grandmother meant. For I have seen what she had seen and, at the time of her words, I was still innocent of. The trouble is, children are losing their innocence earlier and earlier in their lives. The stresses become greater and the world becomes colder. Gun laws need to be changed– I was never before a proponent of that. I naively believed that guns don’t kill people, people do. But this 20 year old, allegedly autistic young man had been given guns because he allegedly like to target shoot. What if he’d not be given guns. What if he’d not been exposed to violence at such an early age– those video games and the gratuitous violence on t.v. and in movies. What if, instead of that, he’d been given proper mental healthcare. I know I’m making many assumptions here– grasping. But that’s what we do in the face of tragedy. We grasp. For a better way. Isn’t there a better way?

Through the Oklahoma City Bombings, I learned that there are Americans that hate our country so much that they’d kill, ruthlessly, to be heard. Through the Columbine shootings, I learned that video games and bullying could affect people so detrimentally to lead to senseless violence in a school, where our children are supposed to be learning and safe. Through 9/11, I learned that hate for our country extends far beyond our own borders and lives in people who we consider to be our neighbors. Through the Sandy Hook killings, I learned that it’s all so senseless and I don’t know what to believe anymore.

But, still, I hope. Because I have brought children into this world, and I cannot give up hope for their future.

I pray you will hope with me, too, and move beyond the hope to take action– against hate, violence, guns, bullying, the lack of support (mental or physical) for those in need.

After each of these heinous events, proof that people are innately good is in the coming together we’ve witnessed to help them cope and rebuild. Let’s take that a step further– do whatever we have to (and I’m not quite sure what that is, yet) to end this senseless violence. I believe that any action we take is better than inaction.

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Truly,

A concerned American citizen, mother, teacher…

Talking the Talk: Professional Book Club

It’s been made fun of, in jest– I’m presuming– but YES I belong to a “professional” book club, which means we (a group of teachers from the middle school and high school) choose a book with an educational topic, read it w/in a month or so, then meet to discuss it at one of the teacher’s homes over cocktails and appetizers.

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This month’s selection was Tony Danza’s I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had, in which Danza share’s his experiences teaching one course of English at an inner city Philedelphia school for one year that is being taped for an A&E reality show Teach: Tony Danza. While Danza admits the show didn’t meet with success, primarily due to his conviction NOT to make a drama out of the lives of his students. He vehemently fought with producers who wanted to “stage” certain events for a television audience, something that Danza refused again and again. I gained a lot of respect for Danza, who had wanted to be a teacher before falling into the acting business, as he takes the job seriously and becomes quite empathetic as well as creative in trying to reach these students. What struck me most was that here is a virtual outsider to the teaching profession, and in the midst of all of this criticism of teachers and unions and education, in general, as of late, he goes into this school– from an objective standpoint– and sees what we see on a daily basis times six. I only wish the legislators who were making the decisions about the direction of education would put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and do one fraction of what Danza did before putting their uninformed practices and philosophies about education in ink.

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During our book talk, I’m reminded of Mike Rose’s Lives on the Boundary, a teacher who takes illiterate, intellectually deficient, inner city kids and transforms them into students who are motivated to learn by making them part of the conversation.

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The word CONVERSATION being the key to education. “A good education helps us make sense of the world and find our way in it,” says Rose, something I’m a huge proponent of. How is this achieved? By reading (various texts), listening to and sharing with others, by experiencing, by making connections across texts and personal, educational and environmental experiences. We need the conversation: between students and their peers, between teacher and students, between teachers and their colleagues, between administrations and teachers, between politicians and administrators and teachers, between parents and teachers, between parents and students, and so on and so on. Somewhere along the way, communication/conversation has been lost. Even Danza states, “Students retain ideas best through discussion.” We’re so caught up in the red tape and statistics, common this and common that, standardized tests and data driven instruction, that we’ve lost what is at our very core.

While we began this journey (the “professional” book club) as an effort to bridge the gap between middle school and high school teachers, we’ve found that, fundamentally, we are not so different from one another as we originally thought. Inherently, we have the same goals for our students and ourselves. This has become as much a personal journey as it is a professional one. Out of our own time, because we care, we take the time to talk the talk about making this profession a better one. Our conversation always begins with the book as the focus, then moves into threads of topics that stem from the ideas discussed in the book– student issues, climate issues, pedagogical issues. Together/ collaboratively, we are better in sorting out the issues we face than we would be by just ourselves. To me, this is a microcosm of what is NOT happening in education and needs to be.

NaNoWriMo 2012: OUT!

Nano Winner 50k 2012 certif

Well, I made it through the month of NaNoWriMoing w/ my final count at 65, 256. Not too bad. Not anywhere close to completing my book, but well underway. I’m thinking best seller! 😛 “If you dream it, it will come.”

The most important lesson I learned is that, even during one of the busiest months of the year, I can carve out time everyday for my craft, and so I shall.

I’m kind of sad to see it end, as it’s something I looked forward to everyday. The daily, “So, what’s your count?” from various people in various walks of my life was encouraging and I gained a sense of pride everyday, when I was able to say a higher number than the day before. Looking forward to blogging about my progress, entering a thought on one of the NaNo FB groups I belong to, reading about everyone else’s progress whether it be on FB or a blog, was inspiring; it kept it fresh, helped me to look from a new perspective, try things that others suggested. Being part of a writing community is something that was wholly reinforced throughout this process. I also liked giving myself permission to step outside of my comfort zone because I pleasantly am surprising myself with the product. This will prompt me to challenge myself more often to write outside the box or throw a new wrench into my process. I always think “change is good” which is reaffirmed every single time I embrace change, but in between my leaps has always persisted the fear of it.

Would I do this again? Absolutely. Perhaps not annually, but certainly again. This served as a welcome jump start for me– between projects, not knowing where I wanted to go. Now, I have direction. And I’d like to publicly make a vow that each time I participate in NaNoWriMo, to change something up, challenge myself in new ways– use it as a platform for growth.

Thank you to Megumi for inspiring me, my NaNo buddies for keeping me going, my family for allowing me the-month-long-excuse of “Mom is writing her novel,” my blog followers for reading my progress & maintaining interest,  and, most of all, myself for finding it in me to be self-disciplined in reaching my goal.

NaNoWriMo 2012 OUT!

Winner widgets