Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rule follower

Is it because I am a middle child, or I'm Irish, or ...well, I really don't know why, but I'm a rule follower.  Take tonight for instance.  It is Tuesday.  Ruth's rule says I need to post an entry.  But, I forgot until Ruth called and reminded me.  Oops, busted!  Now, here I am, typing away.

Is it a bad thing to follow the rules?  Nope.  It keeps my life pretty ordered - or as ordered as it can be - and helps me feel like I have some control.  I am, though, also learning to be a rule-breaker.  Isn't that what writers are: rule breakers? It's all well and good to have rules for format, grammar, and even content, but only if you can play with them, try different things, become someone different.

My students started their multigenre projects this week.  And so did I.  I didn't do one last year.  Not fair.  Not following the rules. I'm trying to push myself to step outside my comfort zone and write a few new genres. Today I struggled with a recipe for breadmaking.  I thought and thought. Edited and revised.  And I'm still not happy.  But, I've got the beginning of the recipe and while I was making foccacia bread for dinner (yep, did that...and followed the rules to make it happen!), I got an idea for how to work "yeast" into my recipe - anticipation is the "yeast" of breadmaking.  Now I wish I'd brought my writer's notebook home so I could revise.

I followed the rules - I wrote my entry.  But I also broke them.  I wrote it the way I wanted to.  I started sentences with conjunctions and I even ended sentences with prepositions.  That's me - rebel rule breaker!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I'm afraid of poetry.  Especially of writing poetry. There, I said it.  I like to love it.  Sometimes I do. When I'm reading it by myself, not trying to "explicate" or worry any buried meaning out of it.  But writing it.  That is so far out of my comfort zone that I can't even see its shadow.  So, why a posting about poetry?  Because my dear friend Ruth has been writing some amazing poetry with song titles from her ipod and I couldn't sit by and not try it...so, here are my lame attempts.  I'm not sure what I even think of them, but I want to try them in my classroom, so I have to try them myself first.  And since I've challenged myself with this blog, I guess they belong here as well.  Be kind. :)

I guess you're right,
here comes good-bye.
You and me,
hanging by a moment.
It happens.

I want you
to want me
for good.
The way I
loved you.
Swept away.

Welcome to the future,
lonely ol' night.
Paranoia in B major.
Blue trail of sorrow.

Keep holdin' on,
you've got a friend.
One piece at a time.

All your life,
roll with the changes.

The one on the right
is on the left,
more love.
Dancing through life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yes, I am a nerd

It is true.  So far on my Spring Break, I have read 1 1/2 professional journals.  Not only have I read them, I've highlighted, annotated, and made plans based on my reading.  And I'm excited.  And I liked doing it.  So, I am a teaching nerd.  I love, love, love reading about teaching English, thinking about teaching English, and trying out new ways to teach English. 

I haven't only read journals.  I'm reading 2 other books for pleasure.  I'm relaxing.  I'm watching too much tv.  I'm even making time for my elliptical machine. But, I love reading my journals.  I have my (yellow only!) highlighter.  My Sharpie black fine-tip pen.  My sticky notes.  I make notes.  I think.  I decide what to try.  And I hope I won't forget it all in the rush of everyday school. 

So, it's true.  I am a nerd - an English teaching, learning, trying nerd.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2nd time's a charm?

Okay, here goes...again...I think I created a blog earlier, but it doesn't seem to work, or to be available.  So...anyway.  My dear friend Ruth has been challenging me to try putting my writing out in public.  I'm scared, but I've decided to do what I ask my kids to do, to put my fingers where my mouth is - so to say - and to let others read my thinking.  I've decided on "Twists and Turns" because that is my life: a series of twists and turns.  Never boring.  Rarely the same.  Always challenging.  We'll see where I can take this...