September, 2011

Dedication Comes in Many Forms

I have spent the last few days at a number of events that on the surface are as different as night and day.

Wednesday night I attended the Ozarks Lecture Series at MSU. While the crowd was small, it was definitely a quality over quantity situation. We had very animated discussions about the history of the Ozarks and I got several leads for new stories. I also got another opportunity to hear the very talented Colleen Appel share poetry, both her own and that of her students. That woman has the best reading voice on the planet- makes me want to write a novel with a female narrator just so I can get her to read it!

Thursday and Friday I attended the MWP Professional Development Workshop on technical writing. We spent two days collaborating with teachers across the state: discussing various aspects of technical writing writing and how to approach it in the classroom. I look forward to continuing that discussion at the OWP MAKE & Technical Writing Conference in the fall.

Saturday I traveled to Mt. Vernon to present at the Not So Square Arts Festival. I led a group of attendees through a historical writing exercise and was so pleased with the results- the pieces all had such distinct voice and unique perspective despite all originating from one prompt. Then it was off to the PBR at the JQ Hammons Arena. The BBQ was delicious, the rodeo clown was one of the best entertainers I’ve seen, the bulls were ferocious and the cowboys hung tough and got in some good rides.

As I reflected on my weekend, one word popped into my my head: dedication. It takes dedication to the profession of teaching to write sub plans and travel to attend workshops. It takes dedication to help students find their voice through poetry. Dedication to write and share a love of writing when you could be doing the chores on the to do list. And it takes dedication to pick yourself up out of the dirt after a 2,000 pound animal has just tossed you ten feet in the air and get back on again the next day.

Here’s hoping you are dedicated to something that brings you joy.

30 Years Later

So it’s been 30 years since I walked the hallowed halls of La Quinta High School, but last weekend I had a chance to relive the past when a group of us attended our reunion at the Newport Beach Tennis Club. I’m not sure how large our graduating class was-several hundred at least, so it was sad that only 45-50 people showed. But it meant that I could talk to everyone, reminisce, laugh, and promise to keep in touch-and mean it.

Back at the home front, work has been all about curriculum development. Besides a few stolen moments (a long walk on a country road with a good friend, a ride in fall like weather, and baking a chocolate cake to die for) I was glued to my computer all weekend planning a 9th grade Greek Mythology Unit, as well as non-fiction text units for 7th & 8th grade. Exhausting and time consuming!

Looking forward to sinking into the couch with a good book and a cup of coffee this evening- how about you?

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