Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 27, 2016 - What’s in Your Notebook?

First day! I'm already 4 days behind! But that's ok! Today's assignment is to write what we want to do in our writer's notebooks. This is what it looks like (it was a gift from a student, isn't it great?) I
This notebook I use for all notes, and it is a mixture of notes from Library/Book events:

Giant to do lists: 

Doctor appointment notes:

As I think about this, I guess first I want to get one of my billion notebooks and dedicate it to writing itself. I also wonder how to do this, as I don't want to carry around more than one notebook (as I carry the other one around as much as possible). I think I will just use the notebook I already have and write whenever the mood strikes. Or simply write notes that may become story ideas. So now that's started! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

You Can Write!

July 14, 2014 Prompt

First, list every writing project you’d like to explore, as though you have unlimited time and energy.
 Always itched to create a picture book about hens who got chicken pox? A memoir about your years as a sky-diving, ninja-fighting postal worker? An alliterative poem about perplexed people who picked pickled peppers? A middle grade novel about death by toilet paper. (Wait a minute; that idea’s already been taken.)
Once you have your list, find the project that scares the heck out of you, the one thing you think you shouldn’t write. Or the project that makes your heart beat a little faster and your cheeks flush with excitement. WRITE THAT!
Kick fear out of your way.
Now, put your list aside and write the dedication of your next book or project. That’s right. The dedication. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t written a single word of this book or project yet. For whom are you writing? Remember, your writing is a gift. Who do you love enough to give the gift of your words to?

Here goes:
Dystoptian Fiction with an Indian girl as the main character
Books similar to Fudge series
Something for Radha to learn from
Something on teaching
Something for my own kids to read
Something like Mo Willems that makes kids laugh out loud and that they can grow with

A librarian "funnies" book - all the funny stories I hear
A insightful look at how teaching at Perez was - the "Christian Vasquez" story - gangs/violence and how it affects kids and their learning from the 6th grade point of view

Dedication to Come...Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Word Hoards


Today’s Thursday Quick Write: Word Hoards

I’ve taken two writing workshops with Monica Wood (whose Pocket Muse books I highly recommend), and in each she did an exercise where we went around the room each person saying a word until we had quite a lengthy list, maybe three to five rounds depending on the number of people you had in the room. Then everyone wrote a story using the words generated.
I called these lists Word Hoards, a term I learned from Beowulf. I’ve done this exercise in turn with groups I’ve led, and keep the list in a notebook so I can go back and find words to inspire me. Over time, I started doing Word Hoards for my characters. I imagine I am one of my characters and that I’m participating in this exercise, and start listing out the words that the character would say, often with surprising results.
This exercise is both about voice because you are thinking about the specific vocabulary of the character, but also about letting yourself go and seeing where you characters will take you.
The exercise: Using a current work in progress, take three or four of your characters and create Word Hoards for them.


For all that I love words and word play, that's all I can think of. I'm going to take it, and add more as I think of more. This will be a work in progress.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taking A Risk


Today, choose a memory from your own life, preferably of a deeply felt emotion (i.e. fear, joy, embarrassment, anger, sadness). Now write the experience as fiction, as if it happened or is happening to your character. It can be either in first or third person, past or present tense. It can as close to the facts or as far as you wish, retaining the “truth” of the emotional experience while creating “fiction.”

This one is very hard, as this is probably one of my worst memories, as well as one of the most clear:

"It's the librarian, isn't it?"
"How in the world did you know that?"
"She's the only co-worker you have ever introduced us to, Dad."

It's summer in 1995. I am newly 15 and my father has just announced he wants to divorce my mother. He says he has met another woman and wants to marry her. Unfortunately for me, this is not a surprise or a shocking revelation, as we share our Compuserve account, and sometimes I am too nosy. I am an avid reader, and sometimes run out of other things to read, or just have time to kill while waiting for AIM to load up. I have read multiple emails from this librarian and ick. They call each other Raja and Rani (King and Queen), and discuss their next meetings. They discuss rendezvous in Paris or Bombay (I only learned the word rendezvous from these emails, I had to look it up in our Webster's Dictionary). 
Rani (the evil Queen?) often tells my dad that he should tell us the truth and that she should meet us. She wants us to be a family. She wants to be a friend, not a mother, more like a fun auntie. She tells him that it will be easier out in the open and with open communication. That is not the way my dad works, his idea of a communication is to spring something on you 4 months later (why didn't you close the door in the winter?!). I can smell my Dad's Old Spice as he looks at me, my sister, my brother, and my mother. My mother is not sure what to do or say, I have shown her the emails, but she was taught to be a good Indian housewife. Indian housewives don't argue or raise their voice, they just defer to do "what your father says" or "wait until your father gets home". My grandparents are surprisingly absent, as they live with us, did Dad plan for them to be out when he announced this? One thing is for sure, I am never becoming a librarian.

Monday, July 7, 2014

You Come Too

First Prompt:

I am sitting on my balcony. I hear a roaring sound that sounds like an airplane but continues to drone on, making me wonder if it’s a helicopter or a  stunt plane getting ready for the Air and Water Show in a couple weeks. I see cars driving by 28 floors below. The yellow taxi cabs jump out in my sight. Less noticeable are the gray and silver cars. A turquoise sedan catches my eye. I can see the beach from here, and wonder if it’s too cold to go swimming. I see people biking along the paths and wonder if I should go to the gym. My period key sticks and reminds me look at new laptops. There are people walking by the gas station, I wonder what their story is. It is a beautiful afternoon up here, the sun is shining. There are clouds that look like wisps of cotton floating in the infinite blue sky. I hear the drone of the TV, Rachael Ray teaching us how to make a meal quick! There are birds flying through the sky and I hear their songs, or perhaps they are communicating to each other, watch out for that car! I hear a truck rumbling through the street and heavy chains being lifted by the building. They must be starting the window washing project, or they are working on the elevators from the outside. A lawn mower abruptly starts and stops, making me wonder what grass they may be cutting. I look across and there is a grassy rooftop, but I do not see any mower perhaps its mowing by the lake, in all the parks. I see a silver plane fly overhead, where is it going I wonder. I see 2 men moving things up to a 3rd floor walk up. I wonder what they are making, or if they are moving in. I hear drilling in the distance, must be one of the many road construction projects that define Chicago summers. We only have 2 seasons you know, Winter and Construction! Sailboats pass on the lake, one doesn’t have any sails up but is going at a quick pace, must be one of the ones with a motor. I see people jet skiing as well. 

Feedback? Thoughts? What to do now??

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Goal Setting

After I joined Teachers Write, I decided that by August 15th, I need to write a book. Enough talking about it and dreaming about it, let’s make it happen. I never said it had to be a *good* book!