Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Secret Connoisseur of Stickers

I love when I can have a piece of writing serve more than one purpose.  

This past month I have been spending much of my writing energy -- at least the writing energy that isn't dedicated to noveling -- on poetry.  After all, it IS national poetry month.  Most of my poetry writing has been inspired by the daily prompts over at Ethical ELA.  Today's prompt (using the idea of "secret connoisseurs") not only captures a slice of one of my favorite classroom habits, but also just one of my favorite things in general: stickers.

Monday, April 26, 2021

IMWAYR! Three At Once

Am I the only one that begins multiple books on a staggered schedule and then still somehow winds up finishing them all at the same time?  That's what happened this weekend when I finished not one, not two, but three books!  Okay, so two books and one I decided to bail on, but still that's not too shabby of a reading practice.

Also, apparently this past weekend (Saturday) was National Independent Bookstore Day?  I was lucky enough to find out before it was too late and I made an intentional stop to a semi-local independent bookstore to pick up some new reads and a few stickers (they told me I could have as many stickers as I wanted -- but I restrained myself to only three).

Did I need to buy books?  No, but this seemed like a good excuse to pick some up and support a local business.  For now, these books are being added to my TBR pile.  

Let's get into the books I finished though.  As a reminder, here is my key for books:

Pick 👍    So-So ✔️    Pan ⏭️    Bail 💀

Friday, April 16, 2021

#NPM | Playing with Poetry This Month part 2

I didn't make it to last week's poetry Friday, but I assure you that I have been working on a number of poems the past few days.  Some of them never made it out of my notebook or past a bit of brainstorming (Do they really count as poems then?). The others wound up posted on any given day's ethicalELA challenge.  I've made an effort to start collecting them all in one Google Doc that I may share at the end of the month.  However, for now, I will post one of my favorites that I wrote this past Sunday.

The prompt, share with us courtesy of Scott McCloskey, was "Day Poem."  He invited us to consider the various holidays/celebrations throughout the year -- things like "National Pet Day" or "National Eight Track Tape Day" -- and then to compose a poem celebrating it, perhaps even composing an ode. 

I absolutely love observing obscure holidays and even making up my own.  I was more than happy and ready to play this game.  Almost immediately I knew what I wanted to write about: the days I have spent so far taking my notebook outside.  Thus "Take Your Notebook Outside Day" was born...though I haven't picked an official date to throw on the calendar yet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Of Wasps and Hummingbirds

Now that my patio is spruced up for spring, I have been making an effort to get outside and enjoy it more while the weather is pleasant.  All too soon I know it will get unbearably hot -- likely to the point where being indoors in the air conditioning will outweigh my desire for peaceful patio surroundings. While the view is quite nice, there is one problem with my new writing retreat even without the heat: I cannot stand bugs.  

Specifically I cannot stand wasps.  It's not that I'm allergic or anything, but after getting stung too many times as a kid by vindictive yellow jackets, I'd rather not repeat the experience with their distant cousins.  I know it is unlikely that they will come after me and will likely leave me alone if I leave them alone; however, that is difficult to do when they insist on dropping out of the air to check out my current reading.  It's reached the point where I tense up and jerk away when I hear the tell-tale buzzing.  I just want to be left alone!

However, as I have recently learned from experience, they are not the only creatures to buzz as they move about.

The other day while curled up with a book and my dog, I heard the loudest buzzing to date.  I jerked up in attention, completely on edge, only to spy not a giant wasp, but a curious hummingbird.  Maybe it's been too long since I've been close to a hummingbird.  Usually I only spy them briefly at a distance from my window: there and gone.  However, thanks to my new hummingbird feeder I have noticed a pair of them popping by the past few days.

Sadly, they were just as quick to leave as they were to arrive, but I'm confident they'll find their way back to the feeder.  They're certainly more welcome around here than the wasps.

Update: I have decided to name one of them Aldrin...as in Buzz Aldrin, due to the sound he makes.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Weekend Coffee Share | Patio Make Over

Welcome back, friend.  

I'm glad you could stop by and visit.  Did you notice something new?  Well, my parents were by this morning and we were able to spruce up my apartment patio area with flowers, plants, and a new set of windchimes.  Best of all, my mother gifted me a cafe table and chair that she had originally found by the side of the road.  I had mentioned how I wanted to write outside more, but my furnishings at the time were less than ideal for it.  

Cue my mother saying "Oh.  I have a table out back that might work for that."  

And, sure enough, it fits perfectly on the patio and is the right size to hold my laptop, a cup of coffee, and allow me to actually sit up in the chair instead of slouching over my portable lap desk.  

My dad contributed to my patio make over by putting up some mesh wire so that my dog could not slip out between the bars and as of this writing he's currently lounging out here and enjoying the view with us. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

If Ever There was a Door


I stopped at the end of the trail.  The contrast between the forest around me and the field beyond me was stark to say the least.  It was like a border.  Perhaps I've read too many fantasy novels, but all I could imagine was that if I stepped over the abandoned rubble with my dog and my friend we would be transported to another realm.  

I wish I could say I was writing this slice on the other side of a grand adventure, but that is not the case.  However, I do not want to disparage the lovely patch of grass my friend, my dog, and I came upon during our walk this past Sunday.  The weather was warm, the skies were a shade of blue that can never be properly captured on film much less written word, and this field was tucked at the end of a small hiking trail near a river-side boat launch.

My friend and I had come prepared to draw and write in our notebooks, but instead we spread our blankets out among a field of vibrant grass and clover.  Perhaps it wasn't the fantastical world of elves and fairies, but it was for a moment a world separate from the weight of responsibility and expectation.  There's magic in that alone. 

And certainly that's the best way I can describe the feeling of stretching out and lying down in a secret field. I don't know if I've sprawled out in the grass like that since I was a child.  The sun shining bright -- so bright, that when you open your eyes again all of the colors are off -- and the sky stretching above me as though reflecting all of the possibilities that exist in this world.  My friend, my dog, and I all took a moment to enjoy this parallel world, but all too soon we had to leave.

I now have a better understanding for those stories where mortals leave this plane and elect to stay in fairy world forever.  

Monday, April 5, 2021

IMWAYR! In Space!

I did not write about what I was reading last Monday.  I chalk that up to focusing on my writing only last week as it was the final week of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  However, this Monday seems like a good day to discuss and update you all on the reading I've been doing.

As a reminder, here is my key for books:

Pick 👍    So-So ✔️    Pan ⏭️    Bail 💀

Finished Reading

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, (👍) I finished this book a few weeks ago and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It's the story of a refugee family and how they came to live in Oklahoma.  The story blends the real events of Daniel's life, both before and after fleeing his home country, with the fantastical elements of the mythology and stories he grew up hearing.  He makes several references to the 1001 Nights and that analogy certainly holds true to the story telling method being used.  I love how this book captures the feeling of someone sitting by your bed and telling you a story.  It's a rich in detail and beautifully written.  

Currently Reading

After Moses by Michael F. Kane, This sci-fi novel reminds me so much of anime like Cowboy Bebop and tv shows like Firefly.  I love sci-fi that stays close to home and explore how colonies on Mars, Jupiter's moons, and other celestial bodies might look.  The crew of the Sparrow have already endeared themselves to me and I actually enjoy how this novel manages to be episodic in a way that is similar to the two shows I mentioned above.

Bonus?  The author is one from my neck of the woods.  It's always great to get a chance to explore local authors.

2021 Reading Goal: 27/75


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog link co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for kids and young adults.  The original IMWAYR focusing on adult lit was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is currently hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Weekend Coffee Share | Breaking Bread and Poetry


With March at an end, I've also seen the end of my Slice of Life Story Challenge writing.  Writing a blog entry every day for 31 days was quite the feat, and I'm happy to report that I was successful in it.  I'd say it's the project that helped me find a purpose in blogging again and, after all, it's how I came to find this lovely community for sharing my week over coffee.  Although, if I'm being honest, at the moment it's a little late for coffee.

I thought in April I'd shift my focus back to novel writing, but the past few days I've found myself diving into poetry over at #verselove on Ethical ELA.  It's hard not to when April is National Poetry Month.  It's been a joy to dabble and experiment with low stakes writing.  I've always been a fan of poetry, but I have to make sure that it doesn't completely overshadow my noveling.  I've got a project to finish after all, luckily I have an excellent writing group continuing to cheer me on and I know they'll help keep me focused on my novel commitments. 

Of course, I do have other projects ongoing and now that it's April it's time to revisit my monthly personal challenge of a new bake for every month of the year.  Earlier this year I set the goal for myself to try a new recipe: January and March were both cookies and February was probably my favorite (a rather fancy coffee-based brownie).  Last year, when quarantine began, I joined the rest of the population in learning how to bake bread.  That was my first time baking bread of any kind and it was a pretty big hit.  I thought this month would be a good time to focus on enriched doughs, another thing I've never baked before.
Specifically I made hot cross buns using a recipe from "A Literary Tea Party: Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo and Book Lovers Everywhere."  It's apparently a pretty popular Easter bake and so it seemed appropriate to make it this weekend.  The buns turned out to be pretty tasty.  While I don't think I'll be presenting them to Paul Hollywood any time soon, but my mom certainly approved of them and that's what counts most.

It may be late for coffee, but it's certainly still chilly enough.  Tomorrow's weather promises to be just as gorgeous as it was today and maybe even a little warmer.  I look forward to getting out and doing some exploring while the weather holds and before the infamous southern summer makes the outdoors unbearable.  I hope you'll come again for a drink next weekend and maybe then this will be a better chance for coffee.

This is part of the Weekend Coffee Share Link-Up as hosted by Natalie the Explorer.  Check out her blog and the link up and join us for a beverage of your choice.

Friday, April 2, 2021

#NPM | Playing with Poetry This Month

As we leave one month of challenges we enter another. I stated in my last post, the SOLSC challenge has ended and we have now entered April which is National Poetry Month and also considered by many to be National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). 

Last year during this time, I was still on my old blog with Word Press. I didn't post a poem every day, but I did make an effort to write one every day. I enjoy the lower stakes of that, as some poems just need to take seed in my notebook before I return to them.