Below you will find a piece written in response to Kate Messner's Thursday Quick-Write with Erin Dionne .
Thank you for this it is allowing me to play with a setting for a piece I want to work on. This was fun!
The smell of manure, I still like it to this day. Cow manure has a sweetness that speaks to me and it’s probably because of this barn. This green barn with the orange roof doesn’t hold 100 cows or have machinery that will milk them. It is the barn of a man who works hard during the day and isn’t afraid to work hard at night and early in the morning too. He likes the idea of having food on the table that he grew.
To the right is the manure stall…all collected, piled high and raked in. To the left is the chicken pen with 99 white roosters clucking away behind the wooden barn slats. You might think that chickens were, in general, pretty tolerant of each other, but chickens are actually sexist. Who knew? In the middle of the barn off the concrete floor, with lots of hay tucked into an old wooden watering trough sits the queen of the barn, Henny Penny.
She was the lone female in a group of 99 males and they knew it. Once the white feathers came in and the yellow down was gone, the attacks were ruthless. One morning, when my father entered the barn there she lay on the cold, concrete floor away from the orange glow of the heat lamp, nowhere near the metal feeding tray. When my father picked her up, she was still warm and flexible, so while the swallows swooped in and out of the open top of the barn door and Trouble, the cat, wound his way through his feet, my father set up a special section for this half-dead chicken and I named her Henny Penny.
I love summer, but that doesn't mean I don't love the rest of the year too! But what I do love about summer is that time, especially for me, in the morning. I get to focus on the things that I love, and being as nerdy as I am, that often means professional reading and personal writing.
I am participating in Teachers Write this summer and one Quick Write assignment was to write a thank you letter. I didn't know what to write, but Be...Like a Tree was written a day or so after. I had no idea, until I reflected on it that it was a thank you poem, thanking my profession, my mentors and the quiet mornings before the kids get up for the chance to learn & strengthen my roots so I can aim higher in the school year.
I find friends in the professional books I read. To me they read like novels of self-discovery, which they are. I find shared dreams. I love Nancie Atwell, Ralph Fletcher, Penny Kittle and many more. I understand their dreams of wanting to tie in those kids and with reading and writing. I want them to use their reading and writing to find a place to be, understand and grow or as Penny Kittle states, "to find the answers to the questions you didn't know you were asking." (Book Love, 2012)
I found a friend in Donalyn Miller when I read her Nerdy Book Club Blog post, Fangirl. These authors and teachers are my super stars. I would love to meet them, but would be struck dumb, probably on both levels, if I met them. By the way, I can't wait for her new book, Reading in the Wild, due out November 2013. See...teenager lining up for concert tickets.
Thank you too, to all the fabulous people who fully embrace their inner nerd and create such fabulous forums as #NerdyBookClub, #TitleTalk , #TeachersWrite, #nErDcampBC and Poetry Friday which allow me to connect with my "stars", to find authors, books and experiences that nourish my teaching and allow me to explore "the questions I didn't know I even had." Kittle
I haven't written based on an assignment topic since Faculty of Education many moons ago. The "Writing" professor was quite harsh about a poem I had written, in my mind anyways. I know I had just found out that the boyfriend I loved, but had moved to California a few years before, had just called and told me he was engaged.
I remember thinking that I thought that I was supposed to be learning how to teach writing, and he'd actually asked for authentic writing and then was harsh. I never did figure out how that was supposed to help me, except that it was a life lesson on how not to treat students who offer there true emotions up in a school assignment. He was nothing like the teacher who taught the reading aspect and introduced me to Nancie Atwell's Writing in the Middle. I guess both have stayed with me though...only teaching memories that I have from that short time in Faculty of Ed...and both, actually, are relevant to my life now.
But, I digress...
So...Sensory Writing...the mini-lesson from Kate Messner's Blog with guest author, Donna Gephart. Thank you for a great set-up. I love all the examples.
She opened the door and knew it was going to be bad. The morning was still wet, even though the sun was coming out and there was that unmistakable earthy, dankness that certain mornings have...of worms. She knew they would be randomly arranged on the sidewalk, trying not to drown in the soil, making the walk to school like a video game of avoidance.
"Mom! Do I have to walk to school? Worms! They're everywhere!" Lily yelled in a hopeful, yet slightly whiny voice.
"Lily, you know they're not going to hurt you and they're good for the earth. They aerate the soil and help the plants."
"Enough with the earth lovin' lectures," she thought. She'd get no support there. So off she went, eyes carefully eyeing the black pitch of the driveway. "The only worms I like are gummy," she grumbled quietly.
Ha! That was so much fun. I tried to think of a smell because I know that's the strongest sense for memory and worms was the first one. Bacon could be second now that I think of if, but my daughter does hate worms. She'll pick up the scariest looking bugs, but put a worm in front of her and out comes the whine...not the kind I like either!
Thanks for the fun!
It's funny or not, but doing rhythmic activities like biking or running...or even driving the car is where I compose poetry the best. It's like the rhythm of my legs moving under me or the sound of the bike creates a beat that my mind can't resist. It's also a freeing time. You aren't directly involved in stopping your children from fighting, timing dinner so everyone can get to their sports, so my mind opens up to its own possibilities. I've always like running and biking, not just for the exercise, but for how it allows my mind to play. Not a bad mix, really. Healthier body and a creative rejuvenating time.
Just realized though...that creativity does not happen on a treadmill! Outside with open spaces for me!
Who Am I?
I'm a Teacher Librarian and Grade 7 Language Teacher.
Many thanks to these forums which inspire, educate and promote collaboration & communication!