#SOL20 Day 26 “Doing Something”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the month-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I am posting a ‘slice’ from my life. I have been using prompts from  Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to explore memories. But today I had to write about a small moment that brought me joy. I haven’t seen students in over 8 days and I’m worrying that it will be months before we get back to teaching. So I volunteered to help distribute lunches to children and families in our town and was able to see dozens of kids as they pulled up to get food. They looked so happy to see teachers and a few even wrote cards for us to give to their teachers. My heart melted. I won’t share a photo of any families out of respect for their privacy, but this is my colleague Cheryl (on right) and a city councilman (on left) and my principal Teresa took the photo. Today I finally felt like I was “doing something”. WIN!Lunch Pick Ups

When the cars pulled up

and the windows rolled down

grins burst forth

from all of our faces.

“Hi!! I miss you!”

a simultaneous… ‘jinx’

from both sides of the window.

A desire to rush up

and wrap our arms around them

was shelved for now.

With 6 foot social distancing,

we showered them with smiles.

as they scooped up the food

and talked about life.

“How is your sister?”

“Have you read some good books?”

“Did you play in the snow?”

Before driving off

we tucked in much love

with waving hands.

“See you soon!”

“Be well!”

“Bye!”

for now…

#SOL20 Day 25 “Flat Cake”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

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We all have so many connections to food. Think of any food you ate in your past and I bet it will be connected to a person or an event that is meaningful to you. Pancakes are a ubiquitous food that has the potential to trigger memory.

What other foods do this for you?

#SOL20 Day 24 “Everything”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

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How do we know things by heart? They are the things instilled in us through repetition or ritual typically. They are often things we love, or define who we are. Musicians know pieces by heart, poets know poems by heart, dancers know choreography by heart, cooks know recipes by heart. Why my mind went to something I no longer recite, but prayed as a child and young adult was an interesting experience. What do you know by heart? What came to mind first? Why do you think that is?

#SOL20 Day 23 “One”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

If you could only have one memory, what would that be? Don’t contemplate, muse, get dreamy, romantic. Dive in, let your hand flying across the page discover that single moment. Go, ten minutes. (p.219)

img_8332img_8333How do you choose just ONE memory? You don’t overthink it. Skim off whatever rises to the top first and go with it. It’s probably one of your most precious. This moment was the most intensely joyful experiences of my life. The birth of my son rivals it, but if you’ve read my other posts you’ll know that three miscarriages preceded this pregnancy. The anxiety, pain, hope, and anticipation were packed in tight like grenade. Her first cry set off the explosion of emotion like no other time in my life. I became a mother! It’s a memory that I would welcome living over and over and over.

#SOL20 Day 22 “Bar”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

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Funny how my first memory of a bar wasn’t one that I patronized and partied at, but the only one I’d ever worked at. I still remember riding my bike home after closing at 2am and wondering if I should take a shower (and wake myself up) or crawl into bed reeking of smoke and beer and get a few hours of sleep before classes. I think I developed a lot of grit in life from these tough jobs and trying times.  Working my way through school helped me appreciate my education so much more. I truly believe everything we do contributes to who we are!

#SOL20 Day 21 “Time”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

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I immersed myself in this quick write and practiced that skill of noticing and remembering but found out just how unreliable memory can be. I mentally put myself there in my room to relive these moments of clock watching and then when I went up to my room to actually look at the clock, after the fact, I discovered my memory of red numerals was inaccurate!!Screen Shot 2020-03-20 at 7.42.04 PM

How many details in my memory are undependable or false? Is that what it’s like for memoirists as they write to remember? Do they grapple with the doubts of inaccuracies? I’m learning so much with these simple exercises…about myself and about writing  memories.

#SOL20 Day 20 “No More”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

When I read this prompt today I couldn’t help but think about my current life. There is nothing in my younger days (beyond grieving loved ones) that commanded my attention to Natalie’s prompt than my current life.

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When you think about “no more”, what immediately comes to your mind? What losses have you or are you experiencing? Does this increase your gratitude or your stress?         Is “no longer” forever or temporary?

#SOL20 Day 19 “Bedroom Window”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

Today I thought about how remembering isn’t just about recalling exact events, but thinking about our perceptions and our dreams that influenced our lives as well.

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What was outside your bedroom window? Was it really? Is that what matters?

#SOL20 Day 18 “ALONE”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

I thought this prompt from Natalie’s book was particularly relevant as we are being asked to socially distance ourselves from others. For some, that will truly mean being alone, and figuring out how to live alone is not easy. Though I am not alone now, one experience with alone-ness taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought possible, and to trust in the adage, “This too shall pass.

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Are you facing being alone right now as we are advised to be socially distant? Are you alone despite the pandemic precautions? All I can say to you is that “this too shall pass” is something to take to heart. I have a friend who is notebooking about this right now and while it breaks my heart to read it, I know one day she will look back and see how she persevered, how she was stronger than she imagined. ALONE is hard to experience and hard to write about. Try writing about it anyway.

#SOL20 Day 17 “Living History”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the month-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. I had been working on memoir and memory practice, but today I will continue documenting my life with the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m trying to incorporate headlines, links to digital resources, photos, and slices of writing to capture our new normal. I ask myself, “What do you wish you knew about a moment in history from someone who lived through it?” and then I try to answer that through my writing and journaling.

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How are you capturing your new normal? Everyone’s experience will be unique-it would be wonderful if everyone found a way to document (slice) the history they are living.