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Chapter One: “With Gratitude”

Slice of Life 31:

To be direct, which isn’t usually my style and therefore I feel a little uncomfortable with, jumping right in.. - Ah. You see how I did that? Not exactly direct.

Here we go…

The past 31 days far exceeded my expectations. I imagined prior that I would be able to exercise a little creative writing, was definitely apprehensive of the prospect of others reading my work, but other than that?… I guess I just approached the challenge the same as many of the other aspects in my life.. Well, let’s just see how this turns out!

I remember the first weekend. I believe we started on a Friday. Roughly 16 other colleagues from my school district were also participating in the challenge. That first night, perhaps it was Friday or perhaps it was Saturday- maybe both- I sat sunken in the over-stuffed chair in my front room, for hours, literally hours. First writing my own posts… then reading and reading and reading.. and commenting commenting commenting. Then came the emails. I’d be reading a post and the, “Blingk!” sound would alert me to another email received.

Back and forth… Friday night and into Saturday. Through the morning, afternoon, and night… I kept my computer on throughout housework, visitors, and phone calls.

March 2…. I’ll let the emails speak for themselves…

“I’m having a ball right now! On a Friday night sitting here slicing and commenting on other people’s blogs!”

“Oh my God. Hilarious Erin. I am sitting here doing the exact same thing. I actually just copied all of your emails and began, “following,” you on my blog. So now I have a nice, organized page where I can stay updated on all of your daily posts. This is probably total common sense, but I feel a real sense of pride for having figured out this little time saver. hahaa… 🙂 loving it too.”

“Me too, me too, me too! We are a wild bunch of girls :-)”

Then we had a lengthy conversation regarding blog etiquette… discussing opinions on the necessity of replying to each comment posted. After which, this continued to ensue…

“Lol….I’ve been reading slice after slice today and am so inspired and moved by the writing voices I am “hearing.” We have some remarkably talented writers right here in our district!”

“Kim! While I was reading your slice you sent this email. Wow!”

And the next day our fearless blogging leader, Dana, sends us MORE names of more recruited colleagues, along with this message…

“I know we are going to have amazing things to share at the end of this about how this challenge impacted us as teachers. But I just sat down to read through everyone’s emails and blogs, and I can’t help thinking that THIS is what it means to be part of a community of writers. THIS is what we talk about creating in our classrooms, right? THIS is amazing. 🙂 And it’s DAY #2.”

And our lovely Dar, encouraging as always…

“Hey:-) Just thought I would stop by to tell you how much I am enjoying your blogs. I am blown away by your talent and creativity!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

There is so very much I can write in a reflective post which culminates such an amazing experience, however, I don’t think I could say it without the voices above speaking in unison with me. THIS is what it’s been all about. I’ve attempted writing on my own before, but I never seemed to find the discipline, the inspiration, or the stamina to just stick with it, to launch. This community gave me all of those and more. It has been a gift.

Orson Welles said, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” Although the 31 days are up, I do not in any way consider this an, “ending,” It’s only Chapter One, and I couldn’t think of a greater group of characters to launch the plot line with. Thanks to each and every one of you- for allowing me to walk through your memories… empathizing with you in your grief and pain, rejoicing in your triumphs, and smiling along with you as you embraced the present. It’s been an honor. Thanks to each and every one of you for drawing the curtains, staying tuned in, and turning the pages of my own story and thoughts. The safety and encouragement of this writing community has helped me develop my own voice as a writer, as well as assisted in the realization of how essential it is for one to write their own story- both literally and figuratively.

High fives around the house.

To be continued Tuesday.

Categories: Uncategorized


8 replies

  1. Beautifully said! I’m with you on how this challenge has done so much for each of us. The sense of community is overwhelming. Looking forward to your post Tuesday…hopefully I’ll be right there with ya 🙂

  2. High fives is right! I love the Orsen Wells quote you included. Writing, like reading, is a social experience, and thanks to Ruth and Stacey, we’ve all become more connected by sharing our stories.

  3. Ahh Brighid. I remember that twinkle in your eye the day the SOL challenge was mentioned to you and your colleagues. You definitely had that “Well, let’s just see how this turns out!” attitude. Which, by the way, is one of your best attributes as a teacher and as a person. Your students, and I imagine your son, are lucky to have you in their lives. THANK YOU and THANK YOU for sharing the gift of your writing with us. 🙂 See you Tuesday!

  4. Brighid… make my heart sing….this is only the beginning….so happy we are taking this fabulous journey together……expect you will have a best seller one day soon…seriously….seriously…..your talent is exceptional….xoxo

  5. I am so impressed with your group who jumped in together. What an incredible bonding experience! I’m glad you will continue. Maybe you will explain what Sneezy Knees means, or did you already and I missed that post?

  6. High fives around for sure! I so look forward to getting even further insight to your thinking as a writer and a teacher of writing. It’s just stellar.

  7. I look forward to continuing to follow you! Ironically, I went on this adventure alone and have found a community of writers! I will be continuing with the A to Z Challenge, so please pop by and leave me a comment occasionally!On to Tuesdays!

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