Thursday, June 30, 2016

On Teachers Write today, we had a Quick Write which included a little lesson about metaphors from Liz Garton Scanlon.

Here is my attempt at making a metaphor out of two seemingly unrelated words, an emotion and an object, randomly put together.  To find out how to practice or teach this to your students, click on Quick Write link above.

Worry is like a river.  It runs on and on and never tires even though the depth may change.

Heat is like a meadow.  The sun beats it down all day without reprieve.

Fear is like the wind in a tree.  It ruffles every leaf and penetrates your whole being.

Exhausted is like a fishing pole.  It tires after working all day to make only one catch.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Slice # 3 - Writing Goals

Last year, I signed up for Teachers Write, on Kate Messner's blog, but it started right during our I didn't follow through.

This year, I signed up for Teachers Write, and it started right during our vacation...but, I have set goals, and I think it will be an amazing journey!

This week, we are in the mountains of Montana along Rock Creek River in a one-room cabin.  Wi-fi will be limited, but won't hinder my summer writing journey.  It will enhance it.

I have a bit of a rule-follower personality, so I have learned to take advantage of this and set rules for myself.

Rule #1: Join in with Teachers Write whenever I can.
                This means, I give myself permission to not attend perfectly, the way
                I like to do things.
                Catch up if I've missed a day.
                Read the post when I'm in town.
                Write when I can.

Rule #2: Keep up with my writer's notebook by writing every single day.
               This means, no excuses for not writing something.
                I can repeat a quick-write.
                I can hone in on my observation skills.
                Take advantage of this beautiful place with such clean air, beautiful
                scenery, roaring rivers, and wondrous creatures. observe. write.

Rule #3: If I need something more - keep working through The Writing Book
               by Kate Grenville.
               I don't remember where I saw it recommended or I'd give you credit.
               It is helping me to keep unlocking the subconscious ideas I already
               hold within me.

Rule #4: Enjoy my family - after all, this is vacation!

These are my writing goals for this summer, and I anxiously await my journey.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Seventh Wish

The Seventh Wish
by Kate Messner
Published: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
June 7, 2016

Kate Messner hits a very difficult topic out of the park!  She addresses the difficult, heart-wrenching topic of addiction in a family member of an innocent Charlie, a fifth grade girl...and it is her big sister.  I read the book straight through in a couple hours and had tears in my eyes.  With the magic of wish fish, ice fishing, and Irish dancing, the topic is dealt with an age appropriate way.  Of course!  I would expect nothing less from a Kate Messner book!

Though the stories are all different, many families deal with some form of addiction.  Maybe it is even a friend's family.  Unfortunately, this book will definitely speak to many children in this day and age. I wish it weren't true.  I wish children's lives were not affected by such things.  But, we are burying our heads in the sand if we think they aren't.  Thank you Kate Messner and Bloomsbury USA Childrens for this amazing book which addresses such a difficult topic in such a sensitive way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Slice #2 - A Different World

My youngest son finished his sophomore year before Memorial Day.  (I had another week in the library).  We went on a quick trip with some friends to Belize.  We met this amazing 4 year old who keeps coming back to mind.  This little guy has grown up in such a different world which is so apparent by his comfort in and around the water.  It was fascinating to watch.

This little guy is the son of our snorkeling guide.  He is totally competant on the boat, helping the whole entire time.  For real help, not a parent-appeasing-his-young-son's-desire-to-be-a-part-of-things help.  He climbs up on the boats hull to untie or tie up the boat.  If it takes him 4 tries to haul himself up there, he does it 4 times.  No whining - no complaining, just grabs the rope and pulls himself up there.  Once we are moving, he hops right up on his high seat and sits there until he announces, "We almost to the reef, we almost to the reef".  His speech and size are the only things that remind you that he is only 4.

Once we are at the snorkel sight, he quietly dons his mask, snorkel, and flippers and jumps right in.  He brings new meaning to the phrase, "swims like a fish".  As he swims, he points at things and shouts under the water for his Dad to look.  He even dives down to point at things.  The water was kind of rough.  If he  needs a moments rest, he just grabs the orange life saver ring that his dad holds by a long rope in case any of us needs a break.  After about an hour, when we are back on the boat, the little guy again runs to the front hull of the boat to untie us from the buoy.  Never once asked, never once told.  

Next, we make a stop at a different section of the reef where the nurse sharks are definitely used to being fed.  The boats come in and throw in baitfish.  All of a sudden, there is a feeding frenzy of fish.  I'm thinking those nurse sharks then feed on the frenzying fish, though I didn't see that happen.  The guide, my hubby, and son all get in the water to snorkel-see this.  I was done.  I stay on the boat and so does the little guy.  He opens the baitfish tank and grabs his little net to scoop a bait fish.  Picking the fish up with his hand from his net, he throws it in to watch another feeding frenzy.  After a few times, a wise bird comes along and hovers over us, wanting to catch the bait in the air.  The little guys eyes the bird, eyes the fish, back and forth, and then whips the bait in the water for a feeding frenzy and giggles.  He beats the bird at his task.  He does it over and over giggling the whole time until we have counted down the last 5 fish.  He scrunches up his nose and asks, "You no like sharks?  Why you no like sharks?".

What a different world!  I had to get this out of me.  Thanks for listening, or ... reading.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Blue Bath

The Blue Bath
by Mary Waters- Sayer
Published: St. Martin's Press
May 3, 2016

First, I want to thank NetGalley, Mary Waters-Sayer and St. Martin's Press for this beautiful read in exchange for an honest review.  I was drawn to this book by that gorgeous cover.  I got lost in the book by it's artistic prose about the meager starving artist beginning for Daniel and Kat paired with the later mystery and intrigue taking place in the high finance London art world.

My Review:
I think this is a fantastic first book my Mary Waters-Sayer.  There were things that I absolutely loved about it.  For one, the premise of the story flashing back from Kat's unexpected reignited affair with Daniel in London to her 19 year old romantic tryst with him in his small Paris loft/art studio when he was a starving artist.  It was done in such an artfully sensual way.  Secondly, the end was filled with mystery bordering on a psychological thriller, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Daniel was actually pretty mysterious throughout the book.  We never really got to know his character even though he was central to the story.  That added intrigue for me.  

On the down side, it was hard to believe Kat's professed "true love" for him because I felt like she really knew nothing about Daniel.  There was no friendship or multiple levels of relationship in this magnetic attraction - just love in Kat's words, or lust in mine?  It was sometimes a typical starving artist / innocent college girl story.  What was not typical was Mary's beautifully descriptive phrases which made me stop and think several times.  "A fine mist of rain was falling around her, obscuring the red brick buildings, blurring their hard edges so that they dissolved into pavement, melting into their own reflections on the slick streets."  Yes, there are a lot of rainy days in London, and that was quite a poetic description of them.  Other times it was too much, like a full paragraph description, though beautifully worded, for a small aside of a hung over roommate removing her necklace. 

I'm very glad I read The Blue Bath.  It is not my typical read, but it stuck with me, which is a true measure of a good book for me.   

They Summary by Goodreads:
Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.

When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.

Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat's lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.