Slice of Life: Writing Challenge

I’ve done a thing.

I’ve begun an ambitious, multi-year writing initiative in my district that I think could be really amazing, and I’ve got some colleagues who, quite thankfully, agree. I’ve got administrative support, I’ve got the time to plan and build, and I’m banking on the excitement of tapping into JOY.

Because if there’s anything that this world needs more of, it’s JOY.

I’ve been working with a group of teachers this summer. Quite honestly, I felt badly enough that I was going to take away four whole days’ worth of relaxation in an already shortened vacation for us. I also knew that in our time together, I’d be asking the world of them.

Naturally, I baked for them. What else could I do?

I needed to feed them well. That, and cross my fingers that the experiences we had together would be meaningful.

During this past session, all of us engaged in choice writing time, complete with chances to offer feedback to one another. Time ran out before we could debrief (that’ll be first on the agenda later this week), but it warmed my heart to have my colleagues get brave and give this a try.

Below is the piece I wrote during that time. Like most pieces of narrative, it took me in a different direction than the one I set out to go, but oh. That muse.

Sometimes it seems like there’s so much to carry, she thought, as she set her bag and shoes by the door. She shrugged her shoulders, rolled them through a full range of motion, heaved a sigh and made her way to the kitchen, to the dishes and the cleaning and the laundry and the —
She promised herself she’d give herself a break, that she would allow herself time and space and the breath to —
But oh.
Just looking at them struck her. The thought landed with visceral force. She hated a dirty sink. Still…
She couldn’t.
She wouldn’t.
And all at once she felt it, the pushpull, the cleaving of her two selves: the one that had it all together and gleaming and shiny and spotless and tidy, the other a brazen, not-giving-a-flying-fig pursuer of joy and calm, with herself stuck solidly between the two.
She drew a deep breath as she pictured herself astride this gap, this widening chasm between ideal and real self. She felt each foot grounded in different territory. She felt a rumble, a shift..

…and grabbed the sponge.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more updates on our writing journey, and if you have a few minutes, check out the Slice of Life Challenge on Two Writing Teachers!

And, if you’re wondering…yes! Yes, I will be posting more about the writing journey I’m helping to lead. Stay tuned!

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

14 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Writing Challenge

  1. I have learned that the way to get teachers to attend any kind of meeting is to feed them. It is great that you have a group so willing to work with you. I am sure it will be a great learning experience for all. Looking forward to read more about this writing journey. Dirty dishes in the sink – I couldn’t ignore them either.

    1. Yes, feeding is a definite prerequisite. Baking is how I make friends and make people happy. It usually works pretty well for all involved =))

    1. That sounds amazing! I don’t think there’s been any conversation in my district (at least, before now) about us teachers being writers, so I’m anxious to see where it all goes!

  2. I’m excited about your writing initiative and want to follow to learn more about how you structure it a d how it goes. I love the idea of carrying the concept of the slice forward!

    1. Thank you! As for the structure, we’ve decided as a group that the only thing we’re going to insist on for all teachers this year is time for choice writing at least once a week. My guess is that will lead to discoveries and the demand for new learning. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. We’ve had a writing group in my district for the past two SOL challenges and it has been awesome. Best of luck with the group and I look forward to reading about your journey. I was so hoping she didn’t pick up the sponge;)

    1. I was maybe hoping she wouldn’t either, but the protagonist also knows that it’s easier to be creative in a clean space. Echoes of her mother, for sure.

      As for a SOL challenge group, I’d LOVE to have teachers from my district participate. Baby steps, baby steps…

  4. The world DOES need more joy, and I cannot think of a better way to lasso and catapult it than writing. What an exciting venture; I wish you and all the participants well and fully anticipate that magical things will come. It’s already begun, here in the snippet you shared – I KNOW these two selves. They are my own…the grabbing of that sponge, so symbolic. Still, anything could happen…writing is about life and deepens the living of it more than anything else I know. Looking forward to more!

    1. Thanks, Fran! Now that you mention it, this story really *could* go anywhere. The protagonist does grab the sponge, but I guess it’s up to the reader whether she starts in on the dishes or chucks it out the window.

      As for the joy, you are 100% right. I think it’s why I have the support I do with this project – which is humbling, exciting and scary all at the same time. Which means that it’s just the right level of ambition =))

  5. You had me at “the excitement of tapping into JOY” that is such a powerful line.

    You baked – of COURSE you did, 🎖

    I was truly hoping she chose the excitement of tapping into JOY and ignored the sponge.

    Your drabble was visceral to me. I could all but swear you were looking over my shoulder when I walked in from work on Monday. I stood on a similar precipice: looking at the living room shelves making me twitch for need of a good dusting versus the need to to finish writing the chapter on a story while Muse had me fired up. I literally stood at my front door mentally debating twixt the two needs. Unlike your protagonist – Muse won that round on Monday. I dusted yesterday.

    I definitely want to read more of this initiative; it sounds wonderful.

    1. Thanks, Raivenne! You definitely will hear more. Considering that the people around me in real life can’t get me to shut up about it, I’ll definitely be posting more.

      I’m also glad your muse won out. Mine needs to bulk up and get some muscle.

  6. I’m excited about this joyful journey you’re leading. How wonderful to have your colleagues and administration supporting you! Looking forward to hearing more as the months pass.

    1. Thank you! I haven’t been this energized about teaching in a LONG time, so I’m ready to roll!

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