Happy Poetry Friday! Thanks for joining me for a visit this week. Matt is hosting this week at his space Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Join him for the rest of the round-up offerings!
Everyday a new set of current events and topics to ponder present themselves as focal points in our daily lives. While I believe it is very important for us to stay up to date with the happenings and possibilities that we may face in the future, I think it is equally important to stay centered in the now.
However, staying grounded in the now, does not always come so easy. In my own experience, I have noticed too often that the thoughts and sometimes worries about the future distract me. And somehow, before I've even realized it, I have given my full attention to something in the future that might not ever happen. As a result, I end up feeling as though I may have missed something extremely valuable and meaningful in my current reality. This tends to be a struggle for me both as a writer and as a person who cares deeply about the natural world as well as the small intricacies of ordinary life.
Whenever I sense this tension, this struggle, I do what I always do. I write. This kind of fast and furious writing in my notebook, allows me to document my thinking about the future, so that I can continue living in the now. By both acknowledging my questions and fears, I can create a space in time that gives me the freedom to plant myself in the moment to write the immediate thoughts of my mind. Writing provides an invitation and the the room to welcome balance in our lives.
Invitation to Write:
Writers have different ways to balance their past, present, and future thoughts. For example, many writers choose to blog about ideas and issues that they are immediately responsive to. Other writers may choose to log their daily thoughts in a journal or notebook. Some writers do both! How do you choose to document your current and future thoughts for safe keeping? Where do you find balance in your writing life?
Welcome! I'm so glad you are here visiting today. After your stop here at the ridge, be sure to sail over to Donna's space Mainely Write, where she is hosting the round-up for us.
I'm glad to be back with my Poetry Friday friends this week. I have been away hosting my other dear friends and members of the CSISD Writing Project. This is the third year that our school district has offered The Heart of Texas Writing Project professional development for the teaching of writing. This summer institute is truly a transformative experience for the participants. As teacher consultants, we are honored to be in a room full of teacher writers so dedicated to providing authentic writing instruction for their students. In celebration of our week together as writers, I am sharing a few pictures that capture our work and a piece inspired by these writers with wings.
Writers with Wings
With many voices all coming together to learn and grow as writers, the room became a safe place. It became a space to question, a space to explore, and a place to feel stuck. So we dreamed a little dream together. We imagined this not only for ourselves, but for our students. And in the midst of that dream, we opened our hearts and dared our minds to give that dream flight, to give it wings. We vowed to give our students those wings to stretch out and fly into this world as thinkers and as writers. For on the wings of a writer, humanity is restored. And the space between words and this world, is only as wide as our desire to fill it.
Invitation to Write:
Discovering and exploring your identity as a writer is often a great place to begin your writing life. Spend some time getting to know yourself by writing inside your notebook. Write widely and often. Read and reread. Give yourself some grace. Focus on what is there rather than what is not. It is through a lens of appreciation that we must learn to view our own writing. It is through this lens that we may begin to expect and welcome the sound of our own words pitter-pattering upon the page. It is through this lens that we mine the words of others, those writers at heart.
Welcome Poetry Friday friends! It's great to be back with the Poetry Friday community this week. To join in the fun this last week of June, head over to Diane's space at Random Noodling.
Some nights, I have a really hard time sleeping. I find myself wandering into the darkness of my sleeping house. There's something quite magical that happens late at night when my mind is still awake. It is during those times, that I reach for my notebook and write. I let my imagination run wild, allowing the night time world to whisper its stories and secrets. The poem I am sharing this week has a bit of the magic and whimsy I experienced one night. I wish each of you a night of mystical writing, too1
Invitation to Write:
If you ever have trouble sleeping, writing in your notebook can often soothe you right to sleep. I like to keep a notebook by my bed in case I can't sleep, or if I want to scribble down a dream I want to remember. So many magical ideas can come late at night in the quiet dark. Before you sleep away, jot your thoughts down so they are sure to not slip away!
Welcome to the ridge! Thanks for stopping by this week. For more of the Poetry Friday collection, visit Carol at Carol's Corner.
I am back this week from my relaxing trip to the beach. I took advantage of the ocean's poetic whispers while I was there. As I sat on the shoreline, I started generating a list in my notebook. I used my five senses and the imagery of this coastal scene to get some words onto the page. Then, I started playing with the words and phrases from my list. The result is my "Ocean Scene" poem. Working from a list is a quick strategy I use often to get my ideas flowing.
Invitation to Write:
Try creating a word list in your notebook. Once you have your list, try putting words and phrases together. Play with different combinations until you find one you like. Collecting lists can be great fun!
One of my favorite things to write about is the moon. It's one of those objects that has intrigued and fascinated me ever since I was a little girl. I believe that the moon holds great power and mystery. It's often written about in poems and songs as having great significance and enchantment. I have many entries in my notebook that include the moon, but today's poem seemed to really fit this time of year. Whenever I'm feeling a little off track with my writing, I can always find my way back by looking up to the moon.
If you are ever in need of a little writing inspiration, you might try looking to the moon or any other object that has great significance to you. Even the constant objects of our world can evoke a great feeling of power and change within us.
A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents back home. My mom and I were sitting out in the backyard just before dark. I was sitting there thinking about all the memories I have of this special place. It became clear to me that no matter how much a place may change, the way I feel about it and the memories that are there will always remain. This isn't just any backyard to me, it's a magical place that I know well. As I thought more about the attachments we form to certain places, I began to take in all the sights and sounds around me. That's when I heard the sound of whistling ducks and the pair of owls overhead. These were common sounds and sights from my childhood, so I just sat there in awe of what was taking place. Today's poem reflects my moment in a special place I know by heart.
Invitation to write:
Sometimes thinking about the places we know really well, can spark ideas to write. Think about a place, or go there if you can, and let your thoughts of that place surround you. Try writing about the past, present, or future of that place.
Since Thanksgiving is next week, I have been thinking a lot about the word harvest. Most of the time when we think of a harvest, we think of the gathering of crops. But a harvest can be anything that we intake or collect.
A few mornings ago, I stood at my open window in awe of all the marvelous shades of brown and gold in my yard. I never thought of brown as being such a wondrous color, until I took in all of it's color variations in the fall leaves and grasses around my home. Now I see brown in a totally different way. You might try harvesting a color, too!
Invitation to write:
Try paying attention to the way things move and then try describing that movement in detail. Think about the objects around you or in nature. For example, you might try thinking about a bicycle, a clock, or maybe one of your favorite animals.
Invitation to write:
Even moments that we spend at little places that we love can spark ideas for writing. Think of the everyday moments you spend in your room, your yard, or even around the kitchen table. These little places can hold great significance for us. Sometimes thinking about the places we spend our day and the conversations or habits that happen within those places, can turn out to be a great starting point for getting our writing going.
Invitation to write:
Sometimes when we allow ourselves to listen to the sounds of nature all around us, we end up imagining what the natural world might actually have to say to us. So whenever you are outside with nature, try to stop, listen, and even have a conversation with some of her friends.
It's fair season! This week, the Brazos Valley Fair was the happening place to be. I started thinking about all of the wonderful memories I have of my experience at the fair. It is full of so much excitement and opportunities for fun around every corner. This poem comes from my own memories of the fair and as it might be seen through the eyes of two little boys, one day at the fair.
Sometimes when I am drafting a poem, I look for patterns that turn up between the lines. One of the first things I did was to think of a list of different things I remembered about the fair. I noticed that many of the words I had written began with the same first sound, so I decided to group those words together to roll off the tongue as you read down the list. Next, I counted the syllables in each line to see if any patterns emerged. You can see in my draft how I played with the arrangement of the lines, until I had the meter I was looking for. Before I was satisfied with the final poem, I read it out loud a few times to make sure I had the sound just write. So whenever you write your next poem or really any next piece, you might try looking for patterns and see where that leads you.
Last weekend I was sitting in the yard watching the boys play a game of flag football. The air was new from a cool front and the sunlight streaming through the trees gave just enough visibility to see the tiny gnats flying through the air. I felt like I had slipped into a beautiful dream. The world just seemed so surreal to me in that moment. Here is a poem inspired by my daydream on that perfect October day.
A common thread in our daily life is to day dream. Daydreaming allows us to step into a world of our own creation or place to follow our thoughts to reason. When you find yourself daydreaming, try to tap into the thoughts of your mind and the world around you. There is much to discover about ourselves when we let a little dream into our writing lives.
I read another article the other day that stressed the importance for teachers of writing to write. It does make so much sense, and it is a fundamental belief that I advocate for whenever I talk with other teachers. The article also went a step further by suggesting that kids need to see adults writing. This includes parents who write to and with their child. In another article found here on the National Writing Project site, you will find different writing activities aimed at encouraging families to write together at home. I think this is a positive step toward increasing an awareness of the art inside of writing.
You can find the complete article from the blog site here
I have been thinking a lot lately about all the life that exists inside the notebook. As I thumb back through my notebooks, I notice a crinkled page where I spilled some water during one of our Sunday drives in the golf cart. On another page, I found a smear of dried up clay from down in the gully where I sat one day, writing one of the scenes of my novel. These remnants are a great accomplishment to me. They represent time and pieces of my life that I have documented in my notebook forever.
So, I had to share this entry written by my four year old, Zane. It was just another day here on the ridge. We were back at the climbing tree and the boys were climbing and playing as usual. I had been taking my notebook each time we went to the climbing tree so that I could write while they played. I was just getting the title on my entry when Zane came over and asked if he could write in my notebook. I gave him my pen, and he began to compose. I couldn't help but smile as I listened to him gather his ideas out loud, including all the things he could write about. When he was finished, he told me all about his stories on the page. From this one experience with Zane, I realize just how much he already knows about the art of writing. He knows that writing means something and that a writer can find topics by simply living wide awake with childlike wonder. My notebook is truly brimming with life!
Welcome! I'm Kiesha Shepard, and I have a love for writing and the teaching of writing. Whispers From the Ridge is a place where I can share my words and ideas for teaching writing. It's also a place for you to find inspiration for writing the words inside of you. I invite you into my world of writing as I capture the whispers from the ridge.
Follow by Email
Schedule of Round Up:
7 Carol at Beyond Literacy Link
14 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
21 Katie at The Logonauts
28 Linda at A Word Edgewise
4 Donna at Mainely Write
11 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Kay at A Journey Through the Pages
25 Jone at Check it Out
1 Kat at Kathryn Apel
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
15 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
22 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
6 Violet at Violet Nesdoly | Poems
13 Irene at Live Your Poem
20 Leigh Ann at A Day in the Life
27 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
3 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup
17 Jane at Raincity Librarian
24 Carol at Carol's Corner
1 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
8 Lisa at Steps and Staircases
15 Diane at Random Noodling
22 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
29 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe