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.
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2 Heidi at my juicy little universe
9 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
16 Christie at Wondering and Wandering -- optional theme: trees
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
30 Kat at Kathryn Apel
6 Sylvia (and Janet) at Poetry for Children
13 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
20 Linda at TeacherDance
27 Cheriee at Library Matters
4 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
11 Catherine at Reading to the Core
18 Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup
25 Karen at Karen Edmisten*
1 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
15 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
22 Rebecca at Sloth Reads
29 Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones
6 Tanita at [fiction, instead of lies]
13 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
20 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
27 Michelle at Michelle Kogan