Bear Wants More, early literacy, Karma Wilson, On Revision, paying attention, revision, teaching, William Germano

Revising Attentively

I’ve been reading the book, On Revision by William Germano. My purpose for reading it was to glean some perspectives, or tips to help me revise more efficiently and more effectively. The ironic thing about reading the book was that it made me think more about my teaching than it did about my writing.

“Good teachers, after all, don’t just demand attention. They pay attention.”-William Germano

It’s true, but I had never thought about it that way. When I work with students, it’s most often in a one-to-one situation. I work on the visual skills they need to develop, or the tools they need to use to access visual information, or on the tactile and braille skills they need to learn to gain access to the world around them. The best way to do that is to find out what they like, what motivates them. Once I can do that everything gets easier and more fun for both of us.

In his book, William Germano describes the act of paying attention in this way, “If you write, you’re asking your readers for some of their time, time they could easily spend on anything else. You’re not just providing them with a text; you’re inviting them into the text. Be a good host. Pay attention. Refill glasses. Pass the nibbles.”

This might not be a new perspective for some, but it definitely was for me. It’s so clear and tangible.

In my teaching, I spend a lot of time thinking up ways to capture my students’ imagination, their attention, in order to get them invested in the skills they need to develop. Why hadn’t I thought about that with the stories I write for children? Maybe it’s because the stories are for potential child readers. If I think in terms of actual readers it might give me a better perspective. I’ll have to try it out.

The funny and exciting thing is that I’ve just started a project (a holiday gift for a student) in which I hope to channel the magic that Karma Wilson created with her book Bear Wants More. One of my students absolutely loves this book and will work so hard to get to the reward of having it read to her.

She is able to say few words, “more” being one of them and she has excellent timing when we read the book together.

My hope is to further develop her early literacy skills by personalizing the familiar book’s setup. My student will be the main character and she will want more and more and books read to her.

It’s only in the planing and playing with stages; it’s got a long way to go.

It’s challenge, but I can just imagine my student’s reaction to seeing herself in a book, and maybe that’s just the perspective I need.

I’ll let you know how things are going as the project progresses.

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Adam Zagajewski, Clare Cavanagh, contemplation, creativity, imagination, Pádraig Ó Tuama, poetry, Poetry Unbound, Transformation

Creative Conflict

Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

I’m a big fan of Poetry Unbound. If you haven’t heard of it, I’d recommend checking it out.

Every week a different poem is shared aloud by Pádraig Ó Tuama. He not only reads the poem, but also offers his perceptions on what the poem or the poet is speaking of.

This week I listened to “Transformation” written by Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh. It’s vivid imagery and the way in which the poet expresses his dutiful search for his elusive creative spark struck a chord in me.

Transformation

I haven’t written a single poem in months.

I’ve lived humbly,

reading the paper,

pondering the riddle of power and the reasons for obedience.

I’ve watched sunsets (crimson, anxious),

I’ve heard the birds grow quiet

and night’s muteness.

I’ve seen sunflowers dangling

their heads at dusk,

as if a careless hangman had gone strolling through the gardens.

September’s sweet dust gathered

on the windowsill and lizards

hid in the bends of walls.

I’ve taken long walks,

craving one thing only:

lightning,

transformation,

you.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Listening to the poem and Pádraig’s critique of it got me thinking about my creative focus. By day I’m a teacher for the visually impaired and blind and by night a writer of children’s books.

My writing takes second place in my daily list of to do’s. It has to. But my creative connection is not so much lost, as the poet’s was.

It can at times feel that way, especially if afternoon or evening obligations eat into my opportunity to write. The tasks I want to get to sometimes get pushed back for days in a row and that can leave me feeling at a creative loss. Where was I? What was I trying to do? These are some of the questions I ask myself when I’ve been away from writing for too long. Don’t worry, my family thinks I’m talking to the dog. Thankfully, she’s usually close by.

I have also recognized this feeling when I’ve finalized a draft I’ve been working on for awhile. What will I do next? I wonder. Where will I find a creative spark for a new story?

Have you ever lost or misplaced your creative connection? Or have had to place it on hold? What have you done to get it back or engage it again?

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The Creative Process

Some insightful thoughts from a fellow writer on the creative process. I hope you enjoy the post.

Surprised By Joy

Be the moon and inspire people even when you are far from full.” – K. Tolnoe

I’ve thought a lot about why I write – to process my experience in life and to connect with this great Word Press community. But recently a friend asked me how I write and it became the topic for my post on Wise and Shine today: When I Write.

(featured photo from Pexels)

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amwriting, contemplation, nexts, putting things off, writing journey, writing life

A Lovely Gray, No School Day

There’s no better weather day, I think, during which to put things off.

For example, I have been putting off creating a blog post. I’ve thought of many possible ones, like the mischievous squirrel walnut mystery (it would take a post to explain it) Fall, the start of the school term, searching for balance as a writer and teacher, but I thought of all of you who might read or glance over this blog and figured most of you wouldn’t want to read any that.

Negative I know, but honest and as good a reason as I could come up with for putting-off my blog post some more.

The gray day as seen from my front window

But the funny thing about putting something off, is that often times what happens, is that you fill the space left open with something else that needs to get done, at least I do. Which is how, today being a lovely gray starting to drizzle kind of day and a school holiday during which I find myself on my own (can’t count the dog and cats- they’re snoring) its seems there couldn’t be a more perfect time to contemplate my post.

That in turn, allows me to put off dummying out the picture book manuscript I’ve been reworking. Said manuscript, like bread dough that’s been kneaded too much, has fallen frustratingly, pfflp, flat before and in my eyes.

To punt my manuscript need to do’s farther down the field, I think I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies, brew another cup of tea and watch The Last Unicorn.

In what ways do you put-off tasks, writing or otherwise? I can’t be the only one. Can I? Oh, I hope not.

Clear Fork Publishing, Ellie and Co book series, It's a RHAP, Cat, Jeffrey Sanzel, Lee Y. Miao, middle grade books, Penny Weber, Times Beacon Record, WEI TO GO!

Take A Peek!

Today I’m excited to share some news and a cover reveal for the second book in the Ellie and Co book series written by Lee Y. Miao, cover art by Penny Weber and published by Clear Fork Publishing. It’s a RHAP, Cat is set to be released this coming February 21, 2023.

Book Cover image for It's a RHAP, Cat. A tween blond girl is in the foreground holding a unicorn and a tween boy is in the background with an easel before him. He is holding a paint palette as he is painting a portrait of the girl.  A lacrosse stick and a softball bat are on the floor.

In this, the second book of the Ellie and Co middle grade adventure series; Ellie Wei’s bestie from Wei To Go! takes center stage. In fact, Cat’s story and exploration of Italy take place about a month before Ellie’s adventure in Hong Kong.

It’s a RHAP, Cat, is all about twelve-year-old Cat, a history nerd, who sees her mysterious double in a sixteenth-century portrait by Raphael. Cat enters the school’s Renaissance history and art project (RHAP) with an art partner—aka her crush—that just might help her uncover puzzling family ties.

image of the author Lee Y. Miao, a middle aged asian american with medium length black hair wearing sunglasses while on a bridge in Italy.
Lee Y. Miao

So far, each of Lee’s books in the Ellie and Co book series involve travel abroad. Here’s a photo of Lee in Italy, one of the settings for It’s a RHAP, Cat.

Please take some time to sign up for Lee’s email newsletter on her website www.leeyemiao.com in order to follow her continuing book journey.

To learn more about Lee Y. Miao and the first book in the series check out Jeffrey Sanzel’s book review in the August 25, 2022, Times Beacon Record,www.https://tbrnewsmedia.com/book-review-author-lee-miao-takes-us-on-a-journey-to-hong-kong-with-her-first-book-wei-to-go/.

Mr. Sanzel summed up the book’s appeal in this way, “While Wei To Go! is immersed in Chinese and Chinese American culture, the story’s universality complements an enlightening narrative and makes for an entertaining, engaging and memorable reading experience.”

Wei To Go! is available for purchase on Amazon, through Barnes&Noble, or Clear Fork Publishing.

https://www.amazon.com/Wei-Go-Ellie-Co-Book/dp/195016967

Barnes&Noble-

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wei-to-go-lee-y-miao/11405330

Clear Fork Publishing-

https://www.clearforkpublishing.com/product-page/wei-to-go-an-ellie-co-book

Best of luck Lee! I enjoyed Ellie’s adventure in Wei To Go! and I’m looking forward to more adventure in It’s a RHAP, Cat !