Monthly Archives: September 2022

Some Writing Advice

Part of Slice of Life on Two Writing Teachers

You should carry a notebook
If you want to be a writer
Like me

So if you think of something
hear something
see something
you can collect it
to remember to write later

Any notebook will do
I use my notes App
Because I can’t be trusted
to carry more things around with me
I mean, are you kidding me?

Collect those stories and ideas
In meetings
During D&D Campaigns
(Especially, during D&D Campaigns)
Before you fall asleep

Only then will you
Be a Writer
Like me

Just this past week I collected stories and ideas
In meetings:
You get to take the cactus in the end
During a D&D Campaign:
I might be intimidating without the mockery
And my personal favorite …
Before I fell asleep:
My sfuccte oh c oh dd
I be should get f in or hi if cjkefw

So much potential in
Collected ideas
Plus –
Never forget
revision, writers

I might be intimidating without the mockery
You get to take the cactus in the end

My sfuccte oh c oh dd
I be should get f in or hi if cjkefw

I may never know what I really wanted to write about the other night. But, at least I wrote it down. At least I wrote it down. Let that be a lesson to you, writers.

Last night, This morning. (So proud, I just know it)

Last night, like every night, I did the few remaining dishes in the sink. I wanted to put them in the dishwasher. But I hadn’t asked the boys to put away the clean dishes, and it just wasn’t worth the extra effort. So instead I piled more clean dishes on top of the drying rack, and hoped no cat mischief would knock any plates to their death like last week. I rescued my favorite plate and put it in the cabinet just in case. So proud!

Last night, like every night, I set the coffee up for this morning. I love that “Brew Later” button. Even if I’ve fallen asleep on the couch, or watched one too many episodes of something, I can convince myself that my“6-am self” will really appreciate the 2 minutes of effort tonight. So proud!

Last night, like every night, I started reading in bed but only made it a chapter or two before my eyes started closing. Somehow, I noticed this, and turned off my bedside lamp before falling asleep. I even took my glasses off! So proud!

This morning, like every morning, I woke up way before my 6:00 alarm. I turn off the “Brew Later” button, and click “Brew Now.” I heat up some oatmilk for my coffee, and stare at the pile of dishes. I think about how some people would use this extra morning hour to put away those clean dishes. I should use this time, I just know it!

This morning, like every morning, I get tired of waiting for the slow coffee pot to finish up. I take the pot out, hoping it’s a pause and serve. I pour my cup, replace the pot, and walk to the couch. The coffee finishes brewing by the time I sit down. I wonder if this is an analogy that I’m supposed to learn form. Something about patience, I bet. The coffee is done literally moments after I can’t wait any longer — every day. I’m supposed to learn from this, I just know it!

This morning, like every morning, I sit on the couch and watch the cats figure out their social order. I tell myself I should be getting stuff done in these quiet early bird hours. Soon I might close my eyes again. I might even fall asleep until my next alarm tells me it is time to get ready for school. There will be time later to get stuff done later, I just know it.

Happy Birthday, Sara

You had a request for your birthday
Asked me for a gift of writing
No gift, you said
I mean it, you said.

So I keep writing to you
in my head
as I walk to my car
from classroom to classroom
around the block with my dog

Yesterday, I saw an inspirational quote –
it said once you’ve known someone for 10 years
they become family.
I wonder what happens after 35 years.
Has it been 35? Friendship math is hard
especially when you have to decide if you count from the first bus ride

At 20, we were 10 years in – a decade.
I could have written then—
stories about
bus stops, bus seat, late busses, saltines and hot chocolate
Bat Mitzvahs and scrabble
crushes and sewing class and secrets
boyfriends, drives to school, moving, graduation
the importance of sour cream cheddar chips and peanut chews
Hub Salads with ranch and important conversations at Eat-n-Park

At 30
2 decades in
Aunt Sara and Aunt Ona to our kids
I could have written then —
Stories about
college graduation and more moving,
planning weddings, wedding speeches and periwinkle dresses and also
planning babies, showers and
calls in the middle of the night about emergency C-sections,
bravery, love, the NICU
nursing and pumping and sleeping on Elmo couches and 24-hour nurses and eventually babies meeting each other and cribs and toddlers and more babies and the absolute exhaustion, and oh – husbands too.

We are past 40 now (yikes)
Over 3 decades in
Our families are family
Our kids like cousins
Every so often we pile all 7 kids together on a couch for a picture,
and there was that one time we piled them in your car and took them to Ikea.

I know I promised you a gift of writing
but there’s a problem.
you can’t fit 35 years onto a page
I thought I could write articulately, but I don’t know how to shout it with words how you are a
a soft place
a holder of my memories
a cheerleader
I’d be lucky just to know you
but I get to love you to!
I couldn’t live without sending you memes, and exchanging pictures of our wine pours

One day, decades ago,
we stood at a bus stop in the snow.
we sat in your car driving to school.
we hung out at the mall.
we had saltines and secrets
we said goodbye and you moved to Florida.
you came back and left again
It was decades ago we cried at each other’s weddings

I don’t know how it’s been decades
since we’re

Happy Birthday, Sara.

A Gift of Writing for You:

Roses are red
So is your hair
It’s amazing how
you’re always there


“I’m never going to need this.” E tells me as I help him with his algebra homework. “I mean, nobody is ever going to come up to me and say like, ‘Can you solve this? -2.5 (0.5K+2.4) = -K-5.45.’ Maybe if I was going to be a mathematician, or an engineer. But, I’m never going to need this.”

I sighed and coughed (again), happy to at least be helping with his algebra next to him on the couch, and not 6 feet away like last week.

Homework Help with covid last week? I might have cried a little bit before figuring out I had a white board and remembering that I’m a teacher, even with a fever.

“Well, I don’t know.” I said. “I used to say the same thing. But I now I do need it.”

“For what?” E asks, eyebrows furrowed.

“To help you! Right now! Here you are! I need what I learned in high school algebra!”

He rolled his eyes, and we got back to work.

Poor E: 12 years old, great math brain, plus amazing ability to overthink. He gets the overthinking part from me – so imagine how helpful I am with his algebra homework when we get to parts where we have to use the distributive property with negative variable. I think 3-3x -3 is just 3x, right? Thank goodness he likes to check his work. (I won’t even try to explain our in depth conversations about why -5.45 + 6 = 0.55 and not 0.45. I think I got myself confused with that one, actually.)

For the last few problems, we figured out a good color coding system on the iPad for like terms.

“It’s like our own Kahn Academy!” E said.

“On a academy … Ona academy . . . OnAcademy! Why haven’t I ever thought of that?” I asked. “!”

That earned me another eye roll and a sigh. “.org you mean? But, please don’t make that a thing, mom.”

But, it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? OnAcademy?

Don’t let my high school algebra teacher (or really any math teacher) see our work here please. Thank you.