Slice of Life #31: The Art of Slicing

Well, today’s the last day. And I don’t quite know how to begin the end.

I spent the morning reading beautiful, reflective pieces by fellow slicers, and am moved to try my hand at a similar format.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my writing over the past month, and want to both share some ideas and some credit:

About 10 days into this challenge, Beth Moore took to the Two Writing Teachers blog and asked, “Are you writing stories, or band-aids?

She writes, “In March, the real challenge isn’t just to write every day for thirty-one days. The REAL challenge is to write a story every day.” Thus, a third of the way through March, I realized with a jolt that I’d been relying on some band-aids (lists, acrostic poems, stream-of-consciousness pieces, writing from prompts) to summarize my day, rather than share small moment told in great detail. In short, I wasn’t quite sharing a slice of my life! Of course, today’s the day I’m going to break from that. 🙂

Since then, I’ve found great pleasure in turning mundane activities into short stories, with some sort of creative twist to it, inspired by fellow, favorite slicers:

  • I’ve enjoyed trying out different formats inspired by Elisabeth
  • Reading about food memories by Ben
  • Discussing road rage, and seeing a caring teacher and dad, and hilarious storyteller in Daven
  • Following the fiction writing process with Andrew
  • Reflecting with Fran
  • Traveling with Aggie
  • And, of course, commiserating about how to fit in/time my slices with my colleague and fellow slicer, Katlyn!

Unlike the morning bird slicers out there, I found my preferred writing time to be as late as possible:

  • If I wrote about school, I ended up writing at school, after the kids left, still in my pilfered, ready-for-the-trash chair I got at the end of Year 1 in my school.
  • I sometimes came home and sliced right away.
  • Mostly, I came home, relaxed, then found a good way to write away the day’s stress by finding one positive moment to slice about.
  • I once shared my frustrations in slicing, which was actually a good way to get feedback on a bad situation.
  • I have even sliced past 10pm, and somehow, miraculously, received a comment or two.

I have shared my writing with fellow slicers, with family, and with co-workers. In fact, I have followed other blogs on my WordPress Reader, check up on my writing communities so predictably that, at certain times of the day, my phone pops up a notification that suggests WORDPRESS READER?? How creepy is adaptive tech?!

I’ve noticed changes in my writing, too:

  • Now, I can tell stories that have less to do with my emotions and more to do with characters and plot.
  • I can choose between staying true to reality and cutting and pasting reality to make it a better story.
  • I can use observations and word choice to show emotions, not rely on over-wordy, emotive simpering.
  • I can utilize formats to show emotion, not just a stream-of-consciousness about my inner turmoil.

All in all, I am learning to use that elusive thing called “writers craft”.

And yet… I don’t want this journey to end. As I think about wrapping up this month, I think of the past and future writing opportunities I’ve had throughout my short 4-year teaching career:

  • I think of past writing communities: The Greater Madison Writing Project nearly four summers ago (has it already been that long?!)
  • I think of Sally and  Cindy, whom I worked with last summer developing a new Reading 6 curriculum – it was these amazing bloggers who convinced my to take up this challenge!
  • I think of using my writing in teaching – as a reading teacher, there is so much more I wish I could do but feel like I can’t step on the toes of the team’s English teacher. I hope for opportunities to write beside my students in the future. 
  • I think of my colleagues (the illustrious Mary and Tracey) who are slicing with their students!
  • I think of how I taught Language Arts 9 my first year, and how I attempted to use prompts to get my students writing. How would slicing change that class’s writing persona?
  • I think of posting on Tuesdays and my reservations to jump in: Once-a-week routines are hard for me to stick to. Maybe after spring break I can start? 

To those of you who read and commented on my posts – It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and share writing over the past month! Let’s do it again next year!

7 thoughts on “Slice of Life #31: The Art of Slicing

  1. Danielle,
    I hope you keep on slicing! I’ve enjoyed the detail in your writing and your reflections on what’s happening in the classroom! It seems you and I share many of the same struggles. I appreciate your willingness to reflect and change.

    Like

  2. Such a heartfelt, insightful, and meaty slice! Daily posting is life changing. I have really learned a lot from your posts. I really appreciate the shout out and can’t wait to read the other slicers you referenced. See you at the slice party?

    Like

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