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The first assignment was a fun one. Fortunately, I have several notebooks scattered around the house. This one with the butterfly is my favorite. I have been writing in it for quite a long time and it has snippets of all sorts of things. I have journal entries, lists, story snippets, book reviews, quotations from books and many other little bits of myself. The cover makes me smile because it is beautiful.

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Here are a few more of my jumbly journals. They also have all sorts of things in them. I have even glued some poetry or other things inside that have caught my attention. I pick up extra composition books when I do my daughter's school supply shopping since they are very economical and sometimes they are fun to look at too. The striped one though, was a plain old black and white one before I attacked it with wrapping paper to make it more fun. I have one much smaller notebook that travels with me in my purse, but it isn't pretty at all. I got it for free from a vendor at a conference. It's dead useful though when I am not at home and need to jot something down.

I didn't write much while I was on vacation with my family last week, but I am looking forward to filling up my notebooks over the summer.

 
 
On Kate Messner's blog, author Joy Feldman gave us several suggestions today for mining ideas. She encouraged us to go to a public place and observe. When I took my dog for a walk, this is what I observed.

Playground Days

The hum of beetles
Blankets on the cool green grass
A T-ball field full of giggles and excitement
Mothers chatting, reading, checking on children
Little ones shrieking, giggling, climbing everywhere
A warm brilliant sun in a peaceful sky
Playground days drifting by
 
 
Margo Sorenson provided Thursday's Quick Write

Before I started writing, I thought a lot about characters. Can characters be made in a vacuum? I mean, how does an author find or create a character without being influenced by the personalities of people they know? I don't know the answers to these questions. I also don't know if I am puzzling over this to avoid getting to work. 

I started this last week and wrote it in my pencil/paper journal, but forgot to post it here so my Thursday post is just the teensiest bit late.

The Library
 
Lisa reluctantly pushed open the heavy library door. It was crunch time. If she didn't get this ridiculous assignment done today, her grade would completely tank. That wouldn't be anything new really, but she had hoped that somehow this year would be different. Her older sister Sarah practically lived in the library when she was in school, but not Lisa. She avoided this place like the plague. Rows and rows of books stood ready to drag her into the dungeon for another agonizing round of torture. She could almost hear them cackling in glee as she stepped into the room. She imagined that they were rubbing their pages together in anticipation as they eyed her. 

If only the words didn't seem like a puzzle every single time. If only she didn't feel like her brain melted each time she turned a page. When would it ever get easier? Years of "special" reading classes hadn't fixed whatever was wrong with her. Sarah even tried to help, but couldn't really understand what was holding Lisa back. Most mornings when Lisa got up and looked in the mirror, Stupid stared back. Slow, Stupid, or Loser all took their turns visiting her in the mirror.

Fortunately, she could escape them, at least for a little while, when she ran. Because when Lisa ran, she was someone else entirely. She wasn't the loser that couldn't even read the easy books. She was fast and she imagined she could do or be anything. She felt strong when her feet were hitting the ground. She could scare the demons away or at least avoid them for a little while. If only reading could be like that. If only....
 
 
You could see it in the hunching of her shoulders and her downcast eyes. Feel it crackling in the air. Waves of fear rolled through her that night as he raged. A torrent of words flooded the kitchen -berating, questioning and threatening her. A pan sailed through the air narrowly missing her, leaving a dent in the wall. Every part of her body tensed, but all the while, her hands methodically continued picking up dishes to wash and rinse, wash and rinse, wash and rinse.

She shrank into herself and into her mind keeping her eyes focused on the soapsuds and dishes. She hoped for peace as her eyes welled with tears. She hoped for safety as her hands shook. Maybe the storm of anger would burst in a fury and fizzle out quickly, unlikely though that seemed at the time. The mantra kept running through her head, "It'll be over soon, it'll be over soon, it'll be over soon." She just wanted to be invisible so he couldn't see her fear or tears. Tears always made the anger escalate though she didn't totally understand why.

Years later she would wonder if her tears made him feel guilty. If it turned a mirror to him. Made him remember his own childhood and realize that he had passed on his own nightmares to his little girl giving her a legacy of fear and distrust. She would wonder if that knowledge pained him. How could he be unaware of how people close to him dreaded his intensity and rage? She would wonder how it felt to be so consumed with fury and overcome by extreme emotions. She would wonder if that emotional demon inside him was the main reason he chose to die, and most of all, if there could have been a way to vanquish it before it was too late.
 
 
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Earlier this week I started participating in the summer project called Teachers Write! Kate Messner and several other authors are leading this fantastic experiment. They created a virtual summer camp for teachers and librarians. We will work as a community to encourage each other as we stretch ourselves through our writing. I will be posting my writing here as the summer progresses. I am hoping to become a better writer, make connections with educators and authors, and enjoy the creative process. Feel free to comment, ask questions, or offer suggestions. Thanks for visiting!