March 31, 2009

Slices That Illuminate

The day we left our home in California, some five years ago, to live in Washington, DC for a year's sabbatical, both my husband and I--unbeknownst to each other--took photographs of our house. He said he was taking them in case the renters trashed the place. I was taking them to remember--to capture this place where we'd come together just married with four children as now we were moving on to a different phase of life: sans children, building our own memories together.

So, I'm taking photographs today--mental photos--clicking around to each of your blogs to say goodbye on this last day in March after a month of Slicing. I did it initially as a lark. As in, I say I'm a writer, but all I've been writing lately is comments on English papers, time to see what I'm made of, sort of thing. This Slicing is a treasure.

I've left the reasons why in bits and pieces on all your posts. Like Carrie, I treasured what I was taught about writing when you don't feel like it--when you have to, like what we ask of our students. Like Lisa, it's that one perfect shrimp-quesadilla-moment that we hang a memory or two on. Like T-Dawg, it's realizing that the writing has taken a backseat far too long, held captive by grading demands and lesson prep and finally, it was time to Take Ourselves Seriously and write.

I went onto Two Writing Teachers' blog to read the origin of this March Madness (if I may borrow that phrase). A student complained his life wasn't worth writing about. But if he'd seen Lennye's post about her student Kenny, sprinting for the outside sun after sitting by his mother's casket all day he'd see what Ruth and Stacey saw: that all of our lives have slices that illuminate the world with goodness and sorrow and indecision and anguish and wishing and hoping and bad days and grocery store crazies and getting a suntan when it's 63 degrees outside and eating a waffle breakfast on a getaway weekend and playing Quidditch and writing one-sentences posts and so on and so on.

Many thanks to Ruth and Stacey. Many thanks for everything.


  1. And many thanks to you, Elizabeth, for being such a supportive and insightful writer/commenter. Through many posts, you made my day...T-Dawg

  2. It's funny how much a little challenge like this can touch our lives, make us more thoughtful, and help us see ourselves as writers. Like you, I think I have picked up a few new blogs to read. I am excited to find out what people, like you, write about when they are not "slicing".

  3. What an awesome synthesis of the past month! I'm definitely bookmarking this post (and your blog) to read for inspiration!

    -Carrie F.

  4. I loved the last paragraph. Isn't life all about the little things? The ordinary that in reality is the extrordinary!

    I hope DC is everything you could imagine, but mainly I hope it a real adventure.

  5. This was a terrific post, Elizabeth, both well-written and well-structured.

    You have been a champion of support this month, and I'm planning to check in on pen ink paper often.

    Until next time,


  6. I hope you will continue to write weekly slices or to post in some way. I will look forward to reading where you go from here.