why untitled, unwritten?

I once labeled everything before it was written, until I found it kept too many words away. Now I am leaving the unwritten untitled, until it grows into a name.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


This summer has not been what I expected.

I thought it'd be preparing for the next school year, for planning lessons and units and professional development.  I thought it'd be certainty of the next step.  And some of it has been: I compiled a first-week-of-school set of lessons--getting-to-know-you activities, a few possible stories to read together, and methods for establishing my expectations and classroom norms.

But it's also been a summer of turning inward, of exploring my own voice and ideas.  So I've been drawing/writing/scribbling/watercoloring.

Seriously, watercolors?  I love them.  I know nothing about art media, mediums, or methods, but I'm having fun with my little bargain watercolor set.  This is all about creating, about creativity for its own sake.  If something turns out pretty?  Awesome.  If something turns out ridiculous?  Fine.  Journaling and art journaling are about expressing, about getting something down, as Julia Cameron says (I think).

And that is how this summer will continue: getting something down, not making something up.  Adventures await, and I plan to savor them and record them and remember.  So when I found this poem by Erin Morgenstern today, I knew I had to write it down and splash a sky and earth and sun around it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I'm a lazy writer.

It takes me ages to compose anything.  I stare at the blank page, and then it all, eventually, sometimes, tumbles out at once and I can't stop at the end of one thought.  The ideas run into each other, stream-of-consciousness, and my hands or fingers can't keep up.

Yet I almost never seem to have ideas.  I forget sometimes to fill my well, or sometimes I overfill it, overindulging my mind on art and ideas by others and forgetting my own or never settling down to put my own on paper (or screen).

My morning pages have consisted mainly of ramblings about the day, how I snap awake each morning wondering about my future.  Yet one day this week, the day I avoided writing as long as I could, I ended up working out an idea that was profound for me--about living with joy and delight without feeling guilt for all the blessings in my life, about acknowledging and overcoming shame, about living a full life.  And it was wonderful, how the very act of writing one thought started the process that, in some ways, has freed me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

After the Storm

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
G.K. Chesterton

A sudden storm.

Sideways wind, sheets of rain hitting the house, the trees bending over, rain spraying every surface, leaves flying about, the gutters gushing full...

And then it's gone, and then this:

an impossibly beautiful rainbow, a golden sunset, and when I turned back around--the sky's colors had changed already, and the rainbow was still unmistakeable.

So always, always look up, rather than down.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Depending on where I end up teaching this fall, I might only have two weeks of summer left at home (and ten amazing days on this trip my sister and I are taking that I'll write about later).  There's so much left to do...

1. Read ten more books and finish my year's reading challenge by mid-August.
2. Read the teaching books that are on my shelves...
    Educating Esme
    What Great Teachers Do Differently
    The First 100 Days
    When Teaching Gets Tough
    (teacher-bloggers, any other suggestions?)
3. Organize my teaching materials by topic.
4. Write morning pages every day (I finally started today!)
5. Blog once a week.
6. Finish sewing for the Jane Austen Festival.
7. Put together a travel journal for the trip of a lifetime (two weeks away!).
8. Play the piano.

I decided that even though I haven't found a job yet, I know I'll be teaching middle school and I can at least get ready for that, even if I have no idea what district, school, or grade in which I'll teach.

Cross your fingers for me, please?

[Printable Quote Poster by PrintableQuirks on Etsy]

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Finding a Voice

I've had The Artist's Way for six months.

I thought about buying a copy for years before that.

I kept thinking--I don't have time.  I can reawaken creativity without a book.  It's weird and mystic and not my thing.  It's New Age-y, and I'm not.

It's also really, really good and a little spiritual in a way that meshes with the faith that I am rewriting/discovering as a person different from the teenager in church every time the doors were open.  I finally started reading it yesterday.

That's not a journey I talk about much or will share here (this is a public space, after all, and seeing as I want my personal, private faith to remain just that, I won't share it here), but let me say this: believing in something as an adult, as a twenty-five-year old, married, master's degree-d, homeowner, dog-owner, job-seeking woman is different from believing in something as a shy teenager, not because the things you believe have changed (although some have), but because you have changed.  You need deeper, more thorough, more life-applicable answers, and that's okay. You learn to be an artist with the everyday, with your daily life, instead of imagining yourself as a writer in a cabin in the woods on a mountainside or holed up in a huge library day in and day out, because you've learned that you're not just one thing.  You're many, and that's just fine.  You're a writer-teacher-wife-daughter-sister who spoils her puppy rotten.  You're a sometimes-artist who doesn't create brilliant pieces but does create from the heart, and that's enough.

You are finding your voice.