Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday Quick Write Post

It has always been a dream of mine to publish a YA novel and so when I saw today’s Quick- Write, and using the advice of Kate, I thought I would use Thursday’s “assignment” to explore writing from the mind of my character, or who I envision she might become.  Thank you for the feedback on my first post and thanks for helping me grow as a writer!  
A student walks into the library/media center at lunchtime.  What is she/he thinking?  Worried about?  Dreading?  Hoping or wishing for? What are the risks/stakes for him/her? Show us in a paragraph or two.
I can’t believe I am doing this!  I know that our school librarian has talked to us a lot about the library being a place to answer our “burning questions,” but this question is one that will cause me to be more vulnerable than I have ever allowed myself to be.  How do I approach her about a question like this? Once I ask her, she will have a window into a part of me that I haven’t revealed to anyone.  To everyone in this library, I am one of them.  I live on their same suburban streets.  I shop in their same preppy stores.  I pretend that I belong in my family.  Once I begin the search for answers, there will be no turning back.  
As I approach the counter where Miss Pennyweather sits, checking out books to students whose biggest question is, “ What is the weight of the average polar bear?”, my stomach is preforming it’s own version of Circ de Soleil.  I stare at the back of John Macon’s head and work through how I will phrase my question.  Should I be direct and just lay it out there?  Should I pretend I am doing research for a school project?  Should I say I am asking for a friend?  As the number of students between me and Miss Pennyweather ticks off like the minutes on the clock, I feel that I am approaching my destiny, and I pray that I will find the answer that I am looking for.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Special Place

As I sink into the faded, tan cushion that is stained with tiny milk amoebas, I feel so blessed.  Holding my beautiful daughter in my arms, cuddling her close, I drink in the delicious mix of her sweet, milky, baby breath and floral baby wash. I know that there is no place else in the world where I could feel so fulfilled.  It was in this same tan chair that I held my oldest daughter, relishing the ability to rock her and have her be completely at peace.  So many stories have been shared in this chair, both from life, and from books. I push down on the chair to make myself comfortable, adjusting the Boppy Pillow, and finding that perfect spot where my girls fit like a puzzle piece. A familiar ear-piercing squeak arises from the chair as it shouts, “Hey, can’t we all be comfortable?”  I adjust accordingly and begin to rock back and forth in that familiar rhythm that brings me to a place of total peace and serenity.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

It is true what they say...

I have spent multiple years of teaching telling my students that they must have a "growth mindset" if they want to succeed.  After reading the book, Mindset a few years ago, I felt like my life was changed in a very profound way.  I felt like I was awakened to the idea that my attitude in life truly does determine my success. From that day forward, I vowed to have a growth mindset and to be a model of a growth mindset to my students and my own children.  I found myself sharing stories with my students about times in my life where my mindset had held me back and how I wished I had recognized how much my fixed mindset was holding me back.  I found myself feeling like such a good role model and thinking that I had this mindset thing down...That is until I decided I wanted to begin to play the violin at age 33 and a half!

Last night I walked into the City Music Center in Crestwood, I felt all of those old fixed mindset moments coming back and the negative self talk beginning to try and take me over.  "You are too old to do this." "Everyone in here is wondering what I am doing here."  "I can't even read music."  "I 've never even help a violin before!"  When I walked up to the counter and asked to rent a violin, the lady behind the counter actually asked me if the violin was for me as she looked around for the child I must be renting it for.  As I bit my fingernails and waited for my lesson to begin, I realized that for the first time since I had read about mindset, I wasn't just thinking about how to have a growth mindset, I was actually living it!  As scary as it was, I realized that if one only lives a life where everything is safe and you feel successful, you aren't really providing yourself with the opportunity to grow and have a growth mindset.  It is easy to sit in a place of safety and tell others that they need to have more of a growth mindset, but until I am in a situation where I am uncomfortable and feeling unsure of myself, I don't really understand what it is to work through that moment where you tell yourself that only people with innate musical talent can learn to play an instrument.

As I left the lesson holding my "student" violin, I smiled a tiny smile and felt an incredible sense of pride as I realized that I was finally practicing what I preached.  In that moment, I was truly embodying the growth mindset, and I never want to turn back again!