Category: Win

Wait for it …

Day 1 of my summer writing workshop:  What kind of writer are you?

It’s true.

I am a collector and I hardly throw anything away.  Not things, vintage clothing, pieces of paper with scribbles on them, memories, letters, pictures, feelings, associations and connections.  I am a big believer of documentation, of writing everything down and  have been accused of compulsive capturing.  This sentimental side, the one that also houses the pack-rat gene, has been there ever since I could speak and then became more pronounced when I learned to write.  At some point, this compulsion to take everything down and remember every single detail of what I see and experience, I attributed to being a writer.  I figured I needed to remember it all, so I could always fill in spaces and gaps in whatever story, character, poem or essay I  come up with. I thought all these things will eventually make it to my future ‘book’ somehow (on what, I still don’t know)  so remembering meant material.  There was comfort in knowing I could retrieve something, anything, from wherever I stored ‘stuff’  because it was torture to forget.

But today, I am thinking that  it’s okay, sometimes, to put the camera down. To let go of the pen or the sticky keyboard and turn the computer off.  It’s okay, sometimes, to document experiences and epiphanies in the little cracks of our consciousness instead of hurriedly and clumsily on the page.  It’s  also okay at times to wait for inspiration, for the best moment, for the mind blowing muse, the worthy snap,  before spilling our guts onto a place where people will see them.  There IS beauty in silence and power in observation and withholding.  I honor that today.

It’s all good  anyway because the silence is temporary and from whatever writing and documentation hiatus, the compulsive capturer always emerges  with a new way of seeing; one that’s not so attached, harassed or desperate.

These past few weeks have been a blur.  I tried, many times, to sit down and write but felt overwhelmed instead. So many things were happening all at the same time.  I never knew where to begin.   I didn’t know how to back track. How to recall and record.

So,I let it go.  Because  I realized not writing something down does not always mean I will forget.

Anyway, amidst the blur of loving gestures, emotional goodbyes, surprise parties and special meals with loved ones, packing and sorting through stuff I never threw away, I found myself agreeing to facilitate a summer writing workshop after a good friend and parent requested I do. People thought I was crazy to agree with everything I still needed to fix and arrange prior to moving.  But I didn’t care. It felt like a gift, actually.  A nice chance to be surrounded by Beacon kids.  I thought it would be a wonderful way to ween and manage the separation anxiety.

pack rat

True enough, this is where I find refuge these days.  Twelve brave souls decided it was worth their time to spend eight two hour sessions with me and if they only knew what a treat it has been. To share and teach something I am passionate about. Without rubrics or TSCs or report card narratives. With nothing but the intention to get them started on their own writing journey. One I hope they will keep alive and nurture even after the eight sessions are over.

young writers at work

We are right smack in the middle of the workshop and so far, things are going well. Kids are excited. They are writing and writing and reading each others’ work. They are attempting interesting writing activities and have been blogging!  I couldn’t be happier.

writing workshop snack


In light of encouraging the twelve to start their own blogs and write and share as often as they can, here is a poem I have been meaning to post for months but never had the guts to.  I wrote it awhile back and showed it to one person (Joey Tandem aka Mr. Lapid) who helped me refine part of my controlling metaphor and one transition.  I felt pleased once we “fixed” it but quietly placed the piece on my desktop thinking there would be a better time to share it.

I guess, now is that time.

Tell me what you think.

die, douche bag (Photo taken by Chris Ramos @ the Morrissey concert)


by Ms. P

It crawled inside her head

and lodged itself



in the deepest cavities

of her cerebral cortex.

She thought she was,

at this juncture,

 impervious to the leech;

didn’t think it would

bother her

ever again.


there it sat

curled up


vicious and


sucking the might

of her confidence

slowly eating away

at her lobes,

without her knowledge.

Nothing prepared her

for the pain

when it dug

its jagged teeth

on the soft tissue

surrounding her decisions

her opinions,

the grey matter of

her insights and


It drank the life out of

everything she believed was

real and important.

Worn out and weary

she wondered why

she could not hold her

heart in her hand,

the usual indicator

that she was in a safe place;

where there were no hidden agendas

or predators  lurking

 in her subconscious.

Until of course,

that very

same thought

alerted the little demon

hiding in her brain

that she finally,










It uncurled and


the little bastard

slithered out

of her ear

moved on to her shoulder

on to her forearm

passed the tiny tiara

and sun tattoo

on her wrist

only to find its

way on her palm

where she


until she could

close her fist

to squash

the little fiend

that tried to eat

a part of who she was


die, douche bag!

Guts squirted

from the gaps

of her tight fist

She watched

the color return to her cheeks

as she unclenched

her pale yellow


And you? What’s your  recent source of inspiration?

grateful slice:  my summer writing workshop and my 12 young writers

Music … makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel

Two songs on replay on my Igadgets  right now.  (Thanks for the recommendations, SC).
Nothing like creating several playlists for a long road trip.  I can already hear the scoring for this trip’s movie in my mind.  LOL.

Now back to marking papers.

grateful slice:  music and long road trips (and work breaks)

Sarah Kay Does It Again

I stumbled upon Sarah Kay, her poetry and her TED talk about the same time last year and have since shared her work with whomever I can.  She leaves the hungry young poets in my Grade 7 class speechless, and me, well, she has me inspired to always write about only what is true, with a small letter t, to me.   Here’s her newest TED talk.  Nice way to end an awesome weekend.

grateful slice: Sarah Kay and her poetry

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

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“so I wait for you like a lonely house
till you will see me again and live in me.
Till then my windows ache.”
― Pablo Neruda100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor

I’ve been silent for a reason; a good one, I promise.  Soon will come soon enough.  You just need to be patient.

grateful slice: poetry and photography


Last year, I asked my Grade 8 students to think about and respond to this question over and over again: Is it worth it?

At first they thought it was a ‘what’ and ‘why’ question, only to consider how it was so much more about when.

I don’t need to fight ALL the time.

Don’t need to exhaust my voice over EVERYTHING.

Because when the gas runs out, the soul dies.

Anyway, here’s a short video from one of Oprah’s Master classes.  She talks about her journey to surrendering and the space she needed to have to live a life of letting go.

Because it seems like, this is what I have to do right now.

grateful slice:  choosing when well

Meet Ms. D

Today, I am extremely grateful for my new friend, Danielle.

I’ve only known her for three days but it sure feels like I’ve known her for three decades.

I have so many things to say and write about this young, beautiful, South African hipster but I will hold off for now for reasons only known to me.

Let’s just say the stories we have already shared involve a flight, chocolate covered almonds, an airport snafu, a Frenchman who needed our help, a baked doctor, a smashed camera, a kind Italian man who could speak French, an ambulance, her awesome project, the stories we create in our heads, a fantastic meal, an enlightening conversation, Oprah and surrendering.

The past three days have been eventful, that’s for sure, and this week would not have ended as phenomenally if I had not met her.

meet my soul sis, Ms. D Lauren, one of my favorite people on the planet

In the meantime, the one important thing you must know about her is that she is the CEO and creative director of the 11 eleven project; a project committed to making the world a better place.    Please take some time to check it out and register.

Thanks for making us meet, G.

We were exactly where we needed to be and it makes complete sense to me why you made it happen.

Thank you.

grateful slice:  connections that change our lives forever

The stronger pull

It’s true.

I come from a family of writers (no matter what our day jobs are).  My dad  is a finance guy who can write. My brother is really more of a photographer and writer than a banker.   And  apples, well, they do not fall far from their trees.  Check out the Junior Inquirer article of Sabine, my brother’s firstborn.

She really is the best version of all of us put together.

Sabine meets the idols and gets to write about it

It’s also never too late or early to pick up photography.  Look at me and  yes, our young photographer, Sabine.

Sabine and the decisive moment

The photographer is also a willing subject

Love at first toy

The apple and the tree

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull

of what you really love.


grateful slice: Sabine, image, text and the Junior Inquirer


I heart these minimalist  tales movie posters by Christian Jackson.  Love.

Down the rabbit hole

P and the P

Let down your hair


Follow the Yellow Brick Road


Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Who is the fairest of them all?

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down


grateful slice:  minimalism and the stories of our childhood