Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I am participating in the
Tuesday Slice of Life.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

I am increasingly aware of and frustrated by adamant people in my daily life, who impede conversations and discussions. These folks know it all, are absolutely right, see no point in hearing from others, and do not need to learn a new approach or consider another perspective. They are often the very first to speak up on an issue, presenting a diatribe that can effectively bring an end to discussion. Their modus operandi: talk fast, talk loud, talk over. Their perspective is the one way and the only way.

Have you had this experience, too?

I more or less expect this on talk shows, opinion pages, blogs. However, I am surprised by its frequency in staff meetings, church pews, neighborhood cookouts, and the grocery store.

Is society changing or am I getting more thin-skinned as I age? Or am I simply more aware that I don't know everything?

I hear their roar and I retreat and reflect.

Here's a teacher on a summer day, playing with the alphabet, playing with words.

Adamance - An ABC Poem

Avoid. Anger. Argue. Attack. Annihilate. Against. Absolute.
Block. Bother. Barrage. Believe. Brazen.
Curtail. Critique. Cut off. Contrary. Complain. Circular.
Deny. Deride. Dismiss. Defy. Denigrate. Divide. Depress.
Erase. Exaggerate. Eliminate. Exclude. Exhaust.
Fear. Force. Fight.
Go around. Garbage. Grumpy.
Halt. Hijack. Hard.
Impede. Ignore. Interrupt. Interrogate. Impatient.
Jeer. Judge. Jarring.
Kick to the side.
Lament. Lambast. Label.
Manipulate. Malign.
No. Never. Negative. Not listening.
Postpone. Push back. Prickly.
React. Refute. Resist. Refuse.
Shut down. Stop. Stuck. Stunt. Stridence.
Unbreakable. Umbrage. Ugly.
Walk away.
You are wrong.

What is the opposite of adamance?
What would this look, sound, feel like?
How might we reason together?
How might we encourage more receptiveness and flexibility in discussions?
What happens if we dare to let go of a conviction - even just momentarily - and simply drink in what another has to offer?

Not Adamance - An ABC Poem

Grapple with.
Open minds.
Yes, and.

There is one word that is in both poems - can you find it?

This one word sends me off in another tangent, thinking about how differently this action can be if you are feeling adamant versus feeling collaborative.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sanctity of life

I am still stunned by the results of our presidential election. I simply do not understand how so many evangelicals voted for him. How does his perspective align with Christianity? Why is "right to life" only about anti-abortion? I think life-giving policies help people move out of poverty, create a brighter future for our children, confront racism, seek tolerance rather than abuse and hate, protect the environment, and support strong schools, safe neighborhoods, vibrant jobs, living wages, and good medical care. This poem comes from my mental struggle with this.

Sweet Sanctity of Life

Sweet sanctity,
Sweet sanctity,
Sweet sanctity of life.
Jesus implores us,
we will love you from the seed,
protect the unborn child,
choose life,
you have the right to life,
oh, you, precious being.

Sweet sanctity,
Sweet sanctity,
Sweet sanctity of life,
Jesus implores us.
The child is born and,
life is no longer cherished.
Only freeloaders need universal health care,
skip the frivolous phone and buy medicine, you fool,
your poverty is due to your own poor choices;
let's stop immigrants with walls and bans,
bombs are hiding underneath that veil,
refugees are not our responsibility;
what is this Black Lives Matter crap?,
they get what they deserve,
guns in classrooms and churches will save souls;
LGBTQ, assaulting my precious child in the restroom,
I'm not selling cake to the likes of you;
nasty women in leadership,
let's grab 'em by the pussy;
buy another case of bottled water,
who cares where the plastic is disposed,
I won't be around for that.
What's this? You don't believe in Jesus?
Your life is a living hell.
You are less than me.
You are not my problem.

Sweet sanctity,
Sweet sanctity,
Sweet sanctity of life.
Jesus implores us,
we will love you from the seed
oh, you, precious child.
Look at these
voting for sanctity of life
with this man of hate,
loving you as a seed
but not in life
as you live and breathe.

A place for me to play

For several years, I've written a blog about 'all things early childhood' (Pondering Preschool), and this is a fabulous outlet for my anecdotes, ideas, and inspirations about teaching young children. 

However - there is more to me.

I've decided to start a second blog, for all those other thoughts that I want to share.

The blog title "Writing Beside Me" is a play on a phrase in this fabulous poem by Juan Ramon Jiminez:

I am not I.                                       
I am this one,
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
the one who remains silent when I talk,
the one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
the one who takes a walk where I am not,
the one who will remain standing when I die.

This poem speaks to me because
I love to watch, observe, wonder.
I've become very practiced at it.
It is an often invisible role,
where I write in my journal and
go on my merry way.

As the years have gone by, I've realized
this unseen force,
this sense of "I am not I,"
is the writer in me,
the one who keeps thinking about that one random thing,
the one who becomes preoccupied,
the one who stews and debates and reconsiders,
the one who hurts and cries,
the one who laughs out loud,
the one who is outraged,
the one who is hopeful,
the one who wanders away.

Writing this blog is silence heard.

I invite you to read.