Poetry Friday & #SOLC17: What’s in My Journal by William Stafford

The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of  a writing community.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at The Poem Farm.


Here we are, the last day of another March Slice of Life writing challenge.  At the beginning of February, I began to have doubts about whether I’d participate this year.  I was in the midst of the writing doldrums; it was hard to think about what to write, and nothing I managed to write sounded pleasing or worthwhile.  By the end of February I knew for certain that I would not write, and (I’ll admit) I felt a certain relief.  The March Challenge is not for the writing faint of  heart, and I was feeling very faint of heart.

On the last day of February I shared my thoughts with my writing Voxer group.  I’ve made up my mind, I shared cheerily, but good luck and fare thee well!

They listened without passing judgement.  They expressed some regret.  And, on the first day of March, they wrote.

Driving to work that morning, I felt rather pleased with myself. I thought I’d made the right decision.  But, by lunchtime, I felt the familiar pull – the call of this writing community.  I remembered previous March Challenges: the collective cheer leading squad we became as one March day moved into another.  I remembered how our stories fed each others’  imaginations, how our ideas passed from one writer to another, blossoming and blooming into new ideas along the way.  And I remembered the sweet satisfaction of this day, the last day, and the way the community came together to celebrate the journey…weary, but proud.

So, at lunchtime, I wrote.

And something interesting happened along the way…I grew back into my writing life again.   Writers need authentic and supportive audiences, writers need the consistency of feedback, and writers need a sense of purpose.   As a writing teacher, I know that all of the above is important for my students  and I work really hard to make sure they are encompassed in our classroom writing community.  But, as a writer myself, I don’t think I work hard enough at making sure that these things are present in my own writing life. Luckily, the March Slice of Life Challenge offers all that, right here, day after day.  I didn’t know how much I counted on this community until I almost didn’t have it.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for gifting us this venue.  Thank you fellow writers for showing up, day after day, to write, read, comment, and cheer.  What’s in my writing journal these days?  Your words, and you.


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27 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & #SOLC17: What’s in My Journal by William Stafford

  1. First, I’m glad you wrote. I enjoy your posts and marvel at your teaching prowess. I can’t imagine this community without you! But, I so so so understand. Last year, I tried but my sadness made it hard to even get up every day and I could not share the sadness in my heart. I posted only a few times in all of 2016 but I did read posts on SOL each Tuesday as I dealt with my own doldrums. This year, I did not commit to writing until 10 PM on February 28th. I really did not think I had a voice anymore. But something happened after a few days in March. I felt a little less sad even though my life is very different. There were actually days in March when I saw the sunshine in life – even though I thought that might never happen again.

  2. I, too, am glad you talked yourself into the challenge. With so many new slicers to read and comment on, I haven’t traveled this way as often as I usually do. I am ready to get back to my regular routine…thank you for being a part of that!

  3. Well Tara I must say you made a great decision in the end. For you and for the rest of us. Your insights and observations are highly valued in this writing community. Your words reflect your capacity to illustrate and illuminate the topics you identify. Thanks for your continuing contributions and support for those around you.

  4. Audience matters in ways I don’t think we pay attention to at school. I am working with a fifth grade at one of the school sites in Newark where Imwork. I have know the children since they art red at the school as kindergarteners. They are writing sci fi stories and I am merely offering comments and nudges here and there. I asked if they might like to,publish the work they are doing and they expressed such surprise and interest.

    Your post today has me thinking about the need for wider audiences. Thank you.

  5. I would have missed your voice and your thoughtfulness, every day, knowing how much you were also working at work. I remember, it’s hard! Stafford’s poem made me smile, “those pages you know exist but can’t find them.” Yes.

  6. This true confession our yours is shocking to me-that you might not participate! Your posts are always excellent and your commenting commitment blows my mind. I feel that writing to you is what running to me is. I’m glad you showed up! Congratulations on completing another challenge!

  7. I did not realize you were debating writing this year. Your posts are always some of my favorite to read–so full of wisdom and beautiful, lyrical phrases. I’m so grateful to have you as inspiration in this writing community. See you on Tuesdays!

  8. Congratulations for finishing the challenge! I have sometimes excused myself from activities that felt like too much—and often been sorry. The only one who misses out at times like that is oneself.

  9. I also am thrilled that you wrote. I always arrive here with a sense of waiting – I know within moments, I will be enlightened. For that, I have much gratitude. I wasn’t sure I could do this month either. I wasn’t sure I had a weeks worth of posts let alone an entire 31 days. But day by day we seem to do it – and yes, finding inspiration from this community.

  10. I, too, had decided not to write.
    You have written a beautiful slice about why folks write in the SOL Challenge.
    So grateful you write.
    Your writing is wonderful.
    I love reading your reflections, and enjoy being in your classroom or on your farmhouse porch.

  11. I’m so glad you decided to listen to that inner voice and join! I almost didn’t participate this year either and I’m so glad I did! I think we needed it this year! LOVE the poem you shared! Thank you so much!

  12. I am so glad you chose to write this past month. I think of you as an integral part of this community, and your words and voice are so often an inspiration. Loved your reflections on this writing community and why we participate in this challenge. Again, so glad you were here!!!

  13. “I grew back into my writing life again…” This is such a perfect way to describe this “pull” and this possibility. Thank you, Tara, for your honest reflection. I’ve been there too, as have we all. Your post serves as a hopeful reminder. And this is just such a cool poem too. Happy Poetry Month, friend! xo

  14. I’m glad the month brought you back into that writer space. We forget the need for community when we are in the day to day deluge. We need to feed ourselves.

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