Writing My Life

Now and Then

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Thanks for the Memories, as I Can’t Find Mine!

More than once I’ve commented upon my absent-minded behaviors. Thank heavens I have kind friends and family members who help me keep track of myself. Among those is a clever colleague who just left our school district’s curriculum office.

For sometime, Luann watched me leave the office and return for my purse and again for my phone or for my glasses or my laptop.  Once I couldn’t leave because my keys had totally disappeared, NEVER to be found. Another instance, I had to enlist the help of our young custodian to rifle through his large trash can to find my cell phone. And a few times returned home to retrieve my work laptop that I forgot!

One day about a year or so ago, I was packing up to head home and Luann walked to my desk.

Reminder 1“See this little check-list posted here,” she said. “I did that as a reminder to gather your critical necessities BEFORE walking out the door.” Even though I had not noticed the flashy reminder during the day, I was delighted!

“That’s perfect!” I said.

“Oh, but that’s not all,” she answered. Then she led me past the 5 cubicles that lined the aisle to her desk. “Here is a second checklist just in case you forget to refer to the first one!” Reminder 2

Thank you, Dear Luann. You don’t know how many times these little checklists have saved me trips and time.  I especially appreciate the last two items on the lists: “smile” and “mind”. I will ALWAYS smile whenever I look at these as they will remind me of you! Many hugs to you, my friend.


I’m B-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k! Sort of …

I cannot believe I have gone so long without checking in. I have either been super busy or super tired, but I am repenting. I have so many topics I want to post – here are just a few:

  1. 5 more loser writing contest entries
  2. Birth stories – highlights from bringing 4 great sons into this world
  3. Tribute to G.E. – a man who knows how to show appreciation
  4. Part 2 of my Grandma’s story – part 1 was posted MONTHS ago
  5. Tonz of adorable grandchildren pix WITH captions

That will do for now. I realize posting this list is not all that exciting for readers, but hopefully, it will serve as a BIG reminder to me. Let’s see if it works! =)

Photo compliments of some AWESOME contributor to Flickr.com.



… 50-word fiction by young, guest authors …

Last July I met Marlena Henry, a teacher in Granite School District,  at a professional development class I taught. You have her to blame for introducing me to 50-word fiction. I decided I should honor her by posting some of her 9th-grade students’ works. Be prepared to be WoWeD!

In the Way

His footsteps were loud against the platform. “I have done nothing!” He cried as the noose wrapped tightly around his neck. The desperate cries of the condemned.

As the podium gave way, two people smiled. The first his brother, now destined to inherit the crown. Another his sister, with only one more in her way.

Here are a couple of fun ones:


The rebel awakened, finding himself in his room. He knew that today would be the day. Death was on his doorstep. Doomsday was calling to him. His very existence was pointless unless he could avoid this condemnation. The door opened, and his warden approached.

“You’re late for school, Son.

Note: Sadly, the third student example, “The Fool Who Invented Kissing,”  was not an original piece of writing.  Yes, it was plagiarized! Dang! Teachers try so hard to curb this kind of behavior, and it is so disappointing. I have contacted the teacher, Marlena. The student is not in her class anymore, but she can still find him.

My apologies to the writer who truly authored this fun piece.


… 6-word memoirs can say so much …

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks helping the Utah State Office of Education roll out the Common Core State Standards to some 5000 teachers throughout the state. Scores of facilitators have traveled the state to educate educators about the core and to share teaching strategies as well. While we’ve been sharing lots of lesson ideas, my FAVORITE is the 6-word memoir. They are fun to write and interesting to read.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Legend has it that someone pressed Ernest Hemingway to write a novel using only 6 words – an appropriate request for the king of minimalism who didn’t disappoint. His creation tells a story of loss and heartbreak.

      Baby shoes for sale: never worn.

The first time I remember reading 6-word memoirs was when I qualified for AARP membership and received the organizations magazine for geezers. Some made me chuckle; some made me think; and some, like Hemingway’s, made me reach for the Kleenex or the toilet paper, depending on where I was perusing the column.

It takes some thought to sum up an experience in 6 words, but tweeting on Twitter is good practice because the writer has to weigh every word, and if one is a light-weight, out it goes. I noticed that most mini-memoirists keeps playing around with the words until the statement feels “just right.” Sometimes that happens in a matter of minutes and sometimes it takes a matter of  … minutes. (I don’t know of many writers from our classes who pulled an all-nighter trying to exact 6 perfect words.)

Some writers created HUMOROUS mini-memoirs like this one:

“Yikes! Former student is my proctologist.”

Others are TENDER:

“Dad: Always worried and very proud.”

Many are just REALISTIC:

“Taxi: Booked for next 7 years.”


“Seeking simplicity in world of complexity.”


“Two-year-old whacked Nanna with golf club.”


“Dreaming of cool water; sandy  toes.”


“Waiting for peace in my loss.”


“Left finger itching for THE question.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

In Parting: One sweet teacher told me that writing and sharing the memoir was even therapeutic as she reflected upon a recent hiking accident where she and her grandson tumbled some 50 feet down a trail. It was a frightening and painful experience that ended miraculously.

I feel blessed that during this past month I met some wonderful people and learned that even something as simple as this little exercise provided a way to build communities of new friends.

P.S. Wondering if I created a 6-word memoir? Yes, I did. But before I share, I invite YOU to comment with YOUR mini-memoir!

So here’s my attempt. I wrote a couple to make a simple comparison of two lives a couple of generations apart.

My grandmother’s memoir: “Raised 13 children during Great Depression.”

My memoir: “Raised 4 boys; suffered great depression.”  

Note to sons: You know I am kidding! Raising you 4 was the adventure of a life time! Love you!