Sunday, August 21, 2016

Storytellers 'n Summertime Loves

One part sand, one part work, one part reading stories, one part writing stories, and all parts family-hood
I am a sucker for stories and storytellers. One goal I had this summer was to write a story a day. And I did. A few were long ones but most were short narratives or poems or raps. I took a stab at flash fiction which super sucked cause my imagination is a funnel. But from that process, I learned that elements of a good story can come from shared experiences - some sprinkled with exaggerations and embellished ideas and thoughts that are grounded in values and lessons, and above all, told with heart and damn good punch lines. I learned that exactness and accuracy in story telling are boring :) - that I learned from these authentic people I know along coastal California, the Wind River range in Wyoming, ridges of Colorado and Arizona, and from the lakeshores in Wisconsin.

This was a summer of stories. From my father's memories of WWII on Guam and re-telling dreams he is having of late, to Brad retracing his paper route and childhood in AZ, to Emma's early memories of Wyoming and Misa's intricate expression of the Pacific Ocean, to everyone's written goodbyes after spreading Nana's ashes, to our most recent emotional time at the 60/80 Skinner Brothers reunion where every single story had context, relevance, and depth - these were just a few of the story highlights.

I think you all got a story or more in this summer - whether telling one or listening to one - it all matters. Cause really, something I have come to realize is that even one story can be a lifeline. Even one story can help connect or make connections, release confusion or prompt a few questions, and this process is waaaay better than a series of videos or TV shows you passively watch on digital download. You know what I mean? You get real characters, a real setting, and a real plot.

So in the spirit of many of us returning to school routines, and to prep you all to respond with substance to "How was your summer?" get going on a story today.

These are my top iphone story pics.

first look first feel ocean love 

playmates good, bad, sad, glad, mad 

forever learning, searching, questioning, thinking, stressing

papa joe's calms strengthens his nerves 

first cousin love near and far 

generational love noticeable in Werntz squint 
sibling laughter transcend distance and time  

riding dirt and gears makes gnarly girl 

rise and shine for this new thing 

Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde at APT together for first family picnic :) 

mighty west coast, west mountains, midwest kids (photo credit: Becca Skinner) 
spreading ashes into the wind at Burnt Lake, dropped off some lines of love 
wyoming desert stop split rock where Brad overnighted a few times
Adding to the running and climbing Birthday Challenge year 52, a little round of pull ups
summing up summer with queen anne's lace, wildflower dedication (photo credit: Maggie!) 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Postcard Poetry

After a three week vacation to see my family in CA and Brad's family in AZ, we've been home for most of July. We'll be leaving in a few days for one last trip to CO and WY.  There's been a lot of urban and trail running, hanging around, and some climbing going on. Every time I think about that one or two domestic chore, I put it off 'til the next time. 

In the meantime, I've read a lot of books including the new literature series our district adopted (I am totally unenthusiastic about the anthologies but I think my students will like the stories ...). I got super amped after the Hip Hop in the Heartland institute. And this month, I am doing a Poetry Postcard challenge where I write a poem a day to a stranger on a list and send it off to them. It's like an exchange - so far, I've received some great poems from strangers in this big amazing world. 

Here is a beautiful poem from someone on my list. It's funny how poetry and writing brings strangers together. 

Hope you all are having a great August!