Done and Feelin’ Good: #sol15 9/31

Okay friends, here it is!

After the usual number of hours of non-stop torture and pure pleasure creating a new piece, I am done and it is published on my You Tube channel and soon Stacey will post it somewhere on the Two Writing Teachers blog and I feel good that it’s done before Stacey’s deadline, although in my mind I needed to have it done before I could pack for Cancun.

Not that I still don’t have pressure hanging over my head. I have two more pieces that I need for next week but Cancun could be an easy place to get them done. We’ll see. I’m also taking my ukulele along. Easy to pack, fun to play with and I have not been playing with it much.

But the piece at hand. I need some reflection.
So there’s 55 Slicers represented. Lots of Slicers shared their desks and studies with dogs and cats as writing partners. I loved the captions, I loved the selfies, I loved the variety and it became my challenge to make sure everyone had their moment in the piece (some maybe not enough-sorry) but I didn’t want to go beyond the song I selected or the time 4 1/2 minutes. Some might feel that’s too long, but I never worry too much about time. If the story to be told demands more time and Tuvia doesn’t get bored half way through his viewing, I’m feeling like I’m on solid ground.

It was fun to use this piece to experiment with my new Final Cut tools- plugins from Pixel Studios. It slowed down my process but it allowed for creative exploration. Important, right?

The next piece will get easier, maybe. It always takes time to get into a routine. Yes, I was in a great mode yesterday but I had to stop before I started making mistakes. Around 11:30, way after Tuvia, I shut down and knew I had time to be done in the morning, before my day of beauty for the beach with Dana.

She, by the way, loved this piece.

So enjoy…. Hope you love/like it. I have a pre wedding video up next, back-to-back with a Pd piece documenting classrooms in Ellenville, NY.

Okay, I need a Tylenol. I can’t afford a cold right now.


Snow Day to Create!: #sol15 6/31


One more draft and I could cross another project off my March list and then it kept snowing all day and I didn’t even bother to get out of my pjs.  I can’t even remember if I brushed my teeth.

I had just a few things left to do on this piece I shared above.

Usually, I’m in total control of these pieces but for this one it wasn’t just my story to tell.  I had to create in collaboration with my SUNY New Paltz team because this piece was for them.  It was their story to tell to N CATE, the team that moves onto the campus to observe and determine their continued accreditation.

I bristled a bit, annoyed that I had to wait for Tom’s revisions and when they arrived the process slowed down as I tried to honor their requests and do justice to the process.

I’ve been at this for 15 years, maybe more and it never gets boring.  I always  procrastinate before I jump into a new project,  adding some unnecessary pressure,  so I’m forced to race to the finish line, making it dramatic- heading to bed in the early morning hours.  But I love it when one of these creations (OLW-create!) goes live on You Tube, a new addition to my channel.

I love this storytelling format, using Final Cut software on my Mac, editing with their razor blade, condensing  the heart of the story, the story of teaching… making what we have kept hidden for so long, public.

In this piece three teacher voices proclaim the power of the Hudson Valley Writing Project.  I hope I did everyone  justice.

I Rise with Maya: #sol15 5/31

I’ve been waking up most mornings with nothing to write about. Calmly, I start clicking around the web, reading fresh Slices or clicking around my websites. Facebook was my treasure chest today. I found Maya Angelou this lit up and watched and listened to her share her I RISE poem twice, with eyes closed.

Years ago, when I was teaching in Pearl River and traveling to New York City, every Monday night for the 92nd St.Y’s Poetry Center, one night my friend Hilda and I feasted on a surprise performance by Maya Angelou for two of the fastest hours of my life. A feast of Maya Angelou, dancing around the stage, singing, sharing poetry, talking with us, and everything came from her mind, no notes.

Maya Angelou got into my head and heart that night and she’s never left me. I went home and started reading everything she wrote-all the books in her memoir series, every book of her poetry. She became my fantasy friend and I became her champion.

I’m sitting in our living room and watching the snow falling, AGAIN and I’m back with Hilda applauding Maya, hoping she will keep sharing her golden nuggets with us, encore after encore until she waves, disappears, the stage lights dim and there’s silence as we exit the auditorium slowly and head for home.

I’m sure that if I call Hilda right now, so many years later, she could return with me to relive that night with Maya Angelou. So after I finish this Slice first I’m going back to You Tube to reconnect with Maya and that gem of a night and then Hilda will be my first call.

I RISE!!!!