Saturday, February 27, 2016

Finding your writing tribe

Once upon a time, I had a real-life writing group.  Actually, I've been in a few over the years.  For whatever reason, after a season or two or maybe even as long as three, the group drifts apart. 
I've had more success in participating in online groups such as Two Writing Teachers, Teacher's Write! summer camp, NaNoWriMo, and YA Buccaneers. 

In real life, I have become a rather solitary writer, but these groups keep me on my path.  I hope to be part of a vibrant in-real-life writing community at some point, but even when that happens, I will remain in these online groups.  I have found support and critique and much encouragement from them along the way. They have been a lifeline to the writer in me. 

This is a lovely post from Two Writing Teachers' Stacey Shubitz on finding your writing tribe.  Be sure to check out the infographic near the end that really goes into the why & the how behind slice-of-life writing.  

Finding your writing tribe is so important.  Come check out the SOL16 challenge, won't you?  March is just a few days away and we'd love to have you join us.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Slice of Life Challenge

Throughout the month of March (and it is just around the corner! Squeeee!) I will once again participate in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.  This is a link that will take you to their FAQ. The goal is to actively participate in a community of writers by writing a slice of your life each day and commenting on at least 3 other slicers posts each day during the entire month of March.  
Some days my slice will absolutely have to do with my work as a teacher-librarian because clearly that is a huge and important part of my life. 

Some days my slice will have absolutely nothing to do with my work days because clearly that is not all I am or do.  

My goal is to recommit to the habit of daily writing, which is so easy to slip out of in the busyness of our lives, and to keep fresh in my mind the joys & difficulties of writing so that it can ultimately benefit my students. 

Some people have a secondary blog for this type of thing--but since my blog is not a big & important widely-read blog, (although wouldn't that be cool?) I figure it is easiest to do it right here.  :)

I'd love for you to join in---participating can really be a game-changer! I know it has been for me. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pen & Pigment

I seriously work with the most amazing folks on the planet.  Truly. 

Back in August, I started working on a heavy weeding of my ancient and rather large Reference section.  Enormous might be a better word choice, come to think of it. 

I have used many of these books to create a variety of book displays.  Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas trees, a giant bookish snowman, a Valentine heart.  All were lovely & fun, but honestly they are taking up valuable bookshelf real estate that I am going to need to put to better use. 


 (a pictorial stroll down memory lane!)

So, I started weeding, but what to do with all those sturdy books?  hmmmm.....

The art department at my campus is fabulous.  FABULOUS.  Upon my asking if they would be interested in joining up for an altered book project, they were full-fledged GO, and so our project was born.  
Pen & Pigment.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  Yep, that's the name of our collaborative effort, I guess you could say.  More creative than saying The Library & The Art Department.  

Fast Forward to last night.  

We held our art show in conjunction with another school event to get folks here.  The students' work was displayed in the library and light refreshments were served.  

The work will continue to be on display (on a very.tall.shelf.) for a bit.  I'm overjoyed that these students were able to creatively breathe new life into these old books.  


Bonus: I got to use my mama's vintage punch bowl.  :)

I wish you could take a look through these amazing pieces of art in person because the pics don't really do them justice (nor does the one of the punch bowl because it is SO pretty in real life!) but I'm thrilled to get to share this collaborative event with you.

Life is so good, y'all.

Monday, February 22, 2016

#amReading Monday

If you are looking for a fun and irreverent self-improvement book this may be just the thing you've been looking for!  I'm thoroughly enjoying it, and while the information it contains isn't particularly new, the format here is a fun way to revisit it.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

All the Bright Places

She strode up to my desk.
Words burning on her tongue.
Fury in her eyes.

I was on a call.
She waited.
Not patiently.
Her eyes boring into me.

As I hung up the receiver, she said,
I am SO mad at you right now.
You knew.  You KNEW
and you didn't even warn me.

Eyes welling with tears now.
Finger-jabbing in my direction
Illustrating her intensity.

A moment to breathe.
Quiet now, she speaks again.
Almost whispering.
I am Violet.
I am Violet and I LOVED him.
And he LOVED me.

I keep telling myself it isn't real,
that it is just a book.
Tears flowing freely now,
I hand her a tissue.
My eyes now welling with tears, I say,
I know. I know.

She says.

But we cannot fix anyone else,
I say.
The gift is to love one another as we are.

I know.
She says slowly.
But I am Violet. I AM Violet.
My job is to make everything okay.
It's what I do.

I tell her.

I don't cry.
Not in public, she says.
That's right, I say.
Your allergies are acting up.
Exactly, she says, taking another tissue.

She says,
I love this book.
It is everything.
I cried for hours last night.

I cried and then I called my best friend.
I told her all about the book.
And then I took it over to her because she has to read it.

And I need you to know I'm writing an alternative ending.
I KNOW it ended this way.  I know that.
But I'm writing my ending.
And I'm coming to book club today.
I'll be there.

(this was how my 1st period began today #truth)

3 steps to an awesome beginning

We tried something new at our last librarian's meeting that I just have to tell you about.  First, let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Marie Forleo, a life coach (among her many titles) whose work primarily focuses on entrepreneurship, although I find them very applicable to librarian life.

I subscribe to her Youtube channel and her email newsletter, etc.  Each Tuesday she comes out with a new edition of her show Marie TV.  In one episode she interviews a woman who discusses a great method to starting meetings.  She suggests that everyone shares 3 things: a brag, a gratitude, and a desire.

So many of us have great difficulty sharing our wonderful news with people.  We feel bad "bragging" on ourselves and what is going on in our libraries.  The fact is, we had better start tooting our own horns, folks!  If we aren't educating and information the public about what we actually DO they won't KNOW.  I loved the way this episode of Marie TV called it "trueing up to what IS."  Don't you just love that?  I know I can TRUE up to the great things going on in my library without feeling like I'm a braggart---as long as I think of it that way!

Guess what?  YOU CAN, TOO! We all have gifts & talents we are meant to share with one another. If you aren't sharing your great ideas, then how can I learn from you? If I'm not sharing, then how can I help you to sharpen your saw?

Thursday the district librarians met for our February meeting.  I really enjoy our get-togethers.  We have great snacks and great conversations, and I really felt that opening up the meeting this way was particularly successful.  It felt like people shared a bit more deeply, and were more real with one another, actually.

Here's what I do know: we are better when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with one another & we accomplish more when we are all rowing in the same direction.  This way of opening up a meeting felt like a powerful shift in that direction.

I encourage you to give it a shot, and if you want more specific info on it, here's Marie's video (skip to 10:58 if you just want the info!)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Reads

We've started a new high school library book club recently. Last week we really talked about how we wanted this thing to be organized and what we wanted to call our group. (by the way, we decided to go with the cleverly named BOOK CLUB as our official name.)

Tomorrow we will have our first actual book discussion--and the kids voted unanimously to read All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.  Maybe I should say--the bulk of our group had just finished it and so it was decided.

I am listening to it on audiobook.  It is up for an Audie award and all 3 of my paper copies are checked out, so I figured I'd read this one with my ears.  It is so, so heartbreakingly good.  I won't be done by tomorrow, unfortunately---but spoilers are no biggie for me.

I'm still reading Willie Nelson's autobiography.  That man has lived quite an interesting life!  Whew!
I'm also in the middle of the second of the Molly Murphy mystery books-- Death of Riley by Rhys Bowen. It is on hold until I finish my book club book, but the audio version is just wonderful with all those delicious Irish accents.

So what are YOU reading?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Library Magic

It was an excellent weekend for the libraries around here. First, Saturday afternoon I went to a fabulous event put on my awesome local public library--a tea party celebrating Downton Abbey. Several guests came in costume (not me--as I was on my way to decorate for the next fabulous event!), the decorations were lovely--almost as lovely as the delicious tea & snacks, and they even had crafts!  Check out the fascinator I made!

So.Much.Fun!  and best of all, I got to see some of my favorite people--the local public librarians, who work magic at our library.  I also got to see one of my all-time favorite former students who volunteers there now and has decided to begin her library degree!  My heart melted--because she will be a flipping AMAZING librarian.

Next, it was on to my library, where we held the M.A.G.I.C. Yule Ball.  Yes, I know Yule is long-past.  That's okay--we took some creative license!  We had the Best.Time.Ever. A lovely bunch of Harry Potter folks together with awesome music, great dancing, loads of snacks, and Dobby.  Now THAT'S a Saturday night, folks! M.A.G.I.C. has been one of the most fun groups I've ever had the privilege to sponsor. #always

Monday, February 1, 2016


I'm currently listening to Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen on audiobook, which I'm very much enjoying.  I just started it, so am very early on, but loving the historical fiction mystery which is the first of  the Molly Murphy series. Honestly, there is something so lovely about hearing the Irish accents that I super-love the audio version.

I've also just started Willie Nelson's autobiography, It's a Long Story: My Life.He is a fascinating man and has lived quite a life.  So far the book is funny and heartfelt and makes me feel like Willie is a long-lost cousin on my daddy's side.

Last in my current reading queue, but not in my heart is my VERY FIRST  package from UpperCase box!

Squeeeee!  Yes, as a Christmas present to myself I signed up for this YA book subscription and I am super excited about my first box.  Truthwitch, the first book in the new Witchlands series by Susan Dennard looks like an exciting fantasy action/adventure.  Plus, I got the cutest bookish socks (which, if you are doing the Happy Librarian Challenge, you know I love!) and some extra fun bonus bookish items.  All in all, the Uppercase Box is a happy-maker!  Woot! Woot!

Happy Reading, y'all!