What I’m reading: For bedtime comfort reading, I’m rereading all of Barbara Pym’s novels in mostly chronological order. I’m three-quarters through Excellent Women right now, and it’s superb (and quite a bit better than her other three novels that I recently finished). I love having no decision to make at night about what book to read, so I plan to continue to select one author to reread in their entirety in chronological order. I’m nearly finished with Matthew Salesses’s brilliant Craft in the Real World, a critique of creative writing workshops and a centering of the craft practices of writers who belong to marginalized groups.
What I’m writing: Daily slices, of course, and daily in my writer’s notebook, usually alongside my students during our quickwrite time to start class but also in the early morning by myself. And lesson plans and slides. So many slides this year. I’m trying to decide what my next project will be. I’m disinclined right now to participate in National Poetry Writing Month as I have done for the past few years but I may also change my mind on April 1, as I tend to do. Slicing again has helped me recommit to my writing practice, though, and reflect on how essential writing is to my identity.
What I’m learning: Regular infusions of professional development keep me going, so I’m learning to schedule a conference or workshop every month or so and to prioritize my professional learning–easy to do when I was a college professor, more challenging now that I’m a classroom teacher again. I’ve got a new stack of professional development books to read, including Tom Newkirk’s new Writing Unbound: How Fiction Transforms Student Writing. Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher are also back for a second lap of their daily talks, and I am savoring each one.
What I’m loving: My first Detroit spring. Two days ago, I saw flowering trees beginning to bloom. IT IS MARCH. Flowering trees are a MAY phenomenon in South Dakota. I’m not used to springs and falls that last for months rather than a week, maybe two if we’re lucky. Today I will check my own little cumulus serviceberry, planted in the fall as part of the city’s urban tree project, for buds (and also research how to stake and straighten it since it is the most crooked tree I’ve ever seen, though already greatly beloved by me. A tree! Our very own tree!)