Some of you have mentioned that you’re keeping a Curiosity Journal, as well. Leave your link in the comments so that we can visit and enjoy your weekly review.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I was using every spare moment to read student papers submitted for a writing class I’m facilitating: essays on Success and Failure based on a prompt created by SparkNotes. The class only meets once a week, so one of the ways I continue to teach is by embedding detailed evaluations directly into the text of their papers. It’s not the ideal way to offer input, but it’s better than nothing.On Monday, before diving into those papers, I managed to publish a response to a chapter in Mindfulness, the book I’ve been reading with The High Calling book club. I’ve mined no more than a few nuggets from this particular read, one of which I highlighted in that post.I also spent time last week reading through the word portraits composed in response to the Community Writing Project at The High Calling.
The current PhotoPlay prompt at The High Calling describes the use of contre-jour, or shooting against the light. Assistant Photo Editor Kelly Sauer‘s shots are always infused with light, creating a soft, soul-stirring glow. I longed to achieve that effect, but by the time I figured out how to change settings on my camera to let in more light, cloud cover and rain moved in. No sun. No light. No contre-jour.But during that first wave of playing around, I was able to capture this.It’s a start.Can’t wait for the sun to come out, so I can go out and play.
The other day my daughter came downstairs and mumbled that she felt funny all over. Achy. I swear I could see heat shimmering from her cheeks. While the rest of us went to co-op, she had to stay home, missing critical instruction.Before we left that morning, I asked, “Which class are you most concerned about?””Worldview,” she replied. “She’s going to explain everything we need to know about our papers, and I don’t want to mess mine up.””Anything else?””Well, maybe Algebra 2.”I should think so. It’s her most challenging subject.For Worldview, I plugged in my smartphone and set it next to one of the students, a fun and kind young man who is always eager to help. “Can this phone sit next to you and record the class?” I asked.”Sure!”I brought up the voice recorder and it rolled for the entire 1.5 hours. The student amused himself by leaning down and whispering things like, “Make sure you write this down. It’s important.” The young man happens to be quite attractive. When I brought home the recording for her that afternoon, I suspect she listened more attentively for the times he spoke directly to her.Then I had the brilliant idea of using Skype for Algebra 2. My daughter logged in at home and I logged in at co-op, setting my laptop on the table so that my daughter could listen to the lecture and take notes in real time.We dealt with minor glitches. For one, the class couldn’t hear my daughter; but she could hear the class, which is what mattered most. Also, she couldn’t see the board due to glare, but from what the teacher was saying and the students were asking, she understood the lesson.The next morning, her younger sister woke up with the same fever. Instead of having her skip or reschedule an Algebra 1 tutoring session scheduled that afternoon, I phoned the teacher and asked if she would consider trying Skype. She was willing. The teacher and my daughter met virtually, staying on track with her course work.
On the ledge in our eating area sit bottles of sand and shells.On my dresser lies a smooth stick I lugged home from the Gulf of Mexico.In a glass bowl nearby, a collection of white rocks sifted from a dune.
As I look out the window next to my desk, sunlight struggles to penetrate cloud cover. We are given only a dull, lifeless, filtered gray-white.
I make tea as wind gusts fling branches.
I glance at my jars and try to imagine the feel of smooth white sand under bare feet, undulating surf curling in and skimming forward, leaving bubbly froth at my toes. I try from memory to hear the gulls and remember the silent, graceful pelicans gliding across the surface of the sea.
Then a rumble. The neighbor rolls his trash can up the driveway and into the garage. Someone flushes the upstairs toilet. I finish my tea and stare at the table for a moment before rinsing my cup.
I created the Community Writing Post summary for The High Calling on Wednesday, highlighting a couple of stories from the collection of word portraits that were composed. You can meet my grandmother.
Credits: Question mark, jars of sand, and contre-jour photos copyright 2011 by Ann Kroeker.Langer, Ellen. Mindfulness. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1989. Print.