Wendy's Writing Project Blog

Today’s marathon pace: 4.225 June 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 2:24 pm

Go figure. Now before you get all judgmental about whether that’s a good pace or a horrible one, let me clarify that number means I wrote 4.23 words for each minute of the UIWP Writing Marathon 2014.

It just wasn’t my day. I’m celebrating that I participated and that I finished.


First stop: Smith Hall then the bubbling fountain to write.

Not knowing what to write wouldn’t qualify as a quandary, but I’m out of ideas for ways of writing about not having ideas to write about.

As the writing marathon gets underway, I’m excited to explore the beauty on campus once again. I never fail to appreciate something new each year. It is also a bitter realization of how my introvert ways have prevented me from exploring the world around me. When Melanie asked, “Do you think you can walk out on that balcony?” as we passed the conservatory. I really wanted to say, go make it happen. Instead, I said I didn’t know and blurted out something about never seeing anyone do it.

There are many things that I haven’t seen that have prevented me from exploring new frontier. I wonder how I got here.

Peace ruined by a bus stop– breaks and accelerations.


Second stop: Krannert Art Museum

Peace restored by a lovely painting and a frozen coffee drink.

Our presence has beckoned the security folks out of the secret doors. This feels odd. I feel that we’re inconveniencing them by having them make an appearance just because we’re here. Who can thoroughly enjoy something when they know they are being watched? Is this really necessary?

Holy cow there is life in this building. Not only does it sprawl, but there’s even an Espresso that will whip up frozen drinks. I wonder if Drake has been here? If he has, I wonder why he doesn’t come here often. I bet he hasn’t even been back to Spurlock since I took him that one time. Why wouldn’t he? Oh. Wait. I haven’t either.

I was so inspired after my second writing marathon two years ago that I declared Wednesdays would forever become mom and son writing marathon days. I looked forward to the bond this nonelective activity would forge.

Talk about painful. Sulkingly, the 13 year old got in the car. He knew not to even try to talk his way out of it. We went to the conservatory. We sat. I wrote. He doodled the checkerboard pattern from his notebook cover. I shared. He didn’t say thank you. He didn’t share. He didn’t talk. We moved to the Spurlock Museum. We sat. I wrote. He doodled. I shared. He didn’t talk. Needless to say writing marathon Wednesdays didn’t last.

It turns out my escapade to foster the development of a lifelong writer didn’t kill his desire to write, as I expected to have caused irreversible damage. Two years later, when he started high school, he didn’t come home after school one day. We couldn’t reach him by text and he didn’t answer our calls. 5:00 came and he finally returned our calls, “Mom.

I’m at creative writing club.



Third stop: ACES library

Italy has a lot of gorgeous gardens. I know this because I just spent my whole time reading The Gardens in Time.

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Found June 23, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 11:58 am

In this morning’s demonstration, Elizabeth led us to choose a piece of writing and identify 20 important words or phrases. I selected my first blog post— a reflection on my earliest days as a UIWP fellow in 2010. I used the list to generate the following found poem

Project is underway
Honored disguise
I don’t like to write
Lifelong laborious chore
Lack confidence
Want to enjoy
Get beyond
In the company of talented educators

I’m guessing that having a shared experience made it easy for Karla (my partner) to pull out the intended meaning, which would be the same as my post. I think it would be interesting to use the list with a different lense to try to create something unconnected. I’ll think on that.


A birthday after an author as mentor June 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 10:10 am

Johanna’s demonstration prompted us to write about a memorable birthday or an embarrassing event. She led us through using authors as mentors by sharing Sandra Cisneros’ short story, “Eleven”. We noted the use of meaningful repetition, internal and external dialogue, tone, and figurative language to be some of the treasures that we enjoyed. I opted to add repetition to a story about some birthday plans that were out of my hands. This is the result of my attempt to learn and remix from Cisneros…

At 40-something, any memorable birthday is a good birthday, but my friends went out of their way to make my 40th extra special. Beyond the matching football jerseys with the age plastered across the back the size of a pair of giant squid’s eyes, bless their hearts, my friends had a bigger surprise. They concocted a plan to take me to Florida. This is one of the many advantages to having a birthday that falls over Spring Break.  This is also one of the many advantages of having great friends.

I’m not sure what we did on my actual birthday. We celebrated the entire week– another reason why I may not remember the specifics. At 40-something, any memorable birthday is a good birthday. Regardless of the details, I know I had a wonderful time with incredible people.


So… so what… so now… June 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 4:02 pm

To close the third day of UIWP, here is one thing on my mind:

So I learned that my demonstration group has been thinking hard about meaningful presentation topics

So what I know is where each is in their process on their chosen topics

So now I need to think deeply with them, consider resources, and get ready to be rocked!




Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 12:31 am

The following draft is a result from a task that Nina “I Can’t Believe Scott Made Me Go First” Samii assigned in her demonstration highlighting her journey with conferring and an intentional structure for peer feedback and revision.


“Go to YouTube! Go to YouTube and look up Ginger Rogers dance at age 92!” Mom demanded. “It is unbelievable.”

Tilly brought up a search bar and typed in ‘Ginger Rogers dance at 92’. Mom confirmed the search to be successful and scooched her chair close to see the screen. “There it is. That one,” she said.

As the video played, I got more entertainment from watching mom drool and cackle over ‘Ginger Rogers’ doing the salsa than I did the actual video of the old lady dancing with her 29-year-old ‘great-grandson’. Before long, she was losing layers of clothes. What I viewed made me grimace and stare at the same time. Not mom. Her head would bop to to left then she would lean into the dip to the right as if to salsa in her seat.

“Isn’t that something?!” she asked.

“That’s something alright,” Tilly and I confirmed. We’ve gone through similar media lessons before. “Everything you see on Fox or the Internet isn’t real, Mom.” we reminded. Tilly quietly returned to a search that would lead to mom’s broken heart.

Curious souls can view the video in question here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
If you are wondering what ever became of Ginger Rogers, click here.



UIWP 2014 June 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 9:40 am

I ran into one of ‘my parents’ this morning. She had just dropped off her son for his first day of Reading Clinic. Both of us are lucky to have the University of Illinois in our backyards. He is going to get some excellent support in building his reading skills and I have an opportunity to reenergize and refuel my professional life. I will spend the next 14 days with a group of teachers who have come together to grow their practice around teaching writing. My goals for this summer are to provide everyone with a comfortable environment to stretch their thinking and reestablish habits for sustained reading and writing. Above all, I hope to add to the network that shares and supports as we all work toward a common goal. (It would be exciting to drop-in on my friend and read with him.)

UIWP 2014 here we go!