Day 14: Save the World!

What did you think when you read my title? Perhaps you’ve read articles on how to save the world. Perhaps you are doing your part by recycling whenever possible. Perhaps you are reducing your carbon footprint by driving a ecologically clean car.

Here are a few ideas I discovered when I googled how to save the world. Reader’s Digest has an article titled 5 Crazy Ideas that Might Save the Planet. These ideas are a bit crazy, but there is some scientific reasoning behind each one.

  1. Give the earth some shade
  2. Wrap Greenland in a blanket
  3. Feed pollution to the algae
  4. Float New York on the water
  5. Get plankton to the ocean’s surface

Popular Science has 10 Audacious Ideas to Save the Planet. Forbes published an article that lists 20 ways to save the world. My google search found about 138,000,000 results (0.76 seconds) for how to save the world.

This whole search for ideas to save the world came about because of a sign I saw the other day as I was leaving a movie theater.


Really?! Isn’t that overstating it just a bit? Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s all it takes to save the world? Sigh . .  .

Day 4, 6 Words 6 Images

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” by Ernest Hemingway, is the most famous six word story. The concept of telling a story in six words has intrigued me for some time. My brain has played and abandoned the challenge of creating a six word story.

Last year, I attended a session by Don Goble at a conference and he revived that spark. He had videos of six words, six shots done by students that could take your breath away. However, time passed and my spark fizzled out.

This year he did a full day on the six word, six shot concept. A friend attended and came away bubbling with enthusiasm. I knew I wanted to try, but I also knew I could not put it into a video (not that savvy in the tech department).

Finally, I had a story to share. I took six photos, I selected six words. I combined them to document my work in a school.




Waterlogue 1.3.1 (72) Preset Style = Illustration Format = 8" (Large) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = Technical Pen Drawing Weight = Light Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces






I celebrate the choice this school made to invest in their teachers. Changing practices takes time. The teachers were given that time and support.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Day 1 Are You Scared?

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Let me answer the title question, YES! The writing adventure begins today. This is my seventh year tackling the challenge of writing every day. Every year I wonder what will I write about every. single. day.

Last week, I decided to peruse through Kate Messner’s book, 59 Reasons to Write, hoping that there would be a spark of inspiration I could use. She did not let me down. I found help for today in Lesson 7: Writing Scared. She talks about two kinds of fear. One keeps you safe from dangers, but the other is the uncomfortable feeling we get when we are about to try something new. The fear starts to whisper in your ear, “What do you think you are doing?”

She reminds me that this fear is one to seek because it stretches you as a person. She says, “So go on now. Be scared. Be brave. And write.” This is the month I stretch a little more as I write, try on some new types of writing, and find joy in the smallest moments of the day.

She ends the lesson with a prompt: Sometimes, writing scares me because . . . (feel free to use this prompt on a day you are stuck)

Writing scares me because it’s personal. It’s you sharing your thoughts for the world to critique and analyze. Isn’t that what my teachers did for every piece of writing I completed? Did anyone ever talk to me about my work? No, it was simply returned to me with all my errors glowing with red markings. My paper became my teacher’s paper. It said what she wanted it to say.  

I didn’t think I could write anything that someone would want to read. That thought stopped me, until I began writing small slices of life for thirty-one days in March and on Tuesdays the rest of the year. The comments fueled me to continue writing. I still didn’t see myself as a writer for a very long time. Now I have to acknowledge, yes, I am a writer. So, even though writing scares me, I know I can do it.

So come along with me this month, perhaps I will look to Kate for more ideas, or share a recipe, or try poetry, or find inspiration within the slices I read. This is the month when I stretch my writing muscles. I. Am. A. Writer.

Dreaded Machine

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

With my steps slowing, I follow the technician into the darkened room. A monitor glows. The only source of light is an overhead spotlight. I step up and face the dreaded machine, willing my mind to take me somewhere else.

“Step forward a little. Turn your head. Lean to the left. Put  your arm here, bend your elbow. Shoulder down. Reach over here. Tilt your head back.”

As the machine squeezes, the final command, “Don’t breathe!”

A repeat performance on the right side.

A few moments of pain are required each year. These uncomfortable minutes could save my life. Thank goodness the yearly mammogram is over!

Celebrate Learning with Ruth

celebrate new

The seed of this celebration began in January 2011 when someone planted an idea in my mind. “You can be a writer, come join our community.” The seed began to sprout roots as I “tried” writing. The encouraging comments pushed me to write more than I’d ever written before.

Friendships developed through telling the stories of our lives. Mostly, these friends are virtual, but some are now face-to-face friends. They have made my life richer through their stories and friendships. Ruth is one of those friendships that is no longer virtual.

So I was more than thrilled when my director asked me last August to find out if Ruth was available to work with the trainers in May. Yes, she was available. Yes, she would come and work with us.

Sunday, I picked her up at the airport. We talked and talked. We wandered the trails at our nature center. Then we talked and talked until it was time to head to bed.

Monday and Tuesday, she guided us through thinking about what needs to be in place to make writing workshop effective.

  • First, teachers need to understand how writers work.
  • Once this is in place, they need to claim time, space, and materials.
  • Now we can begin the process to develop lessons and assessment systems.

IMG_2158 (1)

Time passed quickly as we processed and reflected on this information. Before I was ready to let Ruth go, it was Wednesday morning and I was bringing Ruth back to the airport.


I celebrate the connections I’ve made because I write. Each one brings joy to my life.

It Ends – Day 31

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Since I began this month by revisiting my March 1 posts, I thought I’d bookend this month by reviewing my March 31 posts.

  • 2011 Ship Under Attack!: I was on a river cruise in the Netherlands during the end of that month. There were many people suffering from bronchitis. Fortunately, my husband and I were not afflicted.
  • 2012 Summing Up: This was the year that I had a very full calendar of work days, but yet I managed to fit the writing in every day. It was really one of the first times I actually admitted to myself that I am a writer. Why is that so hard for me to express and truly believe?
  • 2013 Is It Just the End or a New Beginning #31: I reflected on what I noticed in my writing and how reading others affected my life.
  • 2014: At Sam’s: Here was another slice of life, no reflection because this final day was on a Monday, therefore, I knew I needed a post for the following day. I saved my reflection of the month for Tuesday.  Good thinking, right? 🙂
  • 2015 Reverso Poem: I ended last year with a poem using Marilyn Singer’s incredible style of a poem that can be read from top down and then with changes in punctuation flipping the lines so the last line is now the first, and it still makes sense.
  • 2016: It Ends – Day 31:The final posting is a look back at the last five years of final postings.
What did I notice?
  • As I scrolled through the daily posts I noticed that I only had five posts without some kind of a picture. I love including photos!
  • I used poetry seven times in my slices.
  • I drafted a letter that will never be sent.
  • The shortest post (59 words) has the most pictures (27 pictures put into collages).
  • I played with using the color of the print to bring meaning to certain posts.
  • My wordiest post (539 words) came from two arrogant orchids. Figures, right?
  • I was amazed by the number of comments I received. It was such a delight to get up in the morning and find that comments were written after I’d gone to bed. Coffee and comments became my morning routine.

I’ve loved reading so many new blogs! I hope that you will consider stopping back by to read another slice of life from elsie who tries writing on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and every day of March.

It Begins – Day 1

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Before writing this first post for the March challenge, I wondered how have I started the month in the past? I have vague memories of thinking will I be able to write all month. This is my sixth year of participating in the writing challenge. I should be confident in my abilities to construct a slice of life, but that is not the case. So I opened the March 1 blog post for each year. Here is what I’ve discovered by rereading my posts:

  • 2011 Change of Plans: I didn’t show any fear of writing for the month, what did I know at that point? My post was a snippet of irritation.
  • 2012 March 1 – Here We Go!: Here the OMG what will I write?! kicked in. My calendar was full to the brim. Now I was a little smarter, I knew what it felt like writing for the month. By the end of the post I talked myself into a “You can do it!” attitude.
  • 2013 Let the Fun Begin #1: I took stock of having a writing life, it still amazes me that I do have a writing life. I knew I could do it, I had done it for two years. Now let’s have fun.
  • 2014 Make Over: Here is when I changed the way the blog looked. I’d had the same look for three years, and thought I might try on a new style. I’m sad that it changed the style from the previous years, I’d like to have kept the original look for those posts. Once again, there was no mention of worry for the month.
  • 2015 Thirty-One Days: Last year I created a poem for my first post. I still like that poem. It encompasses all that I feel beginning the challenge.
  • 2016: It Begins – Day 1: So far it is a retrospect of past posts and each one is linked to the original post.

The time has come to be hyper-vigilant of the happenings in my life in order to record a single slice of my actions, thinking, observations. Welcome to this world, where bits of you are shared with the world. Don’t panic, savor the writing each and every day. Isn’t that what we ask students to do daily? Day 1 is written and posted, only thirty more to go. 🙂