Stuck in the middle

I haven’t disappeared. I’m here, but working. Writing each morning from 5:30 am until 7:30 then getting my kids out the door. But right now I’m stuck and I figure that if I just keep my fingers moving an idea might come. I’m in the middle of my novel. Page 55. That middle point just before the climax where I need to start ramping up the action but I’m not exactly sure what the climax is so I’m typing, but not really liking the results.

This week I’ve been leading a poetry workshop for a first grade classroom. I love being with them, their excitement is infectious. This class is my son’s class and his teacher is fabulous. She spends the entire month of April celebrating Poetry Month. I am the finale to their month of reading and writing. This week we’ve looked at their own class-written poetry noticing figurative language that they are already using to “paint pictures in the reader’s head.” We are focusing on metaphor and alliteration and the writing process. I explained how I am constantly revising my work. I showed them drafts and notes and drawings in my sketch book that informed my poetry. When I  got the kids settled at their desks for some writing time, Mrs. K leaned over to me and said, “First graders don’t really like to change things.” I had to laugh. As a substitute teacher I know that first graders are the most inflexible of creatures. They always correct you explaining that, “That’s not the way we do it, Mrs. Boll.” So getting them to revise has been difficult.

The other thing is that they have been working all year on writing complete sentences. Their poetry tends to be a couple of really nice sentences without the rhythm or song of poetry. They can find rhyme and alliteration and metaphor in poetry that is already written. Now they need to be able to transfer that knowledge into their own writing. Anyone who writes poetry knows that is no easy task.  Now they have two rough drafts. One done on a rainy day and one done on a sunny day. I’m hoping that they can take their ideas and build it into a piece they feel proud of.

Tomorrow is poetry Friday. I’ll post the sonnet I made for the Prairie Home Companion contest. Happy writing and re-vising.

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