Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A different 31 days

Whew! 31 days at TWT!
There's something exceptionally strange about the passage of time in a pandemic. Every day feels like a week, every week seems to drag on for a year, and yet, every month, I'm astonished to find that the calendar is changing again. Things that happened last week feel like they were months ago, but when I feel like surely I got that email or last texted that friend last week, it turns out that it's actually been a month or more!

Blogging every day for a month is always challenging (as proven by the fact that I haven't actually done it since 2016!), but just like everything in 2020 (see? how can it even be 2021 when every day since March 17, 2020 has been practically the same?), it felt very different this year.

Usually, the excitement of writing and connecting propels me forward on a wave of enthusiasm until at least mid-month, and I start to get stuck around the late teens or 20th day. This year, I felt exhausted at day 6 and wondered if I could really pull this off, then absolutely hit my stride mid-month and mostly cruised the rest of the way with just a couple of days where I was slightly, but not even really, tempted to not write.

Usually, my slices are a mix of classroom snapshots and family moments, with the occasional nature slice or reflection thrown in. This year, my posts were just like me, adrift in a sea of endless mom moments with no classroom in sight, with a couple of reflective posts thrown in.

Usually, I try to really work on my writing craft, trying new forms or gaining inspiration from others, and tapping into my poet side at least a couple of times. This year, it was all I could do to get a slice written each day, so I stuck to my typical writing style, trying hard to excel at the strategies I'm comfortable with, but not really trying anything new or anything in the least bit difficult (other than the hard work of slicing in Spanish on Fridays). However, I did push myself to include a song in each slice to celebrate my love of music and its power in my life. While some slices were about a song or included a song easily, there were others where it was a challenge to find the right song or artfully tie a song to my story. 

Usually, I have at least one day where I feel like I don't have any writing ideas, but this year (probably because I'd only written 4 posts in the past 2 years), my list of possible slices grew longer all month, and is currently sitting at 36 future slice ideas! (Looks like I have no excuses for slicing Tuesdays & Spanish Fridays!) I wasn't even sure I wanted to try the challenge this year, and now I can't believe I missed so many Tuesdays over the past months. (Truly, there were many days I realized on Wednesday that the previous day had been Tuesday, resolved to try the next week, and promptly proceeded to forget again. There were also plenty of Tuesdays I just decided I was too tired or writing was too much work, of course.)

Usually, I'd look for Linda's posts about nature or her family, Deb's posts about her dog (RIP, Chloe!), elsie's walks, and LeeAnn's amazing teaching ideas. This year, for the first time, most of my original slicing friends are either no longer slicing at all, or not slicing every day. I had fun welcoming new slicers and falling in love with stories and writing styles I'd never "met" before, but it felt very strange to navigate this challenge without the people who lifted me through so many others. (However, the fact that many of them continued to comment on my posts or like them on social media reinforced the special bond we've formed. They're not slicing friends now, they're... friends!)

Usually, slicing in Spanish on Fridays was something I did by myself, for myself. This year, I realized it could be so much more, and I'm so grateful to the TWT team for embracing my #MultiFri idea! It was incredible to read and listen to slices in so many different languages, to stretch my Spanish by engaging with native Spanish-speakers, to see language learners and heritage speakers engaging with their linguistic identities, to read other slices written in English but reflecting on the impact of world languages in their lives, and to just bask in the celebration of multilingualism, while embracing the pride that comes with knowing that my ideas matter. 

Usually, I talk up my blogging journey with my students as I prepare them for the student challenge in April. Now, I miss them. I miss designing mini-lessons to show them the power of their words and the beauty of crafting those words in impactful ways. I miss sharing my writing with them and seeing them change the way they see me, then seeing the spark in their eyes when they realize that they, too, could be writers, storytellers, even poets. I miss the connections we form through reading each other's slices and commenting, the way this challenge strengthens a classroom community, even this late in the year. I miss sharing their blogs with my colleagues and seeing the way my students' eyes light up when they receive a comment from their math teacher or guidance counselor, as well as the way those colleagues are impacted by my students' stories and writing styles. This year, I will carve out more time to support the participating classrooms with comments that note where I'm from, remembering how much my students loved knowing they were getting comments from teachers and students in faraway places.

It's a different year, for sure. But despite all the challenges we're all facing, different isn't always bad. After all, here we are, 31 days after I almost decided not to participate, with new (and still old) friends, a new way to highlight multilingualism, an overabundance of ideas to propel me forward, 31 very unique moments captured (including so many family memories to savor), a lot of reflection about the role of music in my life, and an aliveness in my heart reminding me that yes, I am a writer. 

I did it!!!


  1. Your deep reflections are at the core of what this challenge is, learning about ourselves and going through the ups and downs of writing. I didn't try the multilingual Friday this time. It was too hard, lol! By the time Fridays rolled around, I had already posted. Maybe next time. I also almost didn't participate, but I'm glad I did. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  2. I love your reflection and recount of your worries and struggles. We all have the same ones. I enjoyed Multi Fridays and reading your posts and comments. Nos seguimos leyendo los martes ;) Cariños!!


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