I like to capture sentences like Nabokov used to capture butterflies. There is a special joy in capturing a sentence floating out loud in the air that has never been written. People say fascinating things all the time, and they go unrecorded and forgotten. Until someone writes them down, or is listening closely enough to […]
If this was an assignment: WRITE A LIST OF YOUR 20 FAVORITE TEACHERS THAT YOU HAVE NEVER PHYSICALLY MET
This would be my answer (today anyway):
Jesus Paul Leonardo da Vinci William Stafford E.B. White C.S. Lewis Benjamin Franklin Neil Gaiman Nicholas Kristof Ira Glass George Saunders Jon Stewart Stephen Colbert Malcolm Gladwell John Green […]
Many times, like Leonardo da Vinci, I write things like “describe the tongue of a woodpecker” into a notebook. This particular command, about finding out more about the tongue of a woodpecker, can be found in Leonardo’s notebooks. I found the following five sentences about Leonardo da Vinci comforting, encouraging, and inspiring. They are all […]
In Frederick Buechner’s book Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC he defined predestination this way:
Predestination is the theory that since God knows everything else, he must also know whether each one of us is going to end up in heaven or in hell, and therefore the die is cast before we even cast it.
I don’t think joy can prance around with wild abandon without hints of despair hiding in the shadows. It’s another school year, and I can list many things to appreciate. Some are trivial, some profound, some odd, and some obvious. And they all live right next to each other like the sentences on this page. […]
I am currently reading Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions by James E. Ryan which is a quick appreciation of 5 questions. The title of the book, and the first question discussed “WAIT, WHAT?” is something I ask all day, every day. It is a request for clarification, an invitation to explain, a purposeful pause, an […]
Trying to figure out which Anne it was…Dillard, Lamott, Patchett, Frank? There are a lot of literary Annes. It was Dillard:
One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later […]
Sometimes I wad up paper and throw it at my students. Let me explain.
When I was a high school student, we did something called WAD words. Word-A–Day. And that was something. I remember trying to be clever and incorporating them into a speech at graduation. Some of them I internalized. I think we had a […]
I bet you have a story about helium balloons. There was a party, a birth, a funeral, or someone was sucking in the gas and making a funny voice.
Here are two of my favorite:
1. My son was 2 or 3 or almost 4. Somebody gave him a helium balloon at Burgerville. He had seen […]
I wrote a small book a few years ago: The Little Goldenrod Book of Limericks. And every few years we play around with limericks in class. I try to use them to teach other things, and show quickly and easily how you can edit and play around with words. The form gets stuck in my head. […]
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