Category Archives: Teach Write

My Confetti Hands

I knew it would happen eventually.  And, of course, it did.

Like so many people out there, my social contact since the pandemic began has consisted of screens.  An unexpected benefit of this has been the sheer number of conferences, classes, and gatherings of like-minded people that I could not have otherwise have encountered, let alone enjoyed attending.

The last week of July 2020, I was invited by a long-distance friend to visit her writers’ group, and that was when I first learned of Teach Write.

Begun by Jen Laffin, Teach Write is an online gathering of teacher-writers who meet several times a week to set writing goals, celebrate, and write together.   I’ve been attending since August 2020, and those Time to Write (TTW) sessions are easily the highlight of my week.  I have made friends with writing teachers from across Canada, throughout the United States, in Ghana, and in Asia.  It makes spending so much time in my house a lot easier. 🙂

One of the very first things a newcomer to these writing sessions learns is that, during celebrations, we silently cheer each other on by holding up our hands and waving our fingers, as if we are throwing “virtual confetti.”  Until someone explains it to you, it can look rather odd, but it becomes a natural part of your life after a session or two.

Besides Teach Write, I have been taking a memoir class that follows hard on the heels of the Sunday TTW session.  (In fact, I usually duck out a few minutes early to get to it, just so I’m not rushing to get there.  What that means when I’m literally signing out of one screen and into another, rather than running across campus, I don’t know.  Welcome to 2021.)

At the beginning of yesterday’s memoir class, Nancy — our facilitator — asked us each in turn to share how our writing week had gone.  I went first, and then listened to another classmate describe his accomplishments.

And then it happened.

OMG I just sent virtual confetti in my memoir Zoom class.  They’re all looking at me like I’m from another planet!

My TTW friends texted back with reassurances.  But I was not to be assuaged.  I felt I needed to explain myself to somebody, anybody.

I was just in TTW — didn’t even get out of the chair — so my confetti hands didn’t realize we had switched Zooms and we were done that part!

My friends laughed along with me, and I sheepishly spent the rest of my last memoir class sitting on my hands.

As it turns out, that was not the last time I will be seeing most of those memoir classmates.  We have decided to continue on meeting regularly, with me as facilitator.

I know exactly what the first thing I teach them about our virtual meetings will be.


This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ Day 1 contributions via the comments here.

My Life in Five Stanzas

Every month in the Time to Write Community (part of Teach Write), we have a challenge or two to get our creative juices flowing to areas they might not have considered.

The challenge for February is “My Life in Five Sentences,” and since I’m usually trying to pull something together on the last day of the month, I thought I’d take an early stab at it.

Well, everything came to me as images, and as poetry instead of prose.  I wrote it and shared it with my fellow Time-to-Writers, and then debated sharing it here.  It’s pretty personal, and a little bit raw, but hey.  That’s — literally — Life.

My Life in Five Sentences

I was born a half-century ago
In a centuries-old city of
Fog, smokestacks, wharves,
And old brick.

At ten, I was dragged off to
Lower Suburbia, Different Province,
A community of cookie-cutter houses,
No ocean, few friends, 
And too many bullies.

My intuition led me to safe places
In the forms of teachers, 
And books, and libraries, with 
My own words pouring onto the page.

My twenties and thirties meant Home,
Back to my city of bricks and mist,
Marrying my mister, rocking an empty cradle,
And countless days assuming different names
With the front of the class my stage.

My forties were a blur stirred up
By a noon crosswalk and a Ford Focus,
Relearning to walk straight, to think straight,
And a slow regenesis of Self,
With my words being the last to return,
At the age of fifty.