Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Slice of Life: Packing Memories into a Canning Jar

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, and Melanie
                    for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to host Irene Latham when she came to visit the middle school where I used to teach.   When I learned she would be visiting the Northwest for Poetry Camp and was willing to do school visits, I grabbed my pen and went to work writing a grant for our schools foundation.  It was funded!

On Saturday, I celebrated Irene's visit with a short list.  Today, you get the longer narrative.  After meeting Irene and her friend Sarah for lunch at Pike Place Market, it was off to the middle school for an afternoon meet and greet with teachers.   Wednesday is early release day and many teachers were tied up with training that afternoon.  However, the few who dropped by were rewarded by Irene's graciousness and with autographed books for loved ones.  

We headed home, but not before a quick stop by our local library so that Irene could meet Carrie, my favorite teen librarian, who co-hosts our after school book club with me.  Then I sent Irene off for a quick rest before dinner.  After dinner, it was out the door for some time to walk and chat and sit and watch the sunset.  We filled every moment with talk about writing, books, friends, and family.  
Sunset on Lake Washington

The next morning we headed to IMS to prepare for Irene's morning presentation, Adventures in Writing, to two groups of sixth graders.  Irene was our guinea pig for a presentation spot in the new gym.  She was patient as glitches were worked out and ready to roll when her first group of readers and writers arrived.  We were enthralled as Irene explained her journey to becoming a published writer.  You an see student responses to Irene's presentations here and here.
Hanging out with the newly painted Gator in the gym

After a short break, we switched spaces to the new library in our school for a session with our after school book club.  Carrie Bowman, librarian at our public library, joined us and offered fresh apple cider (that she presses herself) at the conclusion of Irene's presentation.  This was a delightful time for the students in our book club to ask questions and to be inspired by Irene.  This padlet (link is coming, perhaps I should add slow in coming since it took me until the new year to create this padlet).  My takeaways from both presentations and responses from the students in Books, Brownies, and Beyond can be accessed here.   (which I finally managed to post in mid-January).  You can read my Tying Up Loose Ends January post here.  

We made a quick stop for lunch and couldn't resist a quick stroll through Island Books which was right next door to our lunch stop.  I felt compelled to introduce Irene to the chocolates at the checkout created by a local chocolatier, Ann Peterson, the mother of one of my former students.  Then we headed to Seattle where Irene met Carmen T. Bernier Grand, her afternoon carpool connection to Bellingham.  I met Leonie, Carmen's friend, who carpooled with me on Saturday to Poetry Camp.

I'll roundup my learning at Poetry Camp with my post for Poetry Friday later this week.  That will conclude a week full of reflections bookended by Irene's visit and Poetry Camp.  You can read Irene's post about her visit to IMS at her blog, Live Your Poem.  
It was a treat never to be forgotten,  a treasured memory to be packed into a canning jar so that like Charlie, in Barbara O'Connor's Wish, I'll be able to "...open it up and breathe in the goodness of it..." and be inspired.


  1. This is wonderful description of such an entertaining and inspiring visit by a writer. I felt like I was there with both of you, as you took Irene for sightseeing, meeting teachers, and then her two sessions with students, and then more sightseeing. It sounds like a great visit, and I'm curious to know what Poetry Camp will be like.

  2. What a wonderful experience for those middle schoolers! I love their take aways. Inspiring for me to read their comments. Irene is such a gift to us. As are you, bringing her to these lucky kiddos!

  3. I am so envious of these days you had with Irene. What special friendships occur from our online writing! It all sounds marvelous, Ramona! Can't wait to hear more.

  4. It is clear to see how much you enjoyed that visit. Glad you shared with us. I think I need to learn about grant writing.

  5. What fun to read all about your visit! It is so inspiring to be able to share time with writers we admire!

  6. Treasured memories, indeed! It sounds like you and Irene had a wonderful visit. Thanks for sharing it with us!