What I’ll Miss Most About Not Teaching

It’s not the planning, the marking, the dressing up and getting out of the house, the literacy intervention program, or the pay. I will miss what happens when I ask a class full of students to write. What occurs then, is something I still don’t understand. It appears they actually like it. I mean, really like it. And it’s not just one or two of the nerdy kids. It’s all of them; the struggling students, the ones who’d rather be sleeping, and those who wait all day for phys. ed. Eventually they come to the same place (given enough time and routine) of wanting to write. When this occurs it’s like I’ve just been surprised by a witty comedian who comes up with such an odd image, it’s laughable. It’s thrilling–and a little comical–when children don’t want to put their pencils down, or are so proud of their work they’re desperate to share it. Sometimes it catches me off-guard and I respond with cynicism instead of encouragement. Like the time the pre-teen asked if he could work on his story outside of class time. I thought he was being sarcastic so I answered dryly, “Only if you’re especially well-behaved.” And then I realized he wasn’t kidding.

It’s not that I’m an exemplary teacher or my assignments are particularly clever. In fact, the opposite is true. The more elaborate my plans, or complicated my invitation, the less enticing the offer for the students. Instead, bare-bone instructions fueled by an excerpt from a book or a poem seem to churn out the best ideas and most enthusiastic participation… to my constant amazement.

Sometimes I wonder what happens to this innate drive as we get older. Perhaps our creative energies go to to our jobs, keeping our homes and vehicles together, planning birthday parties, or other artistic endeavors. And after work (whether at home with children or in an office) and dinner who has time to pen an essay? But, the thing I’ve noticed whenever I confide to people about my writing habit, is that almost everyone wants to write, or has an idea for a novel or a memoir. Who knew there are so many unwritten books walking all around us?

A little over a year ago I joined a writing club. It’s a lot like my book club–there’s food, warm conversation, and fine women–only a little more focused. The person who facilitates brings an excerpt, or two, from an inspiring book and after a quick-write, the rest of us share and give feedback on pieces we’re currently working on. After I came home from writing group this week I was heartened, as usual, but also amused. Amused at myself, and others, who sit around fleshing out stories and ideas…for what? The love of fame? Money? I hate to be a downer, but the probability of any one of us producing a bestseller is almost as high as Stan taking off his toque. No, the reason we keep bringing drafts and revising stories that will never hear the ring of a cashier’s till is probably the same reason students moan when I tell them their writing time is up. It’s almost like we were born for it.

The author, Kate DiCamillo, explains here how a college professor once brought special attention her work, and it wasn’t because her writing was extraordinary. It was her ability to see. She writes,

“I cannot control whether or not I am talented, but I can pay attention. I can make an effort to see. The world, under the microscope of your attention, opens up like a beautiful, strange flower and gives itself back to you in ways you could never imagine. What stories are hiding behind the faces of the people who you walk past everyday? What love? What hopes? What despair?

Writing is seeing. It is paying attention.”

I feel the same way, though I’m not quite so eloquent about it all. When I write, I’m like a cow chewing my cud, regurgitating the moments I was too busy to suck the life out of the first time around. But I doubt my young students would resonate with DiCamillo’s essay or my cud-chewing metaphor. To them, writing isn’t philosophical; it’s fun, even addictive, and witnessing this in action makes going to work worthwhile. So next fall, when I’m in my rocking chair instead of circulating desks, I know what I’ll remember. What I’ll miss most is when the moment I say, “Pick up your pens.” And, against all odds, they do.

-Tricia

*In case you’re just stopping by this site: I won’t be teaching next year because I’ll be on maternity leave. I’ve never taken one before because, well, let’s face it,my employment history is pretty sketchy. The whole prospect of a mat-leave makes me feel terribly grown-up.

Upcycled Wool Cowl (no knitting required) and some blogging philosophy

I feel like I’m in grade five again, pretending to make a fashion magazine–which is appropriate as the project I’m featuring today is entirely doable for any fifth-grader. Because I’m marginally better at sewing than I am knitting (I can knit and sew anything as long it’s rectangular) I thought I might try a no-knit cowl to partner with my new winter parka.

I’ve had the wool sweater for years and used it as a tea-cozy after it shrunk/felted in the washing machine. It worked nicely to keep my teapot warm, if a bit unsightly with the hoodie and arms occupying more table space than necessary, but after I got my purple coat I decided to re-incarnate the tea cozy as a winter scarf:

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The more felted the wool, the warmer the scarf. Although my sweater didn’t felt 100%, it did shrink substantially and I didn’t need to take it in at all.

I cut the arms and hood off, but left the base wide.

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another almost-rectangular project to show off my sewing finesse

I turned down the cut by the neck and seamed it. Then I sewed the armhole cuts together and made sure the cowl was narrow enough at the top to stay up when I need to keep my nose and cheeks covered.

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After Belén took that last photo she said, “You’re not going to put this on your blog, are you, Mom?… That scarf looks weird.”

I happen to love my recycled cowl and told Belén so (I’m used to her comments on my clothes; she’s been critiquing my fashion for years now) but I have to admit, it feels weird posting pictures of myself wearing it. I question why the world needs to see my scarf and why I’m spending time typing out those very questions… which leads me to the bigger question of blogging and why I do it.

Every time I publish a post, WordPress (my blogging engine) flashes a congratulatory message across the screen including a tally of all the entries I’ve written. Once I hit the publish button on this draft I will have reached 100 posts. That’s a lot of hours spent loading pictures, typing, deleting, rewriting, and proofreading. And for what? So family can catch up on our lives? Partly.

So I can practice writing? Yes, that’s one reason. I’m finding that learning to write is a lot like learning another language. The more Spanish or Guarani I spoke when in Bolivia, the more agile my mouth and tongue became at forming new sounds. Similarly, sitting down at the keyboard regularly keeps the pathway from my mind to my fingers a little easier to travel.

So I can share my work with an audience? Definitely. Blogging is an egocentric activity, but it’s also a forum to connect with others. I teach a writing workshop to a grade 2 class and everyday I ask at least one student to read a piece of writing in front of their peers. Once, when a little girl delivered a choppy monologue punctuated by breathy pauses picked up by the microphone, she exploded after her performance. Unable to contain herself, she danced the whole way back to her seat singing, “This is the best day ever!” And then, between twirls she shouted, “I wanted to write a story and read it to the whole class and I did it! I did it! I did it!” I tried to re-focus her energy and speak in a low tones to move the class forward and keep calm, but I totally understood her reaction. It is thrilling to produce something and have other people read, see, or hear it. Blogging might be egocentric but I think it’s even more self-absorbed to pretend that an audience is irrelevant.

And finally, blogging is just another creative attempt to capture some of the curiosities, confusion, and beauty strewn around me. When I consider an ordinary image I might translate to words, it’s like picking up a pebble from a river bed. There are so many and they all look the same under the water, but study one for a moment and it becomes interesting enough to roll around in my hand for awhile. Scripting a scene from our week makes me appreciate the details of it, while it’s still dripping wet in my palm.

And so I guess I’ll keep blogging after all, even if it took me 39 ridiculous tries to get a shot of myself wearing a scarf.

Stay warm and keep creating, however you do it,

Tricia

PS. If you’re interested in creative non-fiction, check out this book I just read. It would be useful for any writer (it’s filled with brilliant essays critiqued by the author) but it’s especially appropriate for mothers. I loved it.

Are We Lucky?

I used to teach a student, let’s call her Serena, who I felt sorry for. She came to school with dirty clothes and lousy (as in louse-ridden) hair that looked like it had been sheared by her younger sister. Although she was usually cooperative and could keep up with the rest of the class, I knew something wasn’t right at home. Once, I overheard her talking about her “boyfriends” using language she was ten years too young for. Another time, she hid in her locker and wouldn’t come out no matter how hard I coaxed. Her mother was always shouting as she came in and out of the school, with Serena’s whimpering, snotty-nosed little siblings–always on the verge of a tantrum–trailing behind. They often caused such a raucous that by the time they left the building, other staff would be standing in their doorways shaking their heads at what seemed like a hopeless situation.

Whenever I wore my tight black boots, Serena would sit next to me during story time and trace the smooth leather hugging my calf. On the days I wore my long, cashmere poncho she couldn’t keep from latching on to the soft material. One day when I was wearing this poncho, the student body was called to the gym to watch a promotional video of an African school for whom we were raising money. She sat beside me and wound her fingers with the luxurious weave during the entire presentation. I didn’t mind; I figured it was the least I could offer her beauty-starved soul.

And then, near the end of the video she asked me a question. Nudging me, she whispered, “Are we lucky?”

I wasn’t sure I’d heard her correctly. Even though the video was touching, she seemed too young, and frankly, too unlucky herself, to be asking such a thing.

“Are we lucky?” She asked again, waiting for my answer.

I thought of her out-of-control mother; her crazy sisters; what it must be like to go home to chaos every night; and I didn’t know how to answer.

“Do you think so?” I queried her back.

“Yes,” she said slowly, “I think we’re lucky.”

The fluorescent lights flickered back on and the principal made his closing remarks but I wasn’t really listening. I was thinking about what Serena had just decided. How can she possibly feel lucky? I marveled. How can anyone feel lucky, or thankful, when life is uglier than it should be? And why is it that some people always feel shafted, regardless of circumstance while others, like Serena, feel lucky? Maybe it’s a chemical reaction facilitated by the correct neurological make-up. Maybe it’s a decision of the will, and of the heart. Or maybe it’s a gift. Whatever it is, I hope Serena still has it…

Happy Thanksgiving dear ones south of the border! I’m adding some pictures of our celebration last month because I thought it fit with the theme of this post. If you’ve always wanted to make holiday crackers for a festive table, be inspired, but don’t look too closely. These aren’t real crackers–they didn’t make the popping sound–but they were fun to make and a nice way to start our meal.

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Belén and Susanna stuffed pieces of wrapping paper-tube with goodies, then wrapped them with tissue and a magazine cut-out.

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Everyone got a thankful rock for their pockets…

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Traditionally, crackers come with jokes, a little trinket or toy, and a crepe-paper crown. We decided our guests could share their joke or something they were thankful for, or both, before we started eating.

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ready for the table…

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…and then the recycling bin

Be well.

I hope you feel, at least sometimes, like Serena,

Tricia

The Hunt, and a List of Great Chapter Books

Sometimes strange things happen over which we have no control. And even if we think we’re in control, we’re not.I learned that this week while teaching three mischievous little boys.

I spend every afternoon providing intense reading intervention with small groups of 7 and 8 year-olds. During a half hour period we might use whiteboards, dramatize, play several games, make a phonics chart, and read two or three books. I always keep one eye on the clock, and the other on my lesson plan, to make sure the pace of activity facilitates maximum impact. In other words, I have no time for shenanigans.

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writing letters in quinoa

On Monday, we were reading a story with a mouse as a protagonist. We were almost at the last page when it all started:

“Look, there he is! There’s the mouse!” Cameron yelled in a fit of giggles.

Before I had time to squelch anything another boy joined in, pointing and bouncing in his chair. Then the third boy chimed, “I see it, I see it, I see it, I see it!”

Flustered and annoyed with their antics (we’d lost thirty precious seconds of content coverage), I demanded silence. “Stop it. Stop it right now. All of you sit DOWN. This is enough.”

But they couldn’t sit. They wouldn’t sit. They danced on their tippy toes, tittering, yelping, and completely ignoring me… and that’s when I saw the furry body and smooth tail slip behind my shelf.

In the same moment, the custodian came barreling into my room, holding towels in both hands. “Plug the doorways! There’s a mouse in here!” she shouted, throwing me a towel to batten down the hatches. But the little mouse squeezed under a door before I had time to stuff it with a towel and the screaming that ensued in the hallway indicated its escape route. It wasn’t just the custodian on the hunt now; the secretary, followed by the vice principal, came running from their offices, too. Even I abandoned my lesson plan and grabbed the garbage can Cameron held out to me.

I decided to go for it. Sprinting after the rodent and slamming the can onto the floor, I looked up only to see him zig-zagging a few steps ahead of me. The second time it worked and I just barely captured him–his little black eyes and quivering nose sticking out from under the rim–right in front of thirty students lined up at the library door. Their teacher screeched, “Shut the door!” while the vice-principal handed me a broom to finish the job.

Mrs. Reed took the mouse back outside and set it free was the line some teachers told their students, but my three boys knew better. They had seen me smash the broom-handle to the floor. When we gathered ourselves back in my room, they wanted to know more details, and mostly, why I had killed it.

“Mice and humans don’t get along very well indoors,” I explained, “Now, pick up a marker and write m-o-u-s-e. Which two vowels make the middle sound?”

When I told my daughter, on our drive home, what had happened she wasn’t impressed. “That could’ve been Despereaux!” she cried, swinging her feet and inadvertently kicking my seat.

…Which brings me back to the title of this post. (Were you wondering if I’d ever get there?) In case you weren’t sure, this is all about chapter books; the books we’ve read to our children and loved. Our daughters are currently seven and nine, but most 5-99 year-olds will enjoy these. They’re the kind of books that change the way you think, imagine, and make you mad at your mom for killing a mouse. (See The Tale of Despereaux). I’ve shared a few of these before, but I wanted to make a shortlist of our favourites in one place…

  • Little House on the Prairie series
  • Pippi Longstocking
  • Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter (Another one by Astrid Lindgren–an exciting story of independence, love, and the wilderness)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (also a series, and a hit with the 5-7 year old crowd)
  • Where the Mountain meets the Moon (A fantastical adventure that Belén especially loved)
  • A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Boxcar Children
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8
  • Grandma’s Attic Series (True stories of a woman who grew up in Michigan–all tales of the “olden days”)
  • The Belonging Place by Jean Little
  • City of Orphans
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Out of My Mind — Devastating/enlightening/hopeful at the same time. My book club (all of us 35+) appreciated it too.

Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light. (From the Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo)

What I wrote at the beginning of this post is true. I had no control of my lesson once the mouse showed up. And it appears I have less control over my writing than I think; I can’t come up with a meaningful way to tie this piece together…What do mice, literacy, fate, our drive to control, and read-alouds have in common? Please leave your existential answers, along with any titles you’ve enjoyed with your family, or as a child, in the comments.

Happy for more book suggestions,
Tricia
*Although I have no affiliation with Amazon (use your local library!) I link to the site because it’s the most user-friendly for synopsis and reviews.

Depressed and Surprised

Kids these days depress me.

When I start working with new students I ask them open-ended questions to get to know them: What do you like to do after school? What are you good at? If you could do anything you wanted, what would you choose do? Their responses to my inquiries are consistent and predictable. The answers always involve video games.

I work next door to a speech therapist, and a lot of conversations I overhear resemble my own with students. It seems the only reference point children have for dialogue is their gaming life. It’s not about what they did or made on the weekend, who their friends are, or where they went, but what they accomplished in a virtual world with their thumbs. The dearth in their vocabulary and lack of basic concepts is frightening, but not inexplicable. If children never communicate and interact verbally through diverse, real-life experiences, it’s no wonder they’re in grade two and still can’t carry on a decent conversation. Did I mention kids depress me?

But, kids surprise me even more.

Last night my girls told me about the storyteller on their bus. I’ve heard about her before and how even the big boys sit down and lean in close when she starts talking, but it’s still hard for me to believe.

“You mean all these kids want to sit beside her and listen?” I ask.

“Yep. And when she starts we settle down and get less hyper.” Then Belén qualifies, “Well, a little less hyper.”

I imagine this nine-year-old casting her spell on a gang of kids smushed between hard seats and backpacks, all of them anticipating who will be the next hero. Even at her age she understands her audience will be more engaged if they’re a part of the story. Today two fourth-grade boys were pirates. Not long ago, Belén and Susanna were kittens and I know of others cast as geriatric patients. Once, she picked up pebbles from the floor of the bus and wove a story around them, describing the plight of two peers turned to stone.

“Where does she get all her ideas from?” I wonder.

“Oh, she takes an imaginary card and swipes the top of her head to unlock the files in there,” Susanna explains, then adds in a confidential tone, “When she finds an idea she likes, she has to unlock it with a special key so no one else can steal it.”

No teacher has given her this assignment or demanded these performances, but she gives them anyway. No adult coordinates her program or guides her stories, but she keeps on telling, and her friends keep listening–even the kindergarten babies, and the fifth grade football players. This is her gift. Her magic. And she’s using it.

Did I mention that kids surprise me?

Have a great weekend,

Tricia

Oh, and here’s a couple of pictures from yesterday. The girls decided what they wanted to be, but needed their dad for some technical support. He hates Halloween (I think it has something to do with flooding an over-entitled nation with slave-produced chocolate while celebrating evil) but he’s like a moth to the flame when comes to making stuff…

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getting the costumes ready…

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“the band” (Susie, our friend Sarah, and Belén)

Lucy

There’s nothing quite like leaving your baby for the first time. The day after Susanna was born I went for a walk, by myself. As cars passed and pedestrians crossed my path, I wondered if everyone knew what had just happened. Did they know why I was shuffling along slower than usual? Could they sense I’d given birth, just hours ago, on my own bed only a block, or two, away? My tender abdomen and swollen breasts reminded me of my recent labour and on one hand, it seemed ridiculous my feat wasn’t obvious to passersby. On the other hand, it was my own precious secret.

As people went on with their ho-hum lives, answering phone calls and filling up their cars with gas, I had brought a new human being to this world. When Susanna gulped her first molecules of oxygen, and I lay shaking with exhaustion and wet with sweat, my neighbour was probably feeding her cats or sweeping the floor. While the rest of world went on as normal, Susanna had inched her way out of me and with every contraction I, too, felt myself inching towards a strange place. A borderland, where the newness of life seems awfully close to death, and where a bellow of pain, in one slippery second, can turn into a gasp of relief accompanied by a baby’s first cry.

In the same way that panting through childbirth made me feel privy to a different reality, so did living in Bolivia. Of course, during the years we lived there I wasn’t in a constant state of enlightenment, but after we returned to Canada, I’d get flashes of perspective when I remembered where we’d been. This was especially helpful as a substitute teacher facing high schoolers I didn’t know—half of whom were bigger than me, most were apathetic, and a few were angry and offensive. To keep from being intimidated by the latter, I’d think of Bolivia. Of clambering onto a truckload of corn and sliding around the muddy curves of the Inca Wasi, where graves dot the side of the road instead of guardrails. I’d think of my friend, Lucia, who told me she cried at night when she was worried about what she’d feed her family the next morning.

And so, when some fifteen-year-old would tell me to “F— off”, I’d reflect (in a 3-second-sweaty-armpit way) that if I could learn a tonal language, survive parasites and wash my clothes in a river, I didn’t have to be scared of an adolescent tantrum. Secondly, I reminded myself of the world outside the classroom; even though the kid in front of me was making a fuss, millions of other people were foraging for food and fighting for their survival at the very same moment.

Thinking about where I’d been at times like these, was like tapping into a confidential file. Not that my personal experiences made me better than everyone else, but they reminded me more is happening on our planet than the daily circumstances in front of me. The secret feeling I had after having a baby, or returning from an indigenous community in South America, came from getting a peek at the edge of life and my own mortality. These experiences illuminate the tight-rope we’re all walking on, when most of the time we barrel forward distractedly, not even aware we’re dancing on a 2-inch thick cable.

It happened again when Stan called me, while I was on the road, to tell me about Lucy. Before he even started, I knew something was wrong by his voice. It was soft, sad and sorry at the same time.

“They think she’s got cancer,” he told me, and then said it again when I responded in disbelief.

How could I believe my eighth-month-old niece has cancer, when a few weeks before she was standing in my lap, pumping her legs and grinning with one slobbery fist in her mouth? (The details of this position may not be completely accurate since my sweet, baby-snatching daughter, Susanna, whisked her away every time I’d get her.) How could I imagine what Philip and Anne, Stan’s brother and his wife, were going through when we’d just spent days lazing around a pool together, playing tennis, and challenging each other to foot races? (Philip is the fastest sprinter of the four of us, by the way.)

Over the next several hours, on my drive home, I had that same secret feeling. Only this time it was awful, and instead of making me braver or wiser, it left a taste in my mouth of something gone desperately wrong. When I stopped for food, I numbly paid for my meal while customers around me laughed at dumb jokes and poured cream into their coffees, not knowing how the world had changed. Not knowing that nothing will ever be the same—no matter what happens–for Lucy, Philip, Anne, and the rest of us who care, again.

As Lucy undergoes chemotherapy and her little, but fierce, body fights to survive, I am praying every day. In fact, I know people that don’t even pray, who are praying. We are praying she won’t suffer the side effects of the treatment, that she can still breastfeed, that she sleeps peacefully, that she doesn’t remember any of this when it’s over, that Philip and Anne don’t lose their minds–or their patience and love for each other, that Lucy’s big brother is protected from the pain around him, and that Lucy lives.

But I’m also praying for something else. I’m praying that if there are others like me who are pushed just a little closer to the edge, out of the blinding normalcy of work and every-day routines, because of Lucy they find something else besides a dark chasm. And that when they cry for Help, whether cynical, apathetic, or angry, swinging their arms wildly to maintain balance on the wire, Jesus meets them right where they are.

If you are able, please pray for Lucy. If you aren’t up for prayer, start a conversation with someone about the moments you’ve experienced “the edge” in your life and how it affected you. Either way, I wish you peace, wisdom and strength for the length of tight-rope you’re walking today,

Tricia

Aunty Anne finally gets a chance to hold her own baby!

Lucy and her beautiful mama, Anne (photo taken in April)

What do energy consumption, a school classroom, and fiddle camp have in common?

Isn’t it weird when you hear the same message from several different sources? Like when every book you read seems to point to a similar truth, or random people talk to you about a certain issue. Lately it’s been that way for me as I learn about the power people have over other people–otherwise known as community. In the last month, I’ve heard the same message from a behavioural scientist, an elementary school teacher, and a fiddle intsructor: positive change and growth happens with other people. I guess it’s not that earth shattering–I learned about peer pressure in junior high health class and we know, intuitively, that humans are social creatures–but it still fascinates me.DSCN5850_

Alex Laskey shares (on TEDtalks) about the best way to encourage homeowners to consume less energy. He’s found that residents don’t respond to moral pleas (help save our planet) or even financial incentives (energy efficient fixtures save you money). What really works is social pressure; letting people know how much energy they use compared to their neighbours. Once people find out the Jones’ energy bill is a fraction of their own, only then are they motivated to make lifestyle changes.

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Belén, at a the nightly circle jam where 80 musicians sat in a big circle and played/improvised the same tune. Instruction in fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo and keyboard was offered during the day.

During the last month of school I visited my friend’s fifth grade classroom to observe how she motivates her students. The moment I stepped through the doorway I recognized one of her top priorities: to foster a community of readers. There were couches, chairs, even a fireplace! and baskets of books everywhere. When it was time for individual reading the students scuttled away with their books like cockroaches, trying to find a corner to settle into. Later, my friend gathered the students into a circle to talk about what they’d been reading and make recommendations for the summer. From the tone of their voices I might have thought they were discussing their summer plans or a vacation at Disneyland, when they were actually suggesting the next title their friends should get their hands on.

The atmosphere in the classroom didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t a random phenomenon. My teacher friend is passionate about turning ho-hum readers into voracious consumers of literature, and she does this through community; intentionally making her classroom a place where every student ups the ante, talking about the books they love and hate. By the end of the year they all experience the explosive nature of community… and they’ve all read more books than they would’ve imagined possible.

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This was after a day of workshops. I was really tired and intended to take a nap, but then Susanna started playing “Pelican Reel” and I had to pick up my fiddle to learn it.

As you can tell from the pictures, we were making music last week… in community.

I heard Susanna’s instructor, Gordon Stobbe, comment, “The fiddle is a social instrument… you don’t play it alone in your basement to get better. It comes alive with other instruments.” And after a week of playing with other people, I think he’s right. In four days we learned more tunes and technique than months of weekly lessons/practise.

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Susanna’s class. They had Gordon Stobbe all to themselves for the week!

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Susanna, at age six, was the second youngest camper, but she wasn’t in the beginners class. In her place, was a seventy-four-year-old man who wanted to learn how to play the violin. When I congratulated him on taking the initiative to come to camp, he grinned and said, “Aw, I shoulda’ started thirty years ago.”

“But you’re here now,” I reminded him. “I hope I remember you when I’m seventy-four and think it’s too late to learn something new.”

Most evenings there were square dances and also old-time dances. There’s something about do-si-doing with teenagers and octogenarians that makes the world seem like a better place.

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My mom came along for part of the week. She didn’t take any classes but joined in on the dancing, food, and concerts.

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… she also joined us in our cozy tent.

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Street signs around town are named after popular fiddle tunes.

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one of the workshop venues: an old orthodox church

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playing inside the church

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Saying goodbye to new friends…

One of the best resources for tapping into growth and transformation is all around us: the people we connect with. They can reduce our energy consumption, turn us into readers and make our fiddles sing!

Wishing you great connections today,

Tricia