Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Line Wednesday:Night Time Edition

This morning, I promised to return to discuss the origin of my line. Here's the story: Until yesterday, I have felt like a guest at my new school. I’m only there two days a week, and a long line of conference days and holidays have resulted in about 30% of my work weeks consisting of a single day. I’m still struggling to nail 140 first names, let alone last ones.

But a couple key things happened yesterday that let me know the bonding process has started and that my students are watching, listening, and absorbing the skills I have been teaching. One student surprised me with a decorative jar of Halloween treats. Another presented me with a picture demonstrating mastery of what I though was a disastrous lesson on drawing trees (“branches” would have been a more accurate word to use in my line, but I wanted to retain the consonance,) During a free draw segment later in class, I saw several beautiful trees cropping up in various scenes, one by a student who had been practicing the skill for the entire three weeks that had passed since I last saw her. And the best thing? That happened when my 5th graders completed a project they have been working on since September. One student who had struggled through every step finally sat back to admire her finished work and her entire face beamed in pure joy. “This is the first time I have ever been proud of something I made,” she told me.

These happenings collectively served to remind me of the importance and rewards of investing in things that are truly important; not just on my job, but in other areas of my life, as well. Kids will absorb whatever we pour into them, and I have to admit that I’ve been coasting a bit in some areas of opportunity at school and at church.

Which brings me to the “x” it or exit part of the line. Last week I told you about a maddeningly ridiculous journalism gig I happened to land. Despite all of the reasons I outlined about the improbability of my success in this particular forum, I have kept it alive on the margins of my computer screen in the form of that $5.00 assignment that I never officially rejected. The reason? I keep getting unwelcome reminders about what a hard time it is for print media. I’m submitting to magazines that go defunct before they can even read my queries. Markets that are still alive don’t seem to be buying. Frankly, I’m concerned about where my writing life is headed. I hate not having any currently active gigs on my resume. I’m worried that scant, online opportunities are the only game going. So despite the fact that I know the whole thing is one huge time suck that will yield a pittance for a payday, I just couldn’t seem to let it go.

I’d like to tell you that I posted this morning and immediately killed the whole thing, but the truth is, I tinkered with it for over an hour before I realized that the topic was too broad for me to cover in the slim word count and specific format I was given—at least without a lot of tinkering. Even then, I could send it in only to have the bots volley it right back. So I finally hit the “x,” killed the assignment, and opened a book chock full of ideas for engaging middle school Bible study, followed by jotting a quick thank you note to my student for the treats—quite confident that those activities hold more lasting value, yet still strangely unsettled about my future as a writer.

So that’s my line. You can look for a new one next week, mostly due to the little frowning face Kathleen made about the possibility of my discontinuing the posts, and because of the great previews we got from her and 5th Sister not to mention the possibility that Charisse just might have some mad skills to share one day (?) and my dear sister Catherine is actually on Blogger after a year-long hiatus,but also because I realized that I enjoy crafting One Line Wednesday. If it means a little less traffic on Wednesdays, I’m OK with that, and if it "catches on" then all the better.

I will be posting my weekly You Capture photo post tomorrow, but look for it later than normal, possibly even lunch time. Tomorrow morning Mr. RW Letters and I have an appointment with the surgeon.


5thsister said...

I agree...your time was better spent! Have a great day!

Kathleen said...

"'This is the first time I have ever been proud of something I made,' she told me."

Wow! That does put things in perspective and make it all worth it, doesn't it? I'm so glad you are able now to see some of the fruits of your labor even if you haven't felt so connected. Imagine how things will go when the schedule becomes more conducive to your plugging in more!

And I'm sorry to hear you had to nix your online gig, although I agree with you that it probably wasn't worth it and that far more worthwhile was the time and effort you put into investing in the little lives around you!

Kathleen said...

Oh, and I'm glad my sad face has helped to keep One-Liner going. I will make a concerted effort to try to match your cleverness next week (with the keyword there being "try").

Charisse and Holly said...

Love the 5th graders comment. Those lightbulb moments are so rewarding. I see them with my kids and it makes me feel so alive. Great post. Thanks for coming by today. The gals at

Holly said...

Kids are great...glad thing are happening at the new school. I have been offered some really ridiculous $$$ for some writing recently, and it was soooo very hard to say no, but I know it was the right thing to do...something better is out there. I say if you like one line wednesday, stick with it! I may try to join in...I am still playing catch up right now!
Holly @ 504 Main


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