Tag Archives: Amtrak

The week in brief and a teaching story

There’s a great piece on maintaining one’s writing motivation, keeping the numbers up, so to speak, that I highly recommend here.

We returned from AWP at 3 am Monday morning.  I love Amtrak; I really do.  And we  even slept in our seats this time, to save money.  Still love it.  Please, President Obama, open some more hubs so I don’t have to get to the east coast by way of Chicago.

A banner week teaching.  A student I had about ten years ago, a student I truly fretted about at the time–bright, so very, very bright,  but so bitter, angry, cynical, unable, due to past circumstances, to imagine any way life could turn out better than it had thus far–a student I have often thought about since that year, have even written about . . .found me on facebook.  Remembered my encouragement in spite of the resistance it met. . .

One look at this former student’s page was all it took to see that potential so  perfectly realized.   The life now lived in academia, in a lively college town,  the apparently happy family, the broad smile on the glowing  face, the smile I don’t think I ever saw that year.

That, my friends, is what it’s all about.  I’ll be living on that smile for a long time.  Maybe forever.

Bye y’all,


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National Writing Project Annual Review-Berkeley 2009

So I spent the weekend in Berkeley, CA reading for the National Writing Project Annual Review. It was an intense, gratifying time of learning (about other sites) and professional satisfaction. Over the years, I’ve decided that writing letters praising people, or in this case, writing project sites, for what they do best, and gently suggesting ways they can improve might be one of the things I was meant to do in life. I find laboring over these letters (and the fact that NWP encourages me to labor over them), searching for just the right words to inspire people in their work incredibly fulfilling. Here are some photos:




     A humble welcome.

Review Tables, Hard at work

  Mostly, we worked day in day out at the Berkeley City Club, designed by Julia Morgan, the same architect who built Hearst Castle.  This was fine, since it poured rain almost every day.  Berkeley was thrilled, they’re in a drought. I did get to spend a few hours in the 4th St. District Sunday. Here are some photos from my favorite shop, there, Castle in the Air.


     Who doesn’t need a wax doll head?     


     Or tubes of German glass glitter.

From Berkeley 09





    Then, there’s the “Jar O’Babies.”




    Good ole, funky ole Berkeley. Ya gotta love it. Besides, the food there is phenomenal. Today was spent on the train with my husband en route to Chicago for the Associated Writing Programs 2009 Conference, a train trip much enhanced by the fact that I just had a rollercoaster flight from Berkeley to Dallas Sunday night. Stay tuned for more news from AWP starting tomorrow! My offical “program schedule” is already filling up.  


    Ah, Amtrak.  The only civilized way to travel.



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