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a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I TRY ON SLICES


The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS

I try on slices each day like I try on clothes. 

Maybe I should write about running outdoors for the first time since fall, I think as I puff breaths of steam into the crisp air.  I could write about how good it feels to put feet to path and pound out a rhythm of health.  But it isn’t all good, is it?  No.  I am struggling to breathe, my side is cramping, and these yoga pants that used to hug my body in celebration of curves are creating bulges where bulges should never be. 

I toss that idea aside like the pair of jeans I have to suck in my stomach to button. 

Perhaps today’s slice will be a moment from yesterday.  The conclusion of an ongoing story—M’s decision to abandon War and Peace in favor of another graphic novel. I could celebrate the way he said, “Mrs. Rush, I think I am going to stop reading this book.  There just isn’t any action,” instead of saying, “Mrs. Rush, I just don’t get this book.  It is too difficult.  I give up.”  I could celebrate the way he will always carry this moment of having begun reading War and Peace and having chosen to stop—not quit.  I could celebrate how this shows he has grown as a reader—how he has become a reader. 

I leave this idea folded neatly on a shelf like my favorite sweater, the one I have to be careful not to wear too often or I will wear it out too quickly.

Instead, I’ll try writing about my new couch. 

I drape the idea over the armchair, planning to pick it up and put it on another day—when the mood suits me.  I am careful not to rumple it, leaving it untouched and fresh for future wear.

Rather, I could craft a slice today about my sister’s reappearance in my life.  How all of a sudden a call on my cell phone is a casual occurrence.  How after years of no communication, she stayed at my house to care for my dogs while we were at the Illinois Reading Council Conference.  How although I don’t trust her so much that I am willing to unguard my heart, my mother is the only person in the world I trust more than my sister when it comes to watching my dogs.

This idea itches like a wooly sweater.  The one I remember feeling just too tight in all the wrong places.  The one I want to love and am not willing to let go of, even though I know it is unflattering ever since an ill-fated journey through the laundry.  Maybe one day it will fit just right again, I tell myself.  Maybe one day the damage will be reversed.

I try on slices each day like I try on clothes.

23 comments:

  1. I appreciate this analogy. This is my first year slicing and I enjoy it most days and also have to decide what to write about. That being said, I'm looking forward this turning weekly again!

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  2. I love this imagery of trying on slices like clothing - tossing one aside, leaving one neatly folded, or draping one for another day. I'm starting to realize that we must choose carefully because the days are ticking by quickly.

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  3. Every day I eagerly anticipate every slice you craft. I never know what you will be "wearing" but it always fits you like a glove. I love the way you took me into the dressing room of possible slices, and I look forward to each and every one you put on.

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  4. Love the metaphor of trying on slices like you try on clothes, and I especially like how you are able to carry it from the beginning of your slice to the end. That is not easy to do! I'm glad to know other people do this-- today I think I started three different slices, finally put it aside to go to the bank, then wrote a fourth slice (completely different), totally discarding the other three.

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  5. I enjoyed this glimpse into your writing life, Christy! I like to "try on" many slices too. On school days, I do it on my drive home. On weekends, I complain to my husband that I don't know what to write about, and he has to listen to me "try on" my ideas!

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  6. What an interesting idea. I also try on slices like I try on clothes. Some days the first outfit is the perfect one and some days I am almost brought to tears trying to find just the right one.

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  7. This was so nice to read. I really enjoyed how I saw each scenario play out and then you putting clothes in their place.

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  8. Always making me think always leaving me wanting more...much like my wardrobe:)

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  9. This analogy is a beautiful, exquisite one. Your details allow me to stand beside you watching...and rooting for today's perfect slice. You know, I feel like I do the same thing -- very rarely do I sit down and commit to one idea from the top. You put my thoughts into words I could've never supplied. Love it! b

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  10. You have woven your analogies of clothing and writing into a neat bundle that is easy on the eyes. :) Thank you for such a well-written piece. It was a pleasure to read.

    Regarding the sister--I wish you well. I know what it is to guard your heart with someone you love like that.

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  11. I love the way you described the last item you tried on, the one that itched and the one you want to love. That is a slice in the making, still.

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  12. Christy,
    This is powerful writing. The metaphor is solid, but it the raw and honest truths that pull me in and make me so glad I read what you write. Thank you for putting words on the screen again and again.
    Ruth

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  13. I loved the glimpses into different possible slices as you tried them on. I would want to read about all of them, but the glimpse of each was just right.

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  14. I do the same thing! I think of different ideas and discard them until I find the one that fits just right. To me, it is also a little like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bear.'

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  15. I love the idea of trying on slices. What an apt comparison.

    I see the slices other people write and try on ideas. So far, the poetry hasn't quite fit. I slouch around in my comfy posts about teaching quite often. Today's about my mood was like trying on a dress selected by a saleswoman; it was a bit bolder than I thought I'd like, but it suited me for today. Now, whether it stays in my closet or becomes part of my daily wardrobe, I don't know...

    And I just tried on your slice idea, too! Ha! That was fun. Thank you!

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  16. What a creative, warm post, Christy! I love your unique wording and voice--as well as the way your PASSION for students and their reading radiate in all you write!

    Two of my favorite lines in this post are, "I leave this idea folded neatly on a shelf like my favorite sweater, the one I have to be careful not to wear too often or I will wear it out too quickly, and "I drape the idea over the armchair, planning to pick it up and put it on another day—when the mood suits me. I am careful not to rumple it, leaving it untouched and fresh for future wear." WHAT IMAGERY!!!

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  17. This slice? Fits like a glove.

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  18. I hadn't really thought about it like that. I guess we do try on slices trying to find the one that fits best for the day. I like the way you took us through your possibilities. Today I looked at my possible slices and didn't want to put any of them on. It was like staring at my closet and realizing there really isn't anything in there I want to wear. I hope tomorrow will be a little easier.

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  19. Well, I'm not sure that all the words haven't already been said, Christy. This is just a wonderful analogy. Especially during this month, I keep wondering what to write, how I'll "make it work" and just as you said, like putting an outfit together. I love the part about folding the sweater so carefully and that you referred obliquely, but lovingly to some trying times with your sister. I wish you the best in that situation. Family stuff is tough. Thanks for opening my eyes to new ways of looking!

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  20. I have days like that too...I try on ideas in my head, thinking that it's just right and then when I begin..it doesn't seem to fit!

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  21. As many have said before, your analogy is wonderful. It's the part about your sister that squeezed my heart. I want to say, I'm sorry that the connection with your sister is broken. I wrote about my sister today, from a completely different spot. I sincerely wish that you and your sister can patch things between the two of you.

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  22. Wow. First, you weaving of words so creatively is a gift I love reading. Today's is exceptional. Your analogy is poetic, real, and powerful. Second, your honesty is admirable. Sharing such a close subject is touching. Third, thank you for including me and the writing community into your thoughts for the day. You are a gem, Christy!

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  23. Loved the circular ending of this piece. BUT, what I really loved is the way I could relate to what you wrote. That analogy fits how I walk through my days too. I'm not quite pleased with what I wrote about today (I felt it dragging as I wrote it), but I forged ahead anyway. Kinda reminds me of an outfit that matches that I don't quite feel comfy in.

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