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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

in which I CELEBRATE giving

celebrate every Saturday with Ruth Ayres
This week was FULL.  Although my schedule was packed to the point of exhaustion, I didn’t end the week feeling drained.  Instead, I ended the week feeling filled up with the goodness that comes with giving.

Wednesday was World Book Night.  To celebrate, our school held a free spaghetti dinner, which we offered to our entire school community: current families, past families, future families, and community members.  Mark was the chef.  Teachers volunteered to dish out the food.  Our student leadership team volunteered to take orders and serve food, restaurant-style, so I helped them as “the front of the house manager.”  Former students volunteered as host and hostess.  A local pizza place, Fat Ricky’s Old World Pizza, donated salad.  Staff members contributed to pay for the pasta and sauce.  A local ice cream shop, Andy’s Frozen Custard, donated individual custard servings for dessert.  We had at least seven staff members who were official World Book Night givers (Mark and myself included).  In addition to those official World Book Night books, we were able to put hundreds of gently used and new books (donations had been collected over the course of the past year) into the hands of our community members.  Giving is good.

Thursday was Poem in Your Pocket Day.  A single student out 22 Voices Strong showed up to class with her poem in her pocket.  Thursday morning I was tired.  I was crabby.  In fact, I was so crabby that I said to myself (out loud) three times before the day began, “I will NOT be mean to kids today.”  When I found out only a single student had come to class prepared, I decided instead of lecturing, I would listen.  So, I asked the rest of the class to write on an index card an honest explanation (not excuse) why they did not have a poem.  I knew that because I had asked for it, I had to be ready for the responses, which fell into two categories: I forgot and I don’t care.  I tried my best to address both responses.  I addressed the I don’t cares by sharing my own poem.  By modeling what a poem in a person’s pocket might mean—how powerful it could be.  I addressed the I forgots by providing books of poetry and time and guidance and instructions on how to find a poem that matters.  And every one of those Voices Strong stepped up.  Some students found so many poems they didn’t want to have to choose only one.  When they found poems, they wanted to share.  Every poem was powerful.  Giving is good.

Friday night was a fundraiser dance sponsored by the school in which I began my teaching career and my current school.  Mark donated use of his equipment and his time to DJ for free.  I spent the night as the photo booth operator.  Giving is good.

Saturday afternoon Rick (of Fat Ricky’s Old World Pizza) needed help working a concession stand at our community’s new Athletic Center during a high school basketball tournament.  In return for his support of our World Book Night event, Mark and I were happy to jump in and help out.  Giving is good.


  1. I love the way you addressed the students without poems. I would bet that the poems found/created during that time will be remembered fondly.

  2. I'm glad you found a way to still inspire the students about poetry, Christy. It turned out a plus for all of you. It does sound like a busy week-and full of giving!

  3. What a busy week you've had! Giving lifts you up and gives you energy. Did you know Andy's started here in my town? One of my favorite treats.

  4. You chose kind in all the cases. I find that it's great that you and Mark volunteer together.

  5. I love how you celebrated giving! Loved reading the many ways!
    How you handled the students without poems was beautiful.