- December 1: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? My word is unbalanced. I spent most of 2010 in a very unbalanced state. The Girls had left for school, and I don't think I really knew who I was or what I wanted. For the past 18 years, the years when most people are figuring out who they are, I was their mom. Granted, I still am, but when you parent from a distance, it changes your perspective. A year from now, I'd like my word to be moving, not in the literal sense, but in the sense that I am moving forward with a lot of thing.
- December 2: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? Honestly, I don't really write unless it's on the blog or for samples for my students. So much of my writing is tied up in teaching others how to write that I forget I am actually a good writer. Eliminating the doubt behind that and setting up some time to actually write could help me remember that girl who craved writing assignments from Sister Mary Whatshername.
- December 3: Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). Jordan and I decided to head out in search of the perfect wide, open space. It was a prompt from Picture Summer, and I really didn't have any idea what I was going to do. I asked if she wanted to head to the Water Gap in search of some broad expanse of the mountains, and surprisingly, she said yes. We drove and drove and drove and took a turn up a road called National Park Road. The hard paved road turned to crunchy gravel to corrugated dirt to dirt mixed with green grass. Still, we pressed on, stopping periodically to snap a photo or two. All the while, we talked, which is something that we hadn't done much of this summer. On that day, trying to figure out if we were headed to our own version of Deliverance, I felt alive.
- December 4: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? A lot of wonder has been in spent in self-doubt, which seems to come naturally these days. However, I find that I never, ever tire of learning. Something piques my interest? I'll spend hours reading all about it. Watch movies on it. Find patterns that reflect it. I guess you can't turn off the student in me any easier than it is to turn off the English teacher.
- December 5: What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? I let go of the ideals that I have formed in my brain. The constant need to fix things. The desire to have the "perfect" life. Because none of that exists . . . but at least I can acknowledge it these days.