Thursday, March 1, 2018
SLICE OF LIFE #1
I look at Stacey in alarm. This seems a little heretical. Especially from the founder of the Slice of Life. We have been writing together for the past nine years. In February, Stacey came to Denver to present at our state's annual reading conference, and we met face-to-face for the first time.
Stacey continued, "You've done it once. Written all 31 days. Actually, probably several times. You've proven that you can do it. You don't have to write every single day. You could just slice some of the days."
I have been pondering these words for almost a month now. I don't have to write every day. I could just slice some of the days? Is that really an option?
I've done the March slicing challenge for each of the past eight years. Most years, I have done all 31 days. A couple of years something has come up-- one year I dropped my computer and it was in the shop, so I missed a few days. Another year I drove to Phoenix to see my granddaughter, got caught in a snowstorm on the way back, and didn't quite finish slicing. But most years I've sliced all 31 days.
Why this conversation then?
I was telling Stacey that I might not slice at all this year. I am not sure I have thirty-one interesting slices left to write.
Over the years, I have written hundreds, or maybe thousands, of slices. Slices about my sons-- stories of how our very non-traditional family became a family, my struggles as a single mom, my less than successful attempts at pushing my guys out of the nest and into adult life. It disturbs me, more than a little, that my guys are in basically the same place that we were two years ago. I'm not sure I want to write any more slices about that.
I've also written many slices about my mom, and her struggles with the aging process. That's ongoing and probably will be for a while. But I'm not sure I want to write about it.
I'd love to write more slices about my granddaughter Esveidy, but she's moved all the way to North Carolina. I almost never see her and don't have a lot to say.
I could write about teaching, but there are only so many cute kindergarten and melodramatic middle school stories that people want to read.
I'm still learning Spanish. But I have written about that lots of times. Soy una vieja. Mi mente es terrible. No estoy aprendiendo muy rapido. (I'm an old woman. My mind is terrible. I'm not learning very fast).
I'm looking for new hobbies. I've begun volunteering with a service dog organization, and I might become a puppy parent to a service dog in training, but that hasn't happened yet.
And I keep thinking that I should volunteer at the zoo, or the museum, or the Botanic Gardens, but I haven't actually gotten around to doing it.
I just don't know, then, if I have 31 interesting stories left to tell.
At the same time, I have been slicing for eight years. I have met many fabulous people from all around the country. Some- Elsie, Ramona, Tara, Linda, Michelle, Cathy, Nancy and so many others- slice all year. Others slice only in March. I can't imagine not slicing, and not connecting with those folks.
I have also loved getting to know new people all around the world. For the past three or four years, I've served on the Welcome Wagon, a group of slicers that volunteer to "welcome" the new folks. We visit their blogs every day. Comment on people's stories. Encourage them to keep writing. And it feels like a really special way to pass the writing torch to a whole new generation of writers.
I can't imagine NOT participating in Slice of Life.
So I'm slicing again. I don't know if I have 31 slices to write, but I'm going to give it my best shot.
And I'm going to remember Stacey's wise advice.
I don't have to write all 31 days.
And this year, I might not.