Thank You for This Year

Last year’s March Slice of Life Storytelling Challenge was my first.  I had been invited to join the challenge by a relatively new friend I met through the Long Island Writing Project, who is now one of the co-directors of the Two Writing Teachers website. Her name is Kathleen Sokolowski.

Kathleen very wisely knew that I needed something positive and stimulating in my life.  She knew that I had recently become a cancer survivor and was seeking a fresh start.  Her suggestion was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I happily blogged every day for the entire month of March 2015.  In fact, I couldn’t wait to get up every day to see whether I had any “comments” on my blog and to read all the new posts that had been written.  It was an exhilarating and intoxicating time for me, and I almost forgot I was a cancer survivor during much of that month.

In addition to the thrill of blogging and commenting and reading my fan mail, I was starting to think of myself as a writer.  That was a quiet realization that sneaked up on me that I didn’t even dare to acknowledge during the first weeks of the  March challenge.  I  began to realize how much I was enjoying the act of writing: the search for a new idea each day, the careful selection of words that would express precisely how I felt; the desire to connect with an audience of wise and skilled readers and writers.  I was hooked.

I have blogged on TWT  every Tuesday ever since ( with the exception of two weeks during my visit to Germany at Christmas), and now I’ve completed my second year of the March challenge.  I have had “conversations” with familiar and unfamiliar bloggers and have begun to really appreciate certain writers’ styles.  I have been awed by the diversity and the richness of the writing, as well as the different styles and approaches that are presented each week. I have finally come to the realization that I am now a bona fide member of this writing community and that makes me so proud.

This year I volunteered to become part of the “Welcome Wagon” and that, too, has enriched my writing. It has made me a better reader so I can respond more specifically to a writer’s words, commenting  in a more meaningful way.  The give and take of this writing community is unique, I believe.  The warmth and hospitality of the group is exceptional.  The skill, talent and perseverance of the writers is nothing less than admirable.

In one year I have managed to transcend my status as a cancer survivor to become someone who “writes.”  I sometimes do mention my cancer experience when I blog, but it no longer defines me.  I have a new self-definition; one that I prefer.  I am a member of the Slice of Life writing community; I am a committed writer ; I am a blogger. One year ago I could never have imagined I would be writing these words today and having these good feelings about myself.

Thank you, Kathleen and the crew of TWT and thank you, Slicers, for an unforgettable year of writing,  growth and happiness.  I look forward to our future together.

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20 thoughts on “Thank You for This Year”

    1. We all have a lot to celebrate as this month comes to an end. I love hearing from each and every Slicer who takes the time to check in. So thank you for that! Long live the TWT community!

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  1. Very nice tribute to Kathleen and the TWT blogging community. Last year was my first for this challenge, too. I missed a couple days because of travel but completed every day this year. You mention commenting, which for me has been satisfying at times but extremely disappointing at other times. I’ll admit that I don’t really feel very connected to SOL, but I am very proud of my commitment to writing this month and to commenting on others’ blogs. Finally, I love how writing has helped you heal.

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    1. Barbara, we did it on two scores-finishing the challenge and surviving cancer. I was diagnosed with lymphoma 12 years ago and just had my catscan in January with the lovely word remission still in big letters. I remember the first time I wrote about my survival. It was a big step to take so I certainly understand where you are coming from. Writing is a true healer. Let’s keep in touch.

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    2. Kudos to you for hanging in there, despite what sounds like your disappointment in getting feedback. Commenting is so important to a newbie, as it was for me. I never take it lightly knowing that writers are so hungry for feedback that will sustain them. I am sorry you did not get the attention you needed, but brava to you for continuing to write anyway. Perseverance is the key…and you’ve got it!

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  2. Barbara, you did it again…you caught my attention from start to finish. I appreciated being a part of the wagon you welcomed as I did this challenge for the very first time. I always looked forward to the writing specific comments you would leave about the day’s post. And I look forward to your continued better health, reading about all the alternate practices you continue to embrace as you continue ont he journey. It has been great. Thank you, Barbara!

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    1. I have enjoyed your posts from the get-go, and have always tried to make time to comment even when you were no longer on my assignment list. That is the best testimony there can be to your own writing ability, as there were so many Slicers competing for attention. Thank you so much for the comments wishing me continued good health; it is important for me to know that even people I haven’t met in person really do care. That’s one of the things that’s so great about this writing community; it’s about more than just writing. It’s also about caring, and as teachers and parents, we’re all really good at that. “It has been great.” What wonderful words to read today. Thank you!

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  3. Yahoo! Although I have not commented on your writing often, I have read your slices more. You ARE a writer and a survivor on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your talents. Your reflection was one that resonated with me because so many of your thoughts are the same as mine (but you said it better- word choice is NOT my strength). See you on Tuesdays!

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    1. I, too, have visited your slices more than I have commented, and have always enjoyed them. I have felt your “presence” all along. Thanks so much for validating my writing efforts; it’s really important to receive that validation. I am glad my reflection today spoke to you. Yours would have been just as good, just different.
      I look forward to a continued connection. I’ll be looking for you on Tuesdays.

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  4. Such changes in life and outlook because of writing. Writing has power and you’ve discovered your voice with the blog. Who knows where this will lead you in the future. Keep it up!

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    1. Yes, the changes are dramatic. And in my case, the “bad” was completely balanced by the “good” of being a part of this community. A special thank you to you and a few others who breathed life back into me and sustained me in those early days and first attempts. You were my rescue team and you didn’t even know it. I treasure your words and your caring soul. Thank you for a wonderful year, Elsie!

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    1. My writing life would never have happened without SOL and faithful commentary from writers like yourself. I am continuously inspired by the SOL staff and members who so generously share their time and devotion to emerging writers like myself.

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  5. Great reflection! I did not participate as much as I would have liked in this year’s challenge (my first!), but I did make an honest effort during the week. This has encouraged me to be more aware of things I can and should be writing about, which will hopefully make blog writing more of a habit.

    Thanks for being part of a great team to help encourage all of us to make our voices heard.

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    1. So much of becoming a better writer is the discipline/practice of writing routinely, as well as getting feedback form other writers. This is the only place I know that offers both, for free! Your thank you is very much appreciated!

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  6. Congratulations on a fabulous year. Writing does have a way of taking our mind off of our problems (I can attest to that) and sharing a burden makes the load much lighter. I will continue to look for you on Tuesdays.

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  7. The second year is a good one, and you can spread your wings a little, right? I’m happy to hear you have taken on a new self-definition, a slice of life writer! I started the slicing during a very challenging time in my life, and feel that the community helped me survive that time in very real ways. It is a joy to be hear & to read others’ posts about their lives, what they are doing, and what kinds of things they like to write. Congratulations on your second year complete, Barbara.

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  8. Thank you Linda. It sounds like you went through an initial year like mine. How lucky we both were to have found a “home” here. I have very much enjoyed your relationship to poetry and look forward to more of the same from you. I have enjoyed teaching poetry to English Language Learners and will soon be giving a poetry workshop for an Integrated classroom (ELLs and mainstream students). So I am always looking for poetry buddies and mentors like yourself. I have enjoyed your comments, and look forward to continuing to read you and hear from you on Tuesdays!

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