in·ten·tion·al

inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/ adjective:  done on purpose; deliberate. Synonyms: calculated, conscious, intended, purposeful I talk to my writing students about audience all the time — “Know your audience,” I tell them,  “Your tone, your style, your voice depends on your audience.” But when I sit down to write, the audience member I most often put in focus…

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The Fight for Time

A friend once told me that if you really want to do something, first write down all the good excuses you’ve got not to do it. When it comes to writing, I’ve got a few: All the words have been said. I don’t have the right notebook or pen. People will think I’m a fake.…

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See something, say something

  The world feels extra fragile to me lately. The big and the small — so many cancer diagnoses in my community, a contentious election and now inaugagration, unnerving daily news reports, an especially dark January, and my own kids constantly picking at each other. We had an Ice Day today – with school called off…

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Thankful: the sacred mundane

One of my favorite parts of teaching is writing with my students. In my Hope College class this fall,  we did a series of writing experiments — assignments more focused on exploration than perfection. One of my favorites was an imitation of a piece called “Thankful” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. The piece is published in Rosenthal’s Encyclopedia of an…

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That first hill

  It took me awhile to enjoy rollercoasters. I was a nervous, cautious kid, not one to take risks — and it wasn’t until high school that I remember being talked into venturing onto a rollercoaster and walking off the platform with a smile on face. My problem was that as soon as I reached…

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Questions

  Earlier this summer my cousin, Sara, and I sat on my aunt’s couch with my 86 year-old grandmother between us. We asked her questions and then listened as she talked about her life growing up on Seneca Street as the eighth of ten children, about playing hopscotch and paper dolls, about how she wished…

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Middle

Definition: (Adjective) At an equal distance from the extremities of something  Synonyms: Center or Midst, suggesting that a person or thing is closely surrounded or encompassed on all sides, especially by that which is thick or dense; such as the midst of a storm. When I tell someone I teach in a middle school, the…

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