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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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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Guest Post: Poems and Process

Earlier this summer, I wrote about interviewing my grandma with my cousin, Sara Lamers Messink. A poet, a teacher, and one of my first friends, Sara and I grew up bridging the 80 miles that separated us with weekly letters exchanged back and forth. We eventually became college housemates and fellow English majors. We share a mutual understanding and appreciation for…

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Weeds

A couple of years ago we purchased my husband’s childhood home from his parents. I love the sprawling backyard that overlooks a farm – waking to the pink light of the sun rising over the field, the distant sound of a tractor, the wild turkey that pecks and scurries around our landscape, the old maple…

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Walking each other home

“We’re all just walking each other home.” — Ram Dass Nestled back in the corner of my basement storage room are boxes of letters.  Letters my cousin and I wrote back and forth weekly as children. Letters from camp counselors and cabin mates with whom I promised to never lose touch. Letters from my grandma…

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