"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Slice of Life: Does it count if we talk about books?

Jen Vincent (who blogs over at Teach Mentor Texts), was visiting over the weekend. I celebrated her visit on Saturday, but that was only the beginning, of both the visit and the celebration. We had such a great time exploring the environs of Boston together. 

As I left her at the airport last evening, I realized I didn't sit down and read all weekend. I KNOW! Can you believe it? Two book-ish people spent the weekend in each other's company and did not sit down and read books along the way?

This may sound crazy, but I don't feel badly about this. I don't feel badly because it was a thoroughly book-ish weekend.

First, we visited the grave site of poet e.e.cummings. 
We decided to go for a walk in the beautiful and huge Forest Hills Cemetery.  Once there, we realized we should look to see who was buried there. Once I found out that e.e.cummings was buried there, we had to find the grade site. I grew up on a healthy dose of cummings, as he is one of my parents' favorite poets. In a weekend that began with a conversation about passion-driven research and writing nonfiction children's books, we found ourselves living out this idea. 
We had to find a map on our phones, determine the correct north/south direction, and look for markers to locate ourselves on the map. Having located our whereabouts within a section of this 247 acre park, we headed toward the grave...and missed it. We turned back, pulled up the map, read the lane signs, and looked for geographic patterns. We missed it again.  That third time? It was a charm. Turns out the lane we were looking for was unmarked and unpaved. Knowing the family name for the grave plot, we switched to reading tombstones.  Sure enough we located the family plot and with a bit more searching, found e.e.cummings grave marker. As readers and as educators, we remarked upon the grit and perseverance the search had required. We could have easily turned back or moved along, but we didn't. We were passion-driven searchers. As we left the grave, we reflected upon how we could help create educational environments that support passion-driven learners engaged in passion-driven learning. Food for summer thought.

Our non-reading but book-ish weekend continued with a visit to the Glass Flowers at Harvard Museum of Natural History. Where this quote inspired us to continue our passion-driven research conversation 
and think about how we model our passion for reading and writing for our students. What do I love and and how do I show my students?

The next day, a visit to SoWa, South of Washington open art and food market and Paddle Boarding on the Charles were filled with conversations about books.  

I don't need to say how much fun it is to spend time with someone who doesn't get tired of talking books. Our conversation was not relegated to books written and published by others, we spent quite a bit of time conversing about books we are writing (or thinking of writing in my case).  I so enjoyed hearing Jen work through the ideas for her novel. I may just be brave enough to sit down and write this summer! My head is full of characters, settings, and plots. 
So, yes, I did not actually sit down and read a book this weekend, but I feel like I did, now that's a book-ish celebration.


  1. What a special weekend! How lovely to be able to get together and explore and share. Love the connections you shared to your teaching.

    1. Thank you, Beverley.Weekends like this do feel like gifts. I also find that I am always thinking about teaching and learning. It's a pretty great lens to look through.

  2. Wow - what an amazing weekend. Yes, it definitely, absolutely counts as book-ish.

    Love the description of both of you searching for the grave - I need to find more instances of the same in my life - times when I was a passionate researcher. Now you've got me thinking....

    1. Yay! It's a mutual inspiration society. I am thankful for those whose ideas have inspired me and hope that I might inspire others.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence - it seemed so crazy that we never actually read.

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