SOLC Day 6: Wait…what!?

March 2023 SOLC–Day 6
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

Wait. What? 

I was at a last minute impromptu staff meeting on Friday afternoon. Maybe I hadn’t been listening quite as intently as I should have been. (Blizzard coming, food to buy, wood to stack, report card comments to write, etc.. Oh. And don’t forget the aforementioned “Friday afternoon!”)

I couldn’t have heard her say…

“Yes,” she replied with toxic positivity convincing enthusiasm. “That’s right. For next week. Isn’t it great!? We’re sooooo excited about it!”

My jaw dropped. 

My brain started frantically churning, trying to remember what she’d said. Trying to put together the pieces of this impossible puzzle.

  1. A new fundraising week. (“What a great opportunity!”)
  2. We had to come up with the fundraiser ideas. (“You all are so creative!”)
  3. Everyone was supposed to have a different idea. (“Like a fun fair of fundraisers!”)
  4. It was due to begin next week. (“Maybe the timing isn’t great, but … you can do it!”)
  5. Report cards were still due on Tuesday. (“You’ve got this!”)

My brain felt like it was shorting out. I think my eye started twitching.

Danger! Danger! Information overload!

We gathered up our belongings. No one made eye contact. Other than the warning messages screaming in my brain, it was silent as we filed past our beaming Assistant Principal and into the hallway.

Suddenly, a blaring sound filled the school.

Now, what!?!

We looked from left to right, trying to find the source.

The noise continued, insistent and unabated, filling the hallways. It definitely wasn’t the fire alarm…

People started to move a bit faster. To look even more apprehensive.

What could it be?

Then I realized.

I took a deep, relieved breath…
rolled over and turned off my alarm.

It had all been a dream.


(With apologies to our Assistant Principal who is not nearly this insane and while upbeat and positive, never veers into toxicity!)

SOLC Day 5: It’s Not My Fault!

March 2023 SOLC–Day 5
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

It’s not my fault.

Really, it isn’t!

How can I possibly be expected to work when I’m besieged by temptations? They all joined forces. I swear it was like a conspiracy!

The windows started it. All innocent-like.

“Just take a peek,” they suggested, flashing some light my way.

So I did.

Then the birds got in on the act. Even from inside I could hear them singing up a storm. Some of them perched nearby, looking forlornly at me through the window, or staring intently at their snow-topped platform feeders.

“Tweet, tweet,” began to sound a lot like “Feed me!”

Being the generous type, and prone to guilt (cause, you know, I’m also a mom), I stepped outside to fill the feeders.

But before I could do that, I had to shovel the path, and when I went to get the shovel, I made the mistake of looking in the back yard. Sun seized the opportunity and got in on the act.

“Check it out!” she said, casting light and shadows with wild abandon. I tried not to look, really I did! But she wouldn’t let up!

“Look at what I can do with the trees!”

“Did you see the deer tracks in the driveway?”

“Look I made a portal!”

(Geez, you can tell that she didn’t get out to play yesterday!)

I hope you understand that I had to take some time to admire her work, right? I mean, I didn’t want to be rude.

Now it’s an hour or so later, and I still haven’t started my work.

But, you see, don’t you, that it’s really not my fault? Could you resist? And they all ganged up on me!

So, it’s not my fault.


I think I’m going to go work in the closet.

SOLC Day 4 and PF: The Yielding

March 2023 SOLC–Day 4
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

My post today is serving as both a Poetry Friday post (posted late!) and a Slice of Life.

This month Margaret Simon posed the monthly challenge in our Inklings writing group. She invited us to, “Explore the use of anaphora in a poem, how the repetition of a line or phrase can add depth to the theme.” I had initial thoughts of writing a triolet or something nuanced and lovely, but February disappeared. Then, in the weird way of the world of writing, I woke yesterday morning with some oddly melding thoughts, including Edgar Allen Poe’s “Raven”, in mind. I dove right in, but unfortunately, I had to stop writing to go to school. So, here’s a story in drafty poetic form, posted a bit late for the Poetry Friday Roundup. (After trying to use Poe’s work as a mentor, I am immensely impressed by his skills! Wow! )

The Yielding

Once upon a long week’s ending, teaching, planning, e-mail sending,
last ditch cleaning of the classroom, tote bags hefted, out the door
While I drove home, nearly sleeping, suddenly there came a peeping
sudden thoughts bestirred and cheeping, cheeping as they’ve done before
“Just some thoughts,” I muttered crossly, “peeping as they’ve done before.
Nothing that I need explore.”

But the thoughts were still compelling, never shrinking, always swelling
as I drove along the back roads, thoughts kept drifting to the store, 
Then the wheel was swiftly turning, as my mind was deeply burning
with the thought that still was churning, churning at resolve’s frail shore
White flag flying, I conceded, burning at resolve’s frail shore
“Just one bag and not one more!”

Once I’d yielded to the luring, gave up thoughts of craving-curing,
I slunk to the candy aisle, treading paths I’d walked before
Bright display was quite eye-catching, soon the plan began a’hatching, 
and my hand was quickly snatching, snatching, paying, out the door!
“Robin’s eggs!” my breath was hitching, catching with the treat in store
“Just one piece and not one more!”

But that feeble vow unraveled, mounds of candy quickly traveled
past my lips and down my gullet, there to lie on stomach’s floor 
As the mounting candies tumbled, suddenly my stomach grumbled
“Should I stop”, I barely mumbled, mumbled as my gut implored
But the seismic heavings heightened, grumbled as my gut implored
Quoth my stomach, “Nevermore!”

©Molly Hogan, draft


If you’d like to see what the other Inklings did with this challenge, click on their names to check out their poems:

Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon
Heidi Mordhorst
MaryLee Hahn
Catherine Flynn

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Tanita at her blog. Be sure to stop by to enjoy some poetry goodness!

SOLC Day 3: Snowy Recess is the Best!

March 2023 SOLC–Day 3
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

Our snow supply has been replenished regularly in the past few weeks. One recent morning as I stepped outside with my class, students gasped at the size of the newly plowed mounds of snow.

“Let’s go conquer Mount Everest!” one of them cried, and then they were all off, racing across the playground. They scrambled up to the top of the piles and then threw themselves off with utter abandon and complete disregard for their continued health and well being. It was pretty fun and pretty awesome.

Today as we walked outside, the snow was falling fast and furious. We all turned our heads up instinctively as we walked out, greeting the snowfall. Everyone was smiling. Kids scattered to climb and sled down mountains, slide down extra slippery slides, and jump into snow piles. It was the kind of wet heavy snow that instantly soaks mittens, hats and hair. No one seemed to mind. One of the other recess duty teachers smiled at me from across the basketball court, jumped and tapped her feet together in midair. It was just that amazing out there!

Across the court even a basketball seemed to be trying to get in on the action!

“Look at that basketball!” I called to some nearby students, and pointed. “It’s trying to build a snowman!”

They turned to look, and then we all laughed.

Soon I was admiring a more developed snowman and later an inventive snow star with wood chip eyes and nose and smile.

I may have had a twinge of envy at recent pictures of blooming azaleas or magnolias shared in other posts and on social media. But today any hint of jealousy vanished. I was completely enchanted by the snowfall, delighted to be out at recess in the middle of a snow globe, soaking it all in, surrounded by the laughter of equally delighted children.

Those of you who are already enjoying bird song and blossoms have no idea what you’re missing!

SOLC Day 2: A Moment in Second Grade

March 2023 SOLC–Day 2
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

We were gathered at the rug in the midst of a discussion about types of fiction: specifically, realistic fiction, fantasy, and fables. (Oh, my.) We were looking at a couple of books and trying to decide which category they fit into. Some of them were a bit tricky. At this particular moment we were focused on fantasy.

T raised his hand, “Well, if a book has talking animals, it would be fantasy. Because in the real world animals don’t talk.”

Several students nodded in agreement or signaled that they had had the same thought.

“What about Mercy Watson?” V asked. “She doesn’t talk, but she sleeps in a bed and dreams of toast.”

“Is Fly Guy fantasy or realistic fiction?” M piped up. “He mostly just says ‘Buzzz’.”

S’s hand popped up, waving wildly, and he simultaneously blurted, “Well, some animals talk. Parrots talk.”

“Well, that’s true, ” I began, but S kept right on going. He was clearly determined to prove his point.

“Parrots do talk,” he repeated.

Lowering his hand, he tapped X, who was sitting next to him, on the shoulder.

“Do you want to be a parrot?” S asked him with great enthusiasm.

X, who clearly had not been followed the conversation, jerked to a more alert state and peered at S.

“Huh?” He looked like a confused chick with his sleepy eyes and tousled downy hair.

“Do you want to be a parrot?” S repeated.

“Oh, OK,” X answered promptly. (He clearly had no idea what was going on, but was game.)

“OK,” said S He prepared himself, shifting on the rug, sitting up straighter and looking straight at X.

“Hello,” he said clearly in his best parrot voice (which sounded uncannily like his regular voice).

“Hello,” replied X in a similar fashion.

“See,” declared S triumphantly, looking around at the class with a satisfied grin.

And he rested his case.

SOLC Day 1: A Mindful Moment in the Snow

March 2023 SOLC–Day 1
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

Late yesterday afternoon, I bundled up and slipped outside into the snow. Immediately, the cold flakes hit my face and I couldn’t help smiling.

Why hadn’t I come out earlier? 

All day long the snow had been falling and I’d been watching it from inside. Happy to be watching the birds. Warmed by the steady heat of the wood stove. Enjoying the drowsy, PJs-all-day, snow globe kind of day. 

Now, the feel of the snow on my face animated me, and I set out to wander. Before too long, I noticed that I hadn’t been the only one out and about. Fresh deer tracks led across a back trail, weaving between trees. 

How long ago had they passed? Had they been watching me? Had I inadvertently startled them? Were they still there?

I paused and scanned the trees, waiting for long hushed moments. I heard nothing but the soft sound of my breath. I saw nothing moving other than the drifting snowflakes.

After a bit, I walked further into a clearing out back. The falling snow was striking against the contrast of the deep green of the tall pines. The branches of the smaller trees bowed gracefully under its accumulating weight.

I wandered on, my attention caught by one thing after another. In the back field, remnants of wildflowers cupped collected snow in delicate chalices. 

In a marvel of textures, the bark on the pine trees boasted soft pillows of snow amidst its collection of scalloped green lichens.

Once I’d had my fill of wandering and wondering, I walked back to the front yard and looked across the smooth expanse of white. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to lie down in the middle of it all.

Why not?

I waded out into the yard, found a good spot, sat and then lay down flat on my back. I turned my face upward. I thought of making snow angels as a child, but that had no appeal. Today felt like a still kind of day. So I simply lay there, arms by my side, watching the flakes fall in spirals from the grey sky. A hypnotic ever changing swirl of grey and white. They appeared one flake after another after another.Collecting on my coat, my face, my glasses.

I lay quietly watching for a long time. Mesmerized. Then I closed my eyes. Through my coat, I could feel the cushion of mounded snow. The distant cold solidity of the ground. I felt the flakes land gently on my cheeks. Felt them settle and melt from my body’s heat. One after another after another.

In that moment I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be. Doing exactly what I wanted to do. Utterly content.

A Gift of Tulips

A Gift 

An enchantment of tulips
graces the ceramic vase.
Over the flow of days
their petals curl and fade,
stems weaken and bow,
elegant in their curved descent.
Then in a final cascading rush,
each flower splays into full blossom,
casting petals upon the table.
A last tender offering.

©Molly Hogan

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. Be sure to stop by! Tabatha’s posts always leave you with something new to ponder and there are links to other poetic offerings as well.

Poetry Friday is here!

I love the trees in winter. My eyes are drawn to them, to their still winter silhouettes against the changing tapestry of the skies. There’s something so clean and clear about them. Undiluted dendritic elegance.

Driving home recently, I had the sudden realization that I will miss the stark winter trees come spring. While I’ll certainly enjoy the delicate emergence of greenery, something within me cleaves to the clarity of winter tree lines. Their shapes and shadows collaborate with sky and water and snow-covered land. They resonate with me on a fundamental level. I felt an odd sense of grief at their impending transformation and a deep appreciation for their presence.

A Tree in Winter

Plant a tree
above my grave
Not one to bloom
in rubied exuberance
nor an evergreen
season after season

Instead, plant a tree
with winter in mind
a tree that is stalwart and true
one that stretches upward
into the lingering shadows
of long, cold days
quilting the skies
at dawn and dusk,
its limbs a tracery
a testament to endurance
and a reassurance
Solace and stark beauty
in the dark, dark days

©Molly Hogan, draft

I hope my poem doesn’t come across as too dark. I really am just feeling thankful for the beauty of trees in a still somber landscape. In Maine, winter is still firmly entrenched, though every day the sun rises a touch earlier and sets a touch later. And those beautiful, beautiful trees rise above it all. Wishing you winter or early spring beauty wherever you may be.

Please share your link below. My comments may be delayed due to tentative travel plans this weekend, but I’ll definitely be visiting all your posts sooner or later. Thanks for sharing!

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A Trick of the Light

The morning sun spills in through aged glass to pebble the wall, highlighting the dust that’s gathered on the side table. It lingers on the lopsided ceramic dish, crafted long ago by little fingers.

Yesterday’s gift, today’s time capsule.

The light flows over an old roll of film rescued from some forgotten corner, placed there on the table where temporary spun into long-lasting. It, too, no doubt, wears a fine mantle of dust. What memories rustle within?

The light quivers, casting an aquatic feel over the scene. Submerging items. In light. In dust. In time.

Today perhaps I’ll wipe off the table, put a few candies in the empty dish. Perhaps I’ll even research where I can send film for developing.

Or maybe I’ll just let the memories lie still, and sit and watch the light play across the wall, flickering like an old movie reel.

Playing with Existing Narratives

I’m participating in Laura Shovan’s February Challenge this year. I must confess that I haven’t been as consistent as usual in my participation. I think right now I’m at a 50% response rate. I’m trying to look at that as half success, rather than as half failure. At any rate, I’m hoping to rectify that moving forward. (Yay for weekends!)

Our first prompt was essentially to deconstruct or mess around with a narrative or its structure. While initially this felt a bit brain-twisty, eventually I found it fascinating. I loved reading all the amazingly creative takes on it, too. I shared one response with the group, but was inspired to write another one as well.

(Photo credit to : markmatucciphoto)

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
The other version

That Dog
laid still,
played dead.
He wasn’t lazy
not at all

And that Fox
wasn’t quite
as quick as 
he claimed.
Though he was brown.

That Fox did jump
or try to jump
over that still 
seemingly lazy Dog.

But that wily Dog
stood up 
with a Woof shake Woof
catching that Fox 
in a brief mid-air

Then that Dog
untangled himself,
and shrugged off Fox
and trotted away
with a lazy grin.

That Fox dusted off
his chagrin,
blushing red
from tip to tail,
and limped away…

not quite as quick
as before.

©Molly Hogan

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Carol Varsalona at her blog, Beyond Literacy Link.