SOLC Day 11: Choices

March 2023 SOLC–Day 11
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.

This morning I got out of bed, grabbed my glasses and phone and headed out of my room to go downstairs. As I stepped into the hallway, the moon light stopped me in my tracks. It flowed through the window and painted itself upon the old wooden floors. I stopped to take a photo, fascinated by the light and shadow interplay with the only hint of color in the illuminated pine boards.

I continued on my way downstairs, feeling a little lift, fed the cats, turned on the coffee pot, and sat down to write.

Wait a minute! My pen stopped in its tracks. It was supposed to be cloudy this morning. If it were cloudy, I wouldn’t be able to see the moon! (Yes, it did take me a bit to connect these dots.)

I looked outside again. There was the moon, brightly shining behind the trees.

I walked into the living room and looked to the East. A shimmer of red glowed on the horizon. A few clouds lay low in the sky.

Next, I looked at my weather app. “Bowdoinham, cloudy”.

Not so much! I thought.

So, now the question loomed. I knew I was in dire need of a dose of Nature, but I had thought today wouldn’t be a great day due to the forecasted clouds. Now, it looked like opportunity might be knocking. I glanced at the clock. 5:35 am. The sun was due to rise about 6 am. I couldn’t make it to the marsh, or the beach…but I could go down to the river.

And so I did.

When I first arrived, things were pretty low key. I sat in my car for a moment debating if I really wanted to get out and take pictures. It was colder than I’d thought it might be, and my energy has been hovering in the low range.

Maybe I should just go back home.

Finally, figuring I was already there, I convinced myself to get out of the car.

I crunched across the snowy grass and snapped a picture or two. At first, it looked like this:

Next, I wandered up to the bridge for a better vantage point. Just a few minutes later, it looked like this:

What a difference a few minutes can make! I turned to look up the river and wondered at yet another difference.

Looking west, upstream, there was just a subtle wash of pink in the clouds. The river was cluttered with ice.The mood was somber, cold-looking and somewhat severe.

I turned and looked back and forth between the two views–somewhat mind-boggling and definitely fascinating!

The colors faded, the day lightened, and I wandered a bit more, watching the morning unfold.

Later, as I drove home, I couldn’t help but think about what I would have missed if I hadn’t left the house, if I hadn’t gotten out of the car, and if I’d only looked one way.

Our days are filled with so many choices. Here’s hoping I make a few more positive ones along the way today.

SOLC Day 10: Thunder Bees!

March 2023 SOLC–Day 10
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.

“Mrs. Hogan, did you know there are thunder bees?” S asked.

“Thunder bees?” I repeated.

“Yeah, thunder bees.”

It was first thing in the morning and I was checking in with kids, taking attendance and doing all the mundane tasks that start the day. This sounded much more interesting. I put down my clipboard and gave S my full attention.

“I’ve never heard of thunder bees, S. Can you tell me more?”

“Well,” he said, “there are these thunder bees. They go up to the thunder when there’s thunder out.”

“Where did you learn about that?” I asked. (I was a bit doubtful about the existence of thunder bees, but willing to be convinced. I mean, I’m no bee expert. )

“I just saw it in a shark book.” (Okay, that wasn’t what I expected to hear.)

A quick bit of background information: S. is super imaginative and creative. He sometimes misinterprets things or presents odd ideas as facts. He’s the kind of kid you call on with your fingers crossed, as you are never quite sure what you’re going to get–interesting insights and/or facts or seriously expressed long-winded convoluted explanations that leave me trying to manage the expression on my face (and watching the clock). The other day, when lobbying to go to the nurse, he told me his throat felt funny. He was pretty sure there was either a “piece of cotton or a small animal in there.” Also, reading is really challenging for him. Really challenging.

As I was quite curious about his discovery of thunder bees in a book about sharks, I asked a little more.

“Which book was that?” I asked.

“It was a shark book. It was right in the back,” he said. “Wait, I’ll get it!”

He dashed away and returned triumphantly, book in hand, quickly turning to the back.


I looked to where he pointed. Sure enough there was a picture with a bee and an ominous cloud and bolt of lightning.

The lights went on. I could see how this had all unfolded. (Though, to be fair, I did have a bit of an advantage, as I’d already suspected that thunder bees probably weren’t a real thing, and I’d read a few shark books in my day. )

“Oh, I can see what you were thinking, S.” I said. I pointed to the words next to the picture. “I bet we could read this and get a little bit more information.

We read it together, “A person is more likely to be killed by lightning or a bee sting than by a shark.”

“Oooooh,” he said, “Okay.” He took the book back and left me to go put it away.

The whole exchange was illuminating and I took a minute longer to think about it. About how S was making sense of his world. About the birth of misconceptions. About the insights we gain when we take a little extra time and ask a few questions.

I picked up my clipboard, the day ticked back up to full speed and rolled along, but to be honest I felt a little let down.

I’m still kind of wishing there were thunder bees.

SOLC Day 9: Low Energy, Short Slice

March 2023 SOLC–Day 9
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.


The e-mail popped up toward the end of Sexual Abuse Awareness training. It was from the executor who’s handling my step-mother’s estate. I looked around, then opened it and skimmed it surreptitiously. The date we’d discussed was good… There’s still a hold up on one item… The transfer is ongoing. ..He’s waiting to hear back about something else… My brother still hasn’t been in touch.

My brother still hasn’t been in touch.

Now that’s a concise summary of a novel of pain and aggravation.

I tapped out of the e-mail and returned my attention to the meeting, feeling my mood shift to unsettled. Yet again. Some days there just seem to be too many emotions. Too much juggling. Too much tired.

I got home later and tried to write my slice for today. (If I don’t write the night before, it’s just not pretty.) But, it really has been a long few days on the school front and on the home front. I’m worn out. In theory I had so many slice ideas. In reality, I had so little energy. So, this is what happened instead:

There once was a teacher so tired
she felt overwhelmed, uninspired
when it came time to slice
she tried once, twice and thrice
then she threw in the towel and retired*

*To clarify, I meant retired for the night not the other kind of retired, because while I know that some people might be able to retire soon, I am not one of them.

SOLC Day 8: Spring Concert

March 2023 SOLC–Day 8
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.

I’d been a little grumpy about it all day yesterday. I’d arrived at school shortly after 6:30 am and sat for a minute in my car in the empty parking lot. Well, you won’t be leaving for about another twelve hours. Sigh.

You see, last night was the Second Grade Concert. At our school, concerts are held in the evening. Students meet in the classroom about fifteen minutes before the concert starts, and teachers are in charge. If you have any sort of commute, it doesn’t really make sense to go home beforehand. Which makes for a really, really long day. And some grumpiness. Regardless of how cute you know the kids are going to be.

So, at 5:30 pm, about 15 minutes before kids were due to arrive, I finally ran out of steam and stopped working. I packed up my bags, turned off the lights, and sat in the dark room. I was pooped, and, to be honest, perhaps a wee bit resentful. I’d been working for almost 12 hours (though I still felt behind) and had spent a big chunk of my weekend finishing up report cards. I knew I’d be staying late after school the next two days as well for meetings. Couldn’t parent volunteers help out with this?

And then the kids arrived.

They jumped, skipped, hopped and even spun into the classroom. The last few moments of quiet evaporated as the room was filled with happy, nervous chatter.

The concert was a St. Patrick’s Day theme, so green was heavily favored. There were fancy dresses (“These are real gemstones, Mrs. Hogan!”), blazers, t-shirts with leprechauns, and much-admired button-down shirts. A couple of leather jackets were evident and some sparkly boots as well. Hair had been slicked and curled and eye lids and lips colored.

“I’m so nervous and happy!” S bubbled, bouncing into the room. “I don’t know what to say! I don’t know what to do!” He boomeranged off the cubbies toward the tables.

I heard C whisper to a classmate, “I’m so scared!”

“Me, too!” she whispered back.

They held hands and jumped up and down together.

Another student was holding court, telling the story of his preparations. “I was like, ‘Mom! Don’t touch my hair!'” Then he patted his carefully arranged hair. “I did this all myself,” he said.

M decided to do an impromptu Irish jig across the carpet. I turned around to remind B and K to walk in the classroom, and saw S. with the large plastic lunch bin upturned over his head, spinning it around and around. The volume was soaring.

Oh, my.

Reinforcements were clearly in order. I pulled out some coloring pages I had at the ready, and quickly distributed them. Within moments, the kids were coloring away, and the volume had dropped to a more reasonable level. Ahhhh, the magic of coloring. It was just enough to take the edge off.

After about five minutes we cleaned up and lined up, preparing to walk down the hallway to the gym, where the bleachers and a large audience awaited. The excitement was still palpable, as were the nerves. We took a few deep breaths together, and then walked out the door. They were ready to perform.

And they totally nailed it. Cute as could be and so focused and happy. Swinging to the music. Grinning to beat the band. Waving to parents. Singing their little hearts out.

I may have started the day feeling grumpy, but I ended it with a big smile on my face.

SOLC Day 7: Nice Try!

March 2023 SOLC–Day 7
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’d been having a quick narrative reading assessment. I’d read students a story and paused every so often for them to jot answers to some questions about character feelings, changes in feelings, lessons, etc. For some reason or other, we had gotten into a bit of a time crunch (so unusual, right?), so I had ended up scribing a little for one of my students. As we finished the story and got to the last question, I told S that he needed to complete that one independently. I thought he might grumble, but he didn’t, and I moved away as he picked up his pencil, concentrating on the page in front of him.

A minute later he popped up by my side. “Here, Mrs. Hogan,” he said, handing me his paper.

I looked down and saw that he’d written, “fichin” (fiction). 

“Great, S” I said, “but remember the question was: What is the genre of this story and how do you know?” I pointed to the second part of the question on his page. “You still need to answer that part.”

He hesitated a moment. Was he going to refuse?

Then he frowned, grudgingly took his paper back and plodded back toward his seat. Several minutes later he appeared again at my side. He stood in front of me, paper in hand, waiting while I talked to another student. Then, as I turned to give him my attention, he held his paper up for my inspection and said, in a somehow simultaneously serious and nonchalant way, “Mrs. Hogan, the second part is just written in Chinese.” 

I looked down and saw that under “fichin” S had filled a line with a series of intersecting lines, both curved and straight. Apparently he’d spent the past few minutes creating what, to him, looked like passable Chinese.

I know it wasn’t professional, but I couldn’t help it. I started laughing. It was all just too funny–His studied nonchalance… His misguided hope that I’d be taken in and accept his answer (Maybe ask for a translation? lol)…and all that creative effort expended on avoiding answering the question (which, by the way, I knew that he knew). It pushed me over the edge. As I laughed, even his lips twitched and a small smile appeared.

“Oh, S,” I finally said, pulling myself back together, “I am so sorry, but you can’t answer this one in Chinese. You’re going to have to try again.”

And off he went, paper and pencil in hand, resigned to his fate.

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.