Shaping the future #myfirstpostrevisited

Almost every week since Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications challenged writers with her first flash fiction prompt in 2014, I have written a 99-word story in response. Sometimes an idea forms quickly, like a cup of instant coffee. Other times the prompt needs to percolate interminably, before the flavour is rich enough to share.

This is one of those weeks.

In her wonderful post, Charli writes about the changing desert of Utah that she refers to as Mars, so different is the landscape from that of her beloved mountainous northern states.

Charli, a historian, seeks clues to lives past and finds traces from different times. “Life is like multiple disconnected plays that share the same stage over and over,” she muses.

She finds remnants of slag and uses it as an analogy to life, her life, and its changes, many forced upon her like the heat of a smelter and says that, “We are slag forged in the fires …, and want to fully transform into something of beauty and purpose.

She concludes her post by challenging writers to “In 99 words (no more, no less) include slag in a story. Slag is a glass-like by-product of smelting or refining ore. Slag is also used in making glass or can result from melting glass. It can be industrious or artistic. Go where the prompt leads.”

I was lost. How could I possibly tie a challenge like that into the educational focus of my blog? As usual, my thoughts scattered. I guess that makes me a scatterbrain. But I am a scatterbrain with focus, looking for ideas everywhere, trying for the proper fit. Sometimes I’m surprised where I find inspiration.

A fellow participant in Charli’s challenges is Sarah Brentyn who blogs at Lemon Shark Reef. Sarah, who posted a piece called Transformation, also quoted Charli’s words about slag and transformation, and shared a tweet of her own from August 2016:

Interesting to me is that August 2016 is when readilearn, my website of early childhood teaching resources, launched; and my first readilearn blog post was published. That was almost three years to the day after my first post here on NorahColvin.com.

I could say that blogging has been a bit of a trial by fire, and that I too have, through both projects, endeavoured to create something of “beauty and purpose”, with NorahColvin forging the way for readilearn. No doubt a lot of slag has been manufactured and either shared or discarded in the process.

On her other blog Lemon Shark (she’s got two, I’ve got two), Sarah recently invited me through her post My New Blog Scares me #MyFirstPostRevisited to share my first blog post. She provided me with some rules to follow, so in this post, I will do my best to follow two sets of rules, Sarah’s and Charli. Or not. Rules are meant to be broken. Aren’t they?

I apologise for the length of this post which is really three rolled into one! Feel free to skip over or speed read any section you wish.

This is my very first post from 15 August 2013:

“Welcome to my blog. This is a whole new adventure for me and I am excited about where it may lead. I hope you will be inclined to pop in from time to time to share my journey and offer some encouragement along the way.

Since education is my life a good deal of what I write will focus on my thoughts and ideas about education and learning. Check out my poem Education is on the “Education is” tab to see how different I believe education and schooling to be. I would love to hear the ways in which you may or may not agree with me. I am in for a bit of education myself as I explore this new world (to me) of blogging and I know there are many wonderful teachers out there ready to teach me what I need to know.

When the student is ready the teacher appears.”

I am ready.

Let the adventure begin!”

The post drew six comments (five from family and friends, one unknown from the blogosphere) and no likes.

Three years later, on 23 August 2016, I published my first readilearn blog post:

“Hi, welcome to readilearn, a new website of early childhood teaching resources.

I’m Norah Colvin, founder of readilearn and writer of all readilearn materials. I’m excited to be able to share them with you, and hope you find them useful in your early childhood classroom.

After making the decision to be a teacher at age ten, my focus has never wavered.  I have spent most of my life thinking, reading, discussing and learning about education. I have always been involved in education in some way, whether as classroom teacher, support teacher, home educator, private tutor, play group leader, or simply parent and grandparent.

I am passionate about young children and their learning.

I plan to post on this blog about once a week, usually on a Friday, but that may vary from time to time. Through the blog I will keep you updated with information about new resources I add to the site, provide teaching suggestions, and discuss topics relevant to early childhood educators. I also invite you to follow my other blog NorahColvin.com, and join in the conversation there.

I believe strongly in the value of community and our ability to learn from each other. I welcome your feedback. If there are any topics that you would especially like me to address, suggestions for improvements to existing resources, or ideas for new ones, please let me know.

In this post I will simply invite you to explore the readilearn website to see what is available. You may register for free to download a variety of free resources, or subscribe to access all resources. I am particularly excited about the range of interactive resources I have available. I hope you are too.”

The post drew comments from three lovely supporters of this blog, including both Charli and Sarah who rate a big mention in this post. Thank you, lovely ladies, for your ongoing encouragement and support without which I wouldn’t have made it through those first three years.

It then became obvious to me. Isn’t this our role as teachers – to shape, to sculpt, to mould, and to help each child shine by appreciating their uniqueness, polishing their strengths and abilities, and encouraging each to turn their best side to the world?

This thought was further confirmed by a recent comment on an older post in which Anita Ferreri said that we teachers must try to pay it forward. Yes, that’s part of it too. We shape lives, hearts, and minds, as we work to create the future we wish to see.  We pay it forward, not only for each individual, but through them to the unknown future. The ripple effect is a mighty powerful thing. Never underestimate the effect of one thought, one word, one action

So, thank you Charli, Sarah, and Anita, I am mixing up the thoughts, ideas, and challenges that your words have inspired, and (hopefully) refining them to mould something just a little artistic with both beauty and purpose. I hope you enjoy it.

The artist

They, each with a single colour, used packaged accessories to form identical sets of flat, life-less shapes. He worked by hand, collecting and incorporating their slag, as he explored the properties of his clump of multi-coloured dough. They proudly displayed neat rows of unimaginative templated shapes. With humble satisfaction, he regarded his creation with its countless possibilities. Each time they started again, they repeated the same familiar fail-safe patterns. Each time he began anew, exploring, seeking, discovering the dormant, hidden potential, sculpting to allow uniqueness to shine. They remained stuck in what is. He focused on creating the future.

Oh, I almost forgot. One of Sarah’s rules was to tag five people to carry on her #myfirstpostrevisited challenge. Um, well, I did say that rules are meant to be broken. If you have read thus far, thank you, and consider yourself tagged. If you would like to join in the blog hop and wish to do a little better at following the rules than I have, please pop over to Sarah’s post. I would love to read your first posts. Please leave a link, if you wish, or not, in the comments.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

39 thoughts on “Shaping the future #myfirstpostrevisited

  1. Sarah Brentyn

    I read this a few days ago, Norah, and wasn’t in the position to comment but here I am! Oh, I love this post. You’ve done an amazing job of weaving all these together. I’m so happy you decided to play (and, eh, rules…whatever).

    Your first posts, both on here and on Readilearn, are wonderful, welcoming posts. 🙂 They are so you. Don’t apologize for the length of this – it’s perfect. I love, so much, that your very first post includes this: “When the student is ready the teacher appears. I am ready.” Didn’t we recently talk about that? I forget the exact context but I’m sure we did. It’s so beautiful. And so true.

    Norah. You have provided so much encouragement and support for so many. I can never express how grateful I am for your support. ❤ Much love to you, lovely lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Sarah Brentyn

      Ack! Forgot to mention how much I loved “The Artist”. I can see those leftover pieces being molded by little hands into something truly unique. Breaking the mold, so to speak, and creating amazing art.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I can say no more than “Thank you, Lovely Lady” in return. You “inspired” the post, and your support has kept me going all along. I always learn so much from you. You are a lighthouse in the darkness.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Sarah Brentyn

        A lighthouse in the darkness? That’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received. Thank you, my friend. Your support means so much to me and…I really think this is becoming a S.M.A.G. moment. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  2. Pingback: Out of the Fire « Carrot Ranch Communications

  3. Charli Mills

    What an accomplishment, Norah! As a teacher, you know we have to pause and look back to appreciate how far our efforts have taken us over time. You’ve been supportive of many and it’s good to support you in return…SMAG. As a fellow scatterbrain, I know eventually the scattered pieces get connected and produce something grander than a single piece could have. Thank you for extending your classroom to our ranch. Every ranch needs a schoolhouse! I love your flash for it’s depiction of artists of any age or medium. I readily see writers in the 99 words, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your SMAG support, Charli. It’s been quite a journey, and we’ve belong alongside each other most of the way. I was thinking of many interpretations for my flash, but not necessarily writing. I’m pleased it gets a look-in too.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Hugh's Views and News

    You’ve done a marvellous job in combining these challenges into one post, Norah. The last line of your flash fiction sent a shiver up my spine. I guess, as bloggers, we are all shaping the future whenever we write and publish a new post, but I’ve never thought of it that way before. Your first post is brief, but Debby is so right in what she says about our earlier posts not getting the attention because we had little or no followers at the time. At least you kept your first post. I deleted my first post many months ago for the reasons I probably should not have done, and which Debby covered in her comments. All I can remember is that it was a post about creating lists.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Hugh. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post, but disappointed you deleted your first. I wonder if the list was entitled “#10 reasons why you shouldn’t delete blog posts” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. dgkaye

    You’ve done a wonderful job Norah, of combining both your first blog posts. It’s always fun to go back and see our growth. Most of us who’ve taken on this challenge note the lack of likes and/or comments, but realistically, that doesn’t necessarily mean our posts aren’t good enough, more like because we are new we’ve yet to gain a following. You have a wonderful gift for words and compassion. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Debby. What a beautiful comment. I appreciate your words of support. I commented on your first post over at your place. I hadn’t posted mine at that stage. Perhaps we should share them on each other’s posts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. dgkaye

        Good idea Norah. I’m waiting for those I’ve challenged to step up and I can do a recap post of those who’ve shared. I will add a partial reblog and link to yours too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  6. thecontentedcrafter

    I wish I could stay longer and give this post more time Norah, but my daughter has been here all week and this is her last day – I’m off to the airport in an hour. It’s amazing where we start and who and what we gather as we go along! WP just announced to me a few days ago I had my fourth anniversary as a blogger and out of curiosity I jumped back to look at my first post. At the time it had 0 likes and 0 comments, but some dear souls obviously took a look as they came along 🙂 It’s a wonderful thing how we gather friends and learning experiences as we go along, sharing the fun, the hard, the successes and failures. You and your blog is a highlight of my week and I love to spend some quality time reading and ruminating over your posts. The way you merge the flash with your educational philosophy and experience amazes me. Merging three posts into one is nothing short of genius! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pauline. You may not have stayed long, but you have made my week. To think you read and commented when you were about to accompany your daughter to the airport. I hope you had a wonderful week together. How long do the memories and hugs need to last? Congratulations on your four years of blogging. I haven’t known you for all of those, but in some ways I feel I have known you forever, such is our friendship. I hope you pop back to share your first post. You probably have many others dripping with pearls of wisdom that I should do myself a favour and read. Thank you for your encouragement and support. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  7. Jennie

    I love this post for many different reasons; your venture in blogging, friendships formed with fellow bloggers, approach to children and to teaching. All the ‘right stuff’, Norah.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. Steven

    You may have been lost, but it was certainly a solid finish. I particularly like the last two sentences of your fiction – I find them to be quite powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for ploughing through to the end, Steven. I was thinking of your comment about post length as I wrote and wondered how you’d go. I appreciate your reading and your lovely comment.

      Like

      Reply
  9. roughwighting

    What fun! Yes, I think we all are slag in so many parts of our life. Sounds like slag can either be a noun or a verb! And I do think that teachers help ‘slag’ students, warming them, forming them into a beautiful object open for learning their entire lives. At least that is one of the goals of good teachers. And it’s fun to share our first posts. I’ll come back and link mine later.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for linking, Pam. I left a comment over there. You were ever the one to get us thinking about things a little differently. As you started, so you continue. What a pleasant journey. I’m pleased our paths met.

          Like

          Reply
  10. robbiesinspiration

    This short story/passage was wonderful, Norah. I though it really illustrated the ingenuity and creativity of some people. A very clever way of responding to the prompt. Both your first posts were lovely but you can see you growth as a blogger in the first Readilearn post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for responding so quickly, Anita, and for sharing your first post. I have commented over there. I love the ideals expressed in your post and look forward to having time to explore your seven years of posts. I’m very pleased you joined in!

      Like

      Reply

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