poised on the edge of the future

Poised on the edge of the future

Every morning we wake up to a new day and step into the future. The past is gone, in memories of yesterday and soon to be forgotten. How we approach each day–with excitement, fear, anticipation, dread, joy or boredom, lulled by repetitious acceptance devoid of creativity–is our choice. We can accept the mundane or jump into the unknown, feet first.

This week Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes to the edge. Consider what the edge might be and how it informs the story. Go where the prompt leads.

I jumped straight in and wrote my 99-word response in one go. Normally I mull it over for days, struggling to find threads of meaning to tie together post and story.

Last week in response to Charli’s “boots” prompt, I wrote about Grandma’s sparkly storytelling boots. I was pleased so many of you confirmed it was a great idea for a story. I had already decided to work on it and submit it to my critique group this week. You could say, I jumped into that abyss–boots first. Wearing grandma’s sparkly boots, I’m sure to fly.

It’s funny when you write a post that connects with people in unexpected ways. I was surprised, delighted, honoured and extremely grateful this week when three of my favourite bloggers, whose work I admire shared my post on their blogs:

Jennie Fitzkee–an inspiring early childhood teacher who, like me, expounds the benefits of respect for children, story reading and telling–blogs at A Teacher’s Reflections. If you haven’t visited her blog yet, I recommend you do. Every post delights.

Dayne Sislen–an illustrator of children’s picture books who shares information about illustrating books and also writes about the importance of reading to children–blogs at Dayne Sislen Illustration. Her love of children’s picture books and illustration is obvious. In her post last week How to extend the attention span of your children, Dayne discussed the importance of reading to children. It was a wonderful match for mine about storytelling. You can find out more about Dayne on her blog or website.

Charles French–who I came to know through Jennie reposting his series of inspiring quotes–blogs at Charles French Words Reading and Writing. How delightful to know that he also enjoyed my post enough to share with his readers. This is just one of his posts of quotations that spoke to me: Quotations on teaching. 😊 I suggest you pop over to visit Charles as well to share in his words of wisdom.

children hold hands going into the future

Those of you who write YA or adults novels, memoir or non-fiction, may wonder what we early childhood teachers and writers and illustrators of children’s picture books have that could be of interest to you. Let me tell you, we have everything. We have the key. We are the ones who create the readers of tomorrow, the future readers of your books. We turn the children onto reading as we take their hands and lead them to the edge of tomorrow when they leap into the unknown worlds of books.

In case you haven’t yet read my response to Charli’s “edge” prompt, this is it. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with my previous statement but starting anything new can push us to the edge and we don’t really know just what will happen until we give it a try. I wish you all many joyous flights.

The edge

She stood at the edge of the abyss and wondered what would happen should she jump – would she fly, or would she plummet to the bottom and rest, fractured and alone, forgotten and abandoned, with all the others who dared to try but failed. It was fear that held her back, chained her to the ledge. But there was nowhere else to go. She’d tried all other paths. This was all that remained. Could she stay there forever. Would there be a point? What if she fell? But what if she flew? She inhaled, closed her eyes, and jumped…

Thank you blog post

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

47 thoughts on “Poised on the edge of the future

  1. Hugh's Views and News

    Ah, indeed, Norah. What if she flew? ‘Never leave this world wishing you had not tried something which could have opened the door to a new world of possibilities.’ You flash fiction is inspirational to anyone who finds themselves hesitating. Fear of the unknown is one of my biggest regrets. However, I don’t think I’m alone.

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  2. reocochran

    Beautiful message, Norah. My good friend who also taught primary grades while I was a special needs preschool teacher, agreed with me that the world of teaching should include a week of switching age groups. Learning from those handling older youths and learning from those who teach the younger ones can bring true growth in teaching and responsibilities. xo 💖

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Robin. For a lot of teachers, swapping age groups would seem like being on the edge. We tend to find our comfort zone and stay there. To step out of it occasionally would be a great challenge.

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            1. Norah Post author

              That sounds like a plan, Robin. And I like your idea for an open space to encourage open minds. My year ones were buddies with year fives and we got together for a session each week or two (can’t remember which). That worked really well. We got to work with another age group in a very friendly and non-threatening situation. Games in an open space would work well. too.

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              1. reocochran

                I like all the ways you connected the two age groups, Nora! 💡🏮
                I’m sure the older ones enjoyed being “leaders” or big siblings while the little ones looked up to those older ones. 📖📚 Smiles, Robin

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  3. Annecdotist

    There’s too much devaluing of those who work with children. Not only are they our future readers, they’re our future politicians etc.
    I’m more anxious than many about your character making a leap into the unknown. But if she’s exhausted all the safer options …

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    1. Norah Post author

      You’re right, Anne. They’re our future everything – including carers! We’d better treat them well, if that’s how we want to be treated. 🙂
      I think my character is a little anxious too – most of the time – then she gets a little foolhardy, but only briefly.

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  4. Pingback: On the Edge « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  5. Charli Mills

    I get the feeling you are wearing those sparkle boots! I’m so pleased you took the leap because you have been building up towards it. I also sense a shift in how you are viewing your own role among the spectrum of storytellers (educators, authors, illustrators, readers). I find your passage about the key early childhood educators, writers and illustrators provide to be a powerful statement. And congratulations on having your post shared. Well done, Norah!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Awh. Thanks for all your kind words, Charli. I dream of wearing those sparkly boots.
      Hmm, it’s interesting you see a potential shift. D. Avery mentioned something similar. I’m not sure there’s a shift to anything other than frustration and disillusion at the moment. Maybe that is a sign that things need to change. Perhaps you’re perceiving in my words what I’m not yet.
      Anyway, pleased you like my statement about early educators, be they teachers, writers or illustrators. I did write it from a strong conviction.

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  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    I “liked” this in the wee hours this morning but wanted to comment when I was more rested and ready. Now it is the end of a day and I am exhausted. Too bad, you deserve coherence. And; I know at the ranch the Kid and Pal gave you guff for jumping right in this week, but that leap and the flash are both impressive. I sense a growing boldness. (Supermoon- and summer in your neck of the woods- have you been moon bathing? Nothing would surprise me)
    I am glad your character leapt, and is flying I am sure. Because in your flash it didn’t sound so great worrying and wondering at the top of the ledge either. And your flash has of course everything to do with education, for even beyond starting children on the path of literature, educators (in and out of school) encourage but do not enable, support but do not hold, raise but do not carry, that our students are willing and able to take a risk in their learning and enjoy the results, even as they learn to learn from the stumbles and failures along the way. Flight takes height, and you, Norah, you are way up there.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi D., Thank you for reading and coming back a second time to read again and share your lovely thoughts. The Kid and Pal did give me guff, but I didn’t mind. I quite enjoyed it. 🙂 It’s a bit of an honour to have them respond.
      I would like to have been moonbathing under the super blue blood moon last night, but we had total cloud cover and rain so didn’t see a thing. Today is still cloudy so may not see much of the super moon yet again.
      A growing boldness? That’s interesting. Generally, I try to be gentle, but other times I’ve just got to put it out there. I think it may have come more from frustration than boldness, rashness rather than bravery.
      As for your statement about education – I agree. We all learn from those stumbles and failures, then we fly when we find the way!
      Thank you for such a considered response and your kind endorsement and encouragement. You’ve made my day.

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  7. thecontentedcrafter

    Well done on all the re-posts – it is a great compliment I think when other bloggers share your posts! And your 99 words captured that indecision – that fear well. A real hero is always the one who feels the fear and acts despite it.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pauline. It is a lovely compliment when others share the posts. It is also a lovely compliment when people read and share their thoughts and experiences in the comments. I always appreciate it that people take the time to do so. I never take it for granted.
      Thank you for you kind words about my flash. I appreciate your definition of a hero. 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Dayne. I’m pleased you liked my hasty response to the challenge.
      It was my pleasure to mention your blog. I’m so pleased you picked up some subscribers. I can’t always tell where they come from – only if they tell me. 🙂
      I agree with you about the needing to stick together – it takes a village to raise a child. Our futures are all influenced by the children who grow up – we can’t leave it to chance, or to others – we may not like what we get. 🙂

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  8. Jennie

    Wonderful post, Norah. Three cheers to teachers and writers who take children to new heights. I’m honored to be included among Charles and Dayne and you, and of course others. Like the girl in Poised on the Edge of the Future (excellent story), I would jump off that cliff with heart and soul. I think the children we teach would do the same.

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  9. TanGental

    You can wonder at your protagonist and her motivation. Is she driven by fear or shame despair or hope. She tried all other paths. But then maybe she is able to fly and it is a reluctance to believe and trust that anchors her to the spot. Nicely done Norah

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for pondering the motivations of my protagonist. Maybe they are a combination of all you describe. Life’s decisions can be complex. Thanks for reading and commenting, Geoff.

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