National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) stands tiptoe at my door.  It’s a wild month of writing 50,000 words in 30 days and hoping at least 25,000 250 25 of them are good words.

Usually a plot idea strikes me or comes to me in a dream a couple of days before November 1st arrives.  This year?


No ideas.

No dreams.


So I’m affectionately calling this year NoIdWhToWriAb.  Rolls right off the tongue, right?  It stands for No Idea What To Write About and I’m fully embracing the sheer terror of just sitting down at my computer come November 1st and starting to type, hoping that my fingers will transcribe an idea to my brain.

Questions are jostling around in my brain.  There’s the big one.  What on earth am I going to write about?  Insert your suggestions here: _______________________________________________________________________________

Perhaps I could cobble together a novel sort of Mad Libs style wherein you give me stuff and I mash it all together into sentences that kind of make sense.

Will I finally be able to kill off a character this year?  Probably not.  I like them all too much.  Even the jerks.

Will I actually write the ending to the book within those 50,000 words?  Probably not.  Let’s face it, there are times when somebody just has to die and I just can’t seem to make it happen.  Thus I have an unhealthy stack of unfinished novels and undead characters.

Will I ever develop a taste for adverbs?  No.  Meaty verbs always clobber them and I like it that way.

With 1,666 words a day vying for my time, will the laundry get done?  That’s a good one.  Does it ever?  I may be venturing into an unhealthy definition of ‘clean clothes’.

Will I beat my friend Ed?  Yes, my word count will make his word count weep.  Sure he’s already got an idea and everything, but what I lack in ideas, I make up for in blind confidence.  Sorry, Ed, but you’re going down.

And finally, what songs should I add to my writing playlist this year?  Tell me your favorites.  Maybe your song will be just the thing that inspires my magnum opus.  No pressure or anything.

To my fellow Wrimos, happy writing!  And yes, that shirt’s clean enough.  Set down the laundry basket and pick up your pen.

10,000 Percent

Dear Little One,

You aren’t easy to teach.  You’re headstrong.  And opinionated.  And passionate.  And hilarious.  Nobody makes me laugh like you do.  I love you for all of those qualities.

Last week, when we were writing for the National Day on Writing, you gave me a peek at your softer side-a side you usually keep safely hidden.  We sat in the quiet of the library ruminating on this sentence stem:

I write because…

Other kids wrote about how fun writing is, how great it is to write with friends or how much joy they find in making up stories and writing the pictures.

Little one, your response brought tears to my eyes.

“I write because I like writing love notes to my big brother in the Navy.  He is 20 years old and I love him 10,000%!!!”

I hung all the responses in the hallway and when I showed your paper to your mom, she teared up and rested her head on my shoulder for a brief moment.

What I want to say to you, Little One, is that I love to teach writing because it births moments like that where love is spelled out so clearly in blocky first grade handwriting.  The other thing I want to say to you is that I hope you continue to be brave enough to give voice to that softer side of yourself, to let that meek voice speak as clearly as your voice that keeps me in stitches with laughter.  That still, small voice is just as important.

Loving you 10,000%,

Mrs. McCauley

Dear Lance Armstrong,

Dear Lance Armstrong,

You’ve been quoted recently saying you’ve had a bit of a rough week.  I’ll say.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to add to it.  Am I glad all the doping in the cycling world is coming to light?  Yes, yes I am.  I love the sport of cycling and I look forward to the day when I can love it for its purity.

I’ve read a lot of articles on you this week, Lance, and a singular thought keeps rising to the surface: Thank God I’m not famous.  I’m profoundly grateful I don’t live a life where my mistakes are broadcast to the world, where the publicity of those mistakes negates any good I’ve done.

Whether you doped or not, whether you lied about it or not, whether or not you deserve your Tour de France wins or not-frankly I’m not interested in being the judge on any of those fronts.  Judgement doesn’t birth healing.  Truth does.  I can’t attest to what the truth is in any of those situations, but this is a truth I know: LiveStrong has helped many of my loved ones who have battled the beast of cancer.  For that I’ll always be grateful.

It appears that you’ve hit bottom, although you said yourself last week that you’ve had worse days.  So perhaps this isn’t rock bottom, but I think it may be close.

I like what Anne LaMott has to say about grace and mercy.  “Mercy is that we don’t get what we deserve. Grace is that we get what we so don’t deserve.”  I wish you measures of mercy and grace this week because if I were in your shoes, mercy and grace are the things that would make me take a step in the right direction.

You’ve got a great opportunity to decide what’s next in your life and, frankly, I hope you’re looking up because watching you climb has always been exhilarating.

Kind regards,


Thankful Thursday #79

This week I’m thankful for…

  • cherry flavored soda
  • Siri
  • cheeseburgers on pretzel buns
  • pumpkin shaped candy corn
  • walks with Jack the dog
  • my husband, who holds me until I fall asleep
  • The Writing Project
  • the fact that in one more day I will no longer be master teacher to a student teacher.  Seriously, I shouldn’t mentor anyone.  Ever. Again.
  • my teacher friends who have taken a sworn oath to repeatedly punch me in the neck if I ever take on another student teacher
  • pink carnations from my little ones on Think Pink Day
  • writing with my little ones who constantly surprise me with their wordplay