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Has It Been A Decade Already?

Last week, the Voice from the Bullpen offered tips in escaping the real world for a respite, when it seems like the walls are closing in on us. Basically, the suggestions were things that people enjoyed doing allowing the enjoyment of that help us take a step back and heed the title of a Jimmy Buffett song, “Breathe, In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

One suggestion mentioned in last week’s piece, as an outlet for stress relief was writing, something, I hope is obvious, I enjoy doing very much.

For years, pre-retirement, I enjoyed writing. I very much enjoyed teaching it to students, much to their dismay at times, as many projects, assignments, even quiet time activities, included some kind of writing piece requirements attached to them.

Our daily homeroom routine included journal entries, basically anything students wished to write. I allowed them to boast, opinionate, complain, suggest, whatever, if done respectfully and not include aspects of meanness, superiority, or judgments toward others. I also assured students their journal would be kept confidential.

Our annual wax museum project included an essay on the person students were impersonating. Other Social Studies assignments and projects included writing pieces, some required, some, as a choice of projects students could opt to do at the end of chapters or units.

Our annual Outdoor Education Experience included an activity of sitting alone and using only the senses seeing, hearing, smelling, (we discouraged tasting, and just sitting there, touching was limited) to appreciate nature. Sitting there, they had the option of writing (essay, poem, journal entry) an interpretation of their hour, or drawing a color picture of their experience with nature. Either option was then shared with the entire group, discussing how some who had the same angles and looked at the same things, experienced different interpretations in their eyes and minds.

English Language Arts included writing fairy Tales told from different characters’ perspectives. We did annual poetry units which included writing and illustrating haikus (three lines; 5-7-5 syllables), limericks (based on rhyme and rhythm), concretes (poems written in the shape of their topic), septone poems (7 lines based on the number of syllables as per students’ personal phone numbers), free style rhyming poems, and free style non-rhyming poems. The poems were put together in books with students creating the cover.

We wrote personal and business letters the old-fashioned way. We hand wrote them using the appropriate components of letters (headings, inside addresses, salutations, bodies, complimentary closings, signatures), and also practiced addressing envelopes for those letters.

Teaching writing was motivating for me, probably because I enjoyed doing it so much. I remember enjoying writing assignments in school. I was a regular in the Readers’ Forum of The Post-Journal, using writing to express my opinions. I wrote a few pieces during my career with a couple educational magazines, and coaching digests.

I think writing helped me personally too. I was always someone who talked first and thought about it afterward. Writing gave me the chance to write things down, look at what I wrote and polish it up, before saying something and regretting it later.

When I retired, Sally encouraged me to sit down and write a book. With her encouragement I was able to pen two books and a coach’s manual.

About a year post-retirement, and recalling my longtime weekly reading of pieces authored by people who just liked to share their thoughts and past, I contacted The Post-Journal’s Cristie Herbst, and offered my services if they ever wanted someone else to be a part of this forum. Ms. Herbst got right back to me and 10 years ago Friday, the Voice from the Bullpen debuted in this periodical. It’s been a blast for me, getting to share my thoughts, some suggestions, my past, my family, my growing up here, some trivia, and things about which I’m passionate.

Can’t believe it’s been a decade. I’ve been blessed to have been able to take this great ride for 10 years. I hope it continues for many more years to come.

Thanks much, Post-Journal, and all you loyal readers of “The Bullpen.” I Appreciate it.

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