Slice of Life: Life is Short

Every teacher knows the week before school starts is one of the busiest of the year; a week that leaves little time for reflective, thoughtful writing. I’ve decided that working through some of the mentor texts in Linda Rief’s The Quickwrite Handbook is a realistic option to keep me writing during these first few weeks of school.

This week, Linda’s suggestion to borrow the phrase “Life is short…” from Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones,” appealed to me. Here is my response:

Life is short, so on the last Sunday of August, the day before school started, when I still had piles of books I wanted to read and at least one poem I wanted to write, I drove for half an hour to meet my friend.

Life is short, so we met at a place where we could walk in the sunshine of a late summer morning through a field still wet with dew and bedecked with the lacy offerings of a thousand spiders and talk about our busy week, our busy children, our busy lives.

Life is short, so even though there was laundry to sort and rooms to vacuum, we drove to a diner where we drank hot coffee and ate fluffy eggs and ignored the hustle and bustle around us and talked some more and worked on the crossword puzzle, just like we used to when she lived down the street, enjoying the easy comfort of our long friendship, a friendship that makes this life beautiful.

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDeb, KelseyMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

8 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Life is Short

  1. Love these words – “…enjoying the easy comfort of our long friendship…” I may have to buy this book for myself (even though I’m retired). I used 100 Quickwrites all the time in my 6th grade classroom. I love how you’re using the book to keep writing even during this extremely busy time.

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  2. Lovely… even though retired now, it applies. Who knew retirement would be so busy? But good busy, so not to complain! Thanks for these thoughts, and good luck with your busy year.

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  3. This is such a lovely and timely slice, Catherine. I’m so glad you heeded the call to slow down and savour. I love the repetition of the phrase “Life is short so…” –it’s so powerful. Good luck with the beginning of the school year!

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  4. Catherine, I meant to write a reply to your poem a month ago, but, as you know, “life is short” and I was trying to do so many things before that first day of school. For the next ten months we have added 100 new kids into our lives. They sit in our heads and hearts along with everything else we try to balance. But your words tell us– no matter what– we must slow down, notice the world around us, and take the time to be with those that matter. Coffee with a friend. Shuffling slowly through fallen leaves to hear the rustle. Looking up at the October sky laced with the red and orange leaves of fall. Thank you. Keep writing. Still hoping I will see a collection of your poems in publication.


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