Serein

Here is a new word for me: serein.
When I first saw it, I thought it might have something to do with serenity and that intrigued me.  Instead, it is has to do with rain and to me, that is equally intriguing!  I love rain and all things that go along with it.
Some of my favorite words or ideas are thunderstorms, drizzle, downpour, getting caught in the rain, splashing in puddles, and the sounds that rain makes when it hits a rooftop. “Serein” fits nicely into this list.

~Melissa


See below for more about the word.  How beautiful and poetic is its meaning?  I think I will try to include this word in something I write soon.  I love it!
from: A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

serein

PRONUNCIATION:

(suh-RAN [the second syllable is nasal])  

MEANING:

noun: Fine rain falling from an apparently cloudless sky, typically observed after sunset. 

ETYMOLOGY:

From French serein, from Old French serain (evening), from Latin serum (evening), from serus (late). 

USAGE:

“She must have caught a chill from the serein, that’s all!”
Raphael Confiant; Mamzelle Dragonfly; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2000

A Conversation – Overheard

-I thought you were all about the “big picture,” the “meant to be,” and the “everything happens for a reason.”

– I was.  But, it’s different now.  I feel different now.

– Why?  What’s so different about now?

– He hurt me more than I realized.

– And, so now you think about it differently?

– Yes.  I think so.

– So, what’s so different?

–  It just isn’t getting any easier.  The pain isn’t going away and it actually hurts more each day.  I don’t think I knew what I was saying before, but it is all starting to sink in now.  It is much worse than I realized. He hurt me more than I knew at first, and more than I let myself admit.  I protected him and defended everything he ever did and never put myself first. 

– I’m so sorry.

– Don’t be. It isn’t your fault.

– I know, but still – I feel bad for you.

– That’s exactly it, though.  Please don’t feel bad for me.  It isn’t helping.  I feel bad enough.

– Wait, so you don’t believe in all that destiny stuff anymore?  That’s such a big part of who you are.

– Nope.  I guess not.

– He’s a jerk.

– I know.

What if our love…

What if our love never went away?
What if it’s lost behind words we could never find?

-Daughtry (What About Now)

I really like the song “What About Now” by Daughtry.  Actually, the entire album, Daughtry, has songs with great lyrics.  They’re so poetic and romantic.  I was in the car earlier today when this song came on the radio.  I’ve listened to it a bunch of times before, but today was the first time I really heard these two lines.  I kept repeating them over and over to myself and thought that they were interesting.  

I love words, of course, but to think that we can lose things (and especially something as significant as love) because of the words we don’t say (or find things because of words we do say) is a pretty powerful idea.  It makes me wonder about all the things we don’t know or have because some words don’t translate from one language to another, or we never had the chance to share our words, or we just don’t know which words to use.  It makes me think about how the different words that we each know shape our lives.  Powerful, powerful.

I also really love the pure, pleading, vulnerability of these lines.  I tried to search a little to see who wrote the song lyrics, but didn’t find anything yet.  If anyone knows who wrote them, let me know!

~Melissa 🙂

“Remember there’s no such thing…”

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
– Scott Adams 

Random Act of Kindness and Gratitude #5 – This act is something that my mother does, but I only recently learned about.  Many people clip coupons, but not all of us do.  There is a lot of money that can be saved using coupons, but it is a time consuming process of sorting through them and cutting them out, (or finding them online and printing them out) keeping them organized and then remembering to use them when you are in the store.  My mother is actually quite good at it.  She collects coupons each week to take to the grocery store with her and has gotten the system down to a science.  Since most coupons have an expiration date, that also has to be accounted for in the process because sometimes the coupon is not needed to be used before it expires.  

What my mother does if she has a coupon that is not yet expired, but probably will expire before the next time she goes shopping, is find the item in the store and leave the still good coupon on top of it.  For example, if she has a coupon for peanut butter, but does not need to buy it herself, she finds the peanut butter that matches the coupon, and puts the coupon on the item so that someone who is coming to buy the peanut butter will find the coupon and be able to benefit from it!  

Apparently she has been doing this for a while, but I only just learned about it.  It doesn’t take very long to do, but it may help out someone else and give them a pleasant surprise while they are doing their grocery shopping.  I was so proud when I learned about my mother doing this random act of kindness that I wanted to share it and suggest it to all of you.

Again, this idea is an easy idea that requires no money and very little effort.  We can do things like this in any (clothing, home improvement, pharmacy, etc.) store that sends out or offers a coupon.  Before you throw away a coupon that you don’t need, stop and see if you can leave it for someone else to use.

*****************************************************

On a similar note, today’s Word of the Day from dictionary.com was beneficence.  So, feelings of kindness and charity are already in the air…

Happy Sunday.  ~Melissa 🙂

Teaching the Personal Narrative

In the beginning of the school year, we always begin with teaching the students to write about their own lives.  (They are the experts, after all!)  I have taught units before where students write a small vignette (which I always feel is similar to a prose poem – and actually kind of difficult for middle schoolers to do well) and units where they write an autobiography covering their entire (or most of their) life up to that moment.  They are two very different types of writing!  This year, our piece is a personal narrative, so I think that it falls somewhere between the two genres that I have taught before.  It is not as event-centered as a full autobiography, but is more like traditional prose writing than the vignette.  The samples of my own writing that I have used in the past aren’t quite what I want to model for my students this year.  I’m hoping that they will choose one or two aspects from their life to write in great detail about.  So, it is back to the drawing board (or back to the notebook!) for me.

I started writing a new piece today that I will model for my students.  I began, of course, with the first stage of the writing process (prewriting) and brainstormed what I could possibly write about.  I used listing, stream of consciousness (which to them I just call “writing what you are thinking”), and outlining in my prewriting stage.  I came up right away with what I would write about.  (See, following the process works!)

I continued on to the second stage (drafting) and quickly became aggravated at myself for “telling” a lot of the story rather than “showing” it.  As I was drafting, I kept trying to “show” but it was much easier and faster for me to “tell” instead.  So, I gave in and got a lot of the narrative written out – though I was very unhappy with the quality of the writing.  Then, I realized that this was actually a good thing because I can use this to model for my students how to truly utilize the next stage of the process (revising) and how sometimes it is “radical surgery.”  

Next, I will go back and rewrite all of the “telling” so that it is actually “showing” in a new draft and will make the narrative much more like what it is supposed to be.  This first draft (though not the type of writing I ultimately want my piece to be) is really important in the process because it is taking me to the next step.  I didn’t set out to have these things happen in the piece that I will model for my students, but I am very glad that they did!  

Today is Day 9 of my 1,000 Word Pledge, and I have been at 1,000+ words each day.  It does feel really good to keep track of the progress.  This was a good idea.  How is everyone else doing?

~Melissa 🙂

“Feeling gratitude…”

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”  

William Arthur Ward

Being grateful for what is good about our lives is an important thing we can each do for ourselves.  It helps makes anything that is not-so-good-at-the-moment easier to deal with, and keeps us in a proper perspective so we can focus on all of the things that are amazing-at-the-moment!

I think it was Oprah Winfrey, a few years ago, that advocated a “gratitude journal” because she believed that expressing our appreciation adds to and intensifies the appreciation and gratefulness for all of the little things in our lives that we might otherwise overlook.  I (of course!) also advocate keeping a journal or notebook and using it, in part, for this reason.  It is a great place to jot down notes to yourself about the wonderful things in your life, including things that people have done for or said to you, and just list all that you have to appreciate about your life.  (Hopefully this takes you a while to do…)

Now, while I do believe that journals are a fabulous place for these thoughts of gratitude, expressing the actual gratitude to the people who have done or said something nice to you or have in some way given you something to be grateful for is much more important.

So, take a moment and reflect on the things that you have to be grateful for and wrote about in your journal.  Then, look at those things and if there is a person responsible for even one of them, take a moment to write a note of “thanks”, send a small gift or some flowers, or pick up the phone and thank them for it personally.  They may not realize that what they said or did had the impact on you that it has.  Share the gratitude.

This will be our (not so) Random Act of Kindness and Gratitude #3.

Thank you for reading!

~Melissa 🙂

PS…I came across this blog today and thought I would share it with all of you: http://gratitudecollections.blogspot.com/.

1,000 Word Pledge Update – Day 6 and Challenge!

I have to say that this has been a really good decision on my part to listen to the advice of others!  (Pat on the back for me.)  

And, I would like to extend the challenge of the 1,000 Word Pledge to anyone else who wants to finish something that they are working on.  Your own pledge doesn’t have to be 1,000 words (it could be any amount you choose or even a page count rather than a word count), but it has to be something that pushes you a little further than you have pushed yourself before.  

Today I wrote over 1,000 words just for the novel (which is now at a total of 13,260 words).  Yesterday, my total word count was 1123 words (over a few projects).

Think about it and if you decide to take the challenge, leave a comment abut what you are doing.

Happy writing!

~Melissa 🙂