Slice Of Life Story Challenge March 26 - Alphabet of Life



The Alphabet of Life





Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who sadly died in recent days wrote a book titled, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. In the book Amy made a conscious decision to write about events in her life in the form of an alphabetical existence. Today my slice is influenced by this idea.


It goes like this. You may have more than one entry for each letter. It is entirely up to you, the writer. The main thing is that entries are in alphabetical order. It’s a good strategy for getting student writers to think and generate words and ideas connected to their lives. Here’s how it panned out today.






Alvin Riot
Is a pen name I sometimes use when writing poetry. It came into existence from people misspelling and mishearing my real name.
Anagram
Halting war is an anagram for my real name, Alan Wright. I quite like that idea. Conflict is so debilitating.
Anxious
I get very anxious if I am late for an appointment. I have always felt much more relaxed if I can arrive on time for an occasion. I believe it’s good manners not to keep people waiting.
Butterflies
I have always had an interest in the Monarch butterfly. In Australia we often refer to it as ‘The Wanderer Butterfly’. Its life cycle and its ability to travel great distances intrigue me greatly. It is attracted to certain plants such as Buddleia (Butterfly bush) and swan plants. It took me many years to coax them into my garden, but my patience was rewarded when one April they magically appeared.
Commercials
Why is it that when a commercial appears on the television the sound suddenly increases to a level similar to a chainsaw? It astounds me that television networks continue to deny they do anything to the sound levels and yet Ezy –Off Bam! Always blares into the room at an irritating level.
Doughnuts
I never eat doughnuts. I did once many years ago, but not anymore. I recall how there used to be a doughnut van directly outside the MCG and people would buy a bag of doughnuts as they were leaving the game. On one occasion I decided to try some. They felt hot inside the bag, so I carefully removed one and took a tentative bite. The sugar on the outside offered a sweet and inviting entre. I bit further in and suddenly strawberry jam spilled out like burning lava, scolding my lips, my mouth and making my tongue feel like it had been touched by a soldering iron. I danced, I yelled and I spat that molten hot doughnut out as fast as I possibly could.


As a variation you could invite students to select a section of the alphabet as their starting point and see if they can generate responses from that point forward. Maybe –OPQR or LMNO or possibly RSTU. You get the idea. More experienced writers may embrace the entire alphabet, 

Comments

  1. I loved Amy's book when I read it - the unexpected structure and learning about Amy. Your start for your alphabetical memoir is fascinating.

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    1. Glad you like this entry Terje. Like you I'm grateful to Amy for her inspiration and ideas.

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  2. I love this idea. I think that student writers (and all writers) can really hang their hats on this structure. Great idea.

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    1. I agree there is much here in this strategy that all writers could find helpful when exploring possibilities.

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  3. I've read Amy's book, and I, too, was intrigued. I like the start to your alphabetical memoir. I know you had a really awful donut experience, but I think you should try them again. They are scrumptious!! :)

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    1. By the way...love the new blog look! :)

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    2. Thanks for the feedback on the blog changes. I'm pleased too. It's good to refresh. Jennifer, I'm afraid I can't be swayed on doughnuts.

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  4. Thank you for sharing Amy's work and this idea. I plan to buy this book as a present for myself at the end of the challenge!!

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    1. That's a great idea Kathleen. You'll love it, I'm sure.

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  5. I think this is a terrific idea for me and my students. One more week of this challenge for them, do they really think they can stop writing now??

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    1. Hopefully they are falling under the spell of this sweetest of addictions Teri. This writing strategy will help maintain the energy.

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  6. I can only echo what the other commentors have said today, and I enjoyed reading about you through the alphabet. Now you've captured my curiosity...I will have to get Amy's book. Thanks for the inspiration today for a new format...for us.

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    1. I'm pleased that you have resolved to take action based on seeing Amy's idea in action Barbara.

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  7. Amy's book is a treasure, she had the gift for writing in the most unexpected and imaginative ways. Thanks for reminding me that one way to honor her memory in our writing classrooms is to work with this idea.

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    1. You are right about Amy's legacy Tara. I enjoyed writing in this way and thus paying tribute to her thinking around writing.

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  8. I have not seen this book of Amy's so I am glad you used it to write today. I really like this idea. I also like the change in the look of your blog. It surprised me.

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    1. Thanks for the blog feedback Joanne. I'm glad it surprised you. I too am liking it after adjusting to the look. I'm also pleased you liked this post using Amy's prompt.

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  9. I love that you used Amy's book as your own mentor text, Alan. I used it a lot with my students, thought it spoke to them and supported the parts of their lives they thought probably weren't worth recording. FYI - all doughnuts do not have jam inside!

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    1. Thanks Linda. It's too good not to share in my opinion. No one should ever get stuck for writing ideas with such a feast of possibilities. I use the jam filled doughnut story to remind me to avoid any form of these sugary creations.

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  10. I love Amy's book and this blog post is wonderful! I may write a post like this one. Inspiring! Thank you!

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    1. I'm pleased that using Amy's strategy has fired up possibilities for your writing too Michelle. As you know, writers share.

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  11. I love mentor texts! Amy's...and now yours.

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  12. We all need mentors and we need to gather their texts around us Diane. They help us to aspire towards more powerful writing. Best wishes.

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