Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday 6/5 Quick-Write

Today's Quick Write is courtesy of Kate Messner, the wonderful author, teacher, and co-creator of Teachers Write! summer camp.  From her blog:

Tuesday Quick-Write:
Two minute quick-write:

As a teenager, I spent the majority of my time after-school and summer mornings at the Ice Palace, a skating rink in Allentown, PA.  In this place I was free.  In this place I worked, I played, I laughed, I flew, I fell... and fell again.  But I always got back up.  I could be me.

One-minute write:

  • Everything you SEE 
hockey puck marked boards, frozen spit on the ice from the hockey players, ice like glass, black spongy flooring to protect our sharp blades, Mary hooked up to the harness with her coach trying a double axel
  • Everything you HEAR
blades cutting into the ice, crack of a clean landing, slosh, shush of spray as you hockey stop, click of my toe-pick as I flip, clunk, ring, singing blades, my breathing- becoming quick and even
  • Everything you SMELL
humid, heavy, cold air smelling of sweat and mildew and leather.  Smells like snow and winter before a storm
  • Everything you FEEL
humid, heavy cold air, warm thick fuzzy mittens, fast, racing, flying, muscles warm and strong, jumping, free, alive

Here's my re-written, more descriptive paragraph revision.

Pulling open the heavy wooden door, I lug my bag to the bench, plop down, and dig out my skates.  I see that Mary is already on the ice, strapped to the harness with her coach working out the landing on her double axel.  I lace up and step onto the black spongy, scuffed, and worn flooring leading out to the rink.  The humid, cold-heavy air hits my face as I step through the hockey puck marked boards onto the smooth glass surface.  I breathe it in, sweat, mildew, and leather, and curse under my breath at the stupid hockey players as I glide past the frozen yellow-green gobs they spit near their bench.
Rounding the corner a second time, I can feel my breathing, quick and even as my silver blades cut thin white lines in the shine below.  Their sharp edges crackle and sing as I turn, crunching my toe-pick and springing upward.   My legs, warm and strong, know exactly what to do.  I am flying, spinning, fast and free.  I am finally me.


  1. Thanks for sharing your whole process. I love seeing the changes a piece goes through...I should've thought to do that too. Your final paragraph is so descriptive, I feel like I am there with you.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read it and leave your thoughts!

  2. I also like seeing the process and think this is an excellent example to show students. If you teach MS, I think you'll get the boys hooked w/ that little element of gross imagery: "frozen yellow green gobs they spit..."

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I have two boys of my own, so I know all about the gross stuff! Haha!

  3. I, too, like the way you've shared your response. It actually helps me consider a better way to use my time. I found myself getting lost in narrative when just listing things would have made it easier to get more specifics in before the rewrite.

    1. Yes, it definitely helped me to just jot phrases down. I think setting the timer prompted that response from me. I wanted to get as much down in as I could in that short amount of time.

  4. Like the others, I enjoyed seeing the whole process of how you came to the final paragraphs. Thanks for including all of your steps.

    My daughter skated for many years and your paragraph snapped me right back into the rink. You use great descriptive words, but manage to share the place as well as some of yourself. Great work!


  5. I really liked this sentence, "Their sharp edges crackle and sing as I turn, crunching my toe-pick and springing upward"