Friday, November 1, 2013

MyPoPerDayMo 2013

Most reading this will have heard of NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November, and I'm thinking about it this year because my 9th grade daughter, who went off to high school and promptly joined both newspaper staff and creative writing club (*fist pump YES*), has announced that she will be writing 50,000 words this month. This is something like 1600 words a day, for a final novel similar in length to The Great Gatsby or Slaughterhouse Five.

Although Daisy allowed me to participate in plotting her novel (for which she has a pretty cool concept), there's no way I could commit to that goal myself. I have, however, twice attempted to write one poem per day for the month of November--once mostly successfully and once not at all. For many of you poetry bloggers, a poem a day is no big thing--you do it all the time as a matter of habit. But for me it requires a lot of discipline, and since my teaching life at the moment requires even more discipline, and since fundamentally I'm not a very self-disciplined person, committing to try for one PoPerDay for a month is a big deal.

I'm going to go in, inspired by Laura Shovan's novel-in-verse project, with the plan of writing all the poems from inside a classroom, which might just coincidentally be mine. I also might cheat by reusing poems I've already written since the start of the year. And if my undisciplined mind suddently writes a completely unrelated poem, I'll allow it and worry about connecting it or cutting it later. I'm pretty sure MyPoPerDayMo will be an unlovely rag of a thing, but it will be 30 poems instead of 5 or 6, and that's always worth doing, right?


The Other Kind of Toast

My mask hurt my nose.
The parade was long.
Back in the class the table was longer!
Plates with cupcakes, cookies, grapes!
But we couldn't eat yet--hands in laps.
The teacher made us toast.

"To the Fearless Frogs!" we all said.
We bumped our cups--GENTly, GENTly--
we didn't spill a drop.
"Cheers!" we said, and then we drank.
Then Angel said, "To Halloween!"
And Jashawn said, "To loose teeth!"
Camilo said, "To Ms. Friedrich's Class!"
"Salud!" "Chin-chin!" and "Prost!"
And then we got to eat.

HM Nov 2013 draft
*Fearless Frogs doesn't come close to Mighty Minnows, but it's best I can do for now/ Also please see Frederick by Leo Lionni.


  1. An ambitious plan, Heidi! I so don't understand how to write a novel in verse. Huge props for taking it on! Write what you know is what they say!:)

  2. I think I started a novel in verse once. It ended up being a long poem. It's an interesting concept that I would like to take on sometime. Good luck on yours!

  3. I'm considering doing something like that too, but no way will I post all of them. My daughter has done NaNoWriMo successfully twice. She was planning to do it this year, but probably won't because of schoolwork pressures. Good luck to your daughter!

  4. Good luck to you and Daisy both! You will certainly be glad for whatever you make, lovely or unlovely.

  5. Kudos to you Heidi! I look forward to reading what you produce. And props to your daughter for taking on NaNoWriMo - wow! I love your poem from the Kindergartener's POV, but I must confess that the line: "The teacher made us toast" still had me conjuring up warm, browned bread, despite your clarifying title. =)

  6. It sounds like an exciting time at your house, Heidi. Words, words, words will be pouring out the windows and doors! It's a good goal, & I think you will receive good support every time. Best wishes to your daughter too! The poem is sweet, that little moment in time where a child wonders 'what are we doing?' 'Why?', and perhaps will understand later. Thank you!

  7. Good luck to you, Good Luck. And I'll send some along for Daisy, too.

    **lifts mostly empty mug of now-cold tea and toasts**

    To the Verse Novel that will be born this month!

  8. I hugely admire anyone, let alone a busy teenager, that takes on the challenge of NaNowWriMo. Wow-- congratulate her for all of us adult wanna be writers that can't quite get our stuff together! I love the idea of a poem a day or a novel in verse! And I love your little guys toasting! So much fun!

  9. I don't get hives and I'm not sure what they are, but I'm pretty sure taking on such a project would result in them. You are a braver and stronger poet than I. Go forth and poetize! I look forward to hearing about your progress.

    Love the kindergarten toast poem. :)

  10. I am terribly frightened of Nanowrimo. I'm registered on the website and locally too, so I get all the emails, and I'm just stuck as to what to do about it. I did introduce it to my students (elementary gifted), but I think they are too young to commit. Or maybe their teacher is too afraid. I am giving them the option to try. We'll see how that goes. Your daughter is so brave to take it on. Congrats to her.
    I think I'll sign up for your PoPerDayMo. I am working on a novel in verse and have finished one that I am querying. This is definitely more my style. So you have at least one co-writer.

  11. You'll do it, and you'll do it masterfully! Na zdrowie! Sláinte! (That covers two of my American mutt backgrounds--Polish and Scots-Irish.)


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