First Time / Last Time

As I head toward the last 10 days of this writing challenge, I feel I need to lean on a prompt to get me started. Thinking back to the first time I really learned how to write, it was 2009. I was at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Summer Writing Institute. I sat in the first row of the Columbia Auditorium (with Marilyn next to me) and Mary Ehrenworth taught us and 2000 teachers around us to write. Our first prompt was simple: jot down people, places, and objects and a small moment related to it. Pick one moment and write it. On a different day, the prompt was to think of the first time or last time and write that moment. Looking back at many of my slices across the almost seven years of completing this challenge, I realize I often write First Time and Last Time moments.

First Time slices include sharing my excitement over trying something for the first time. Most recently, Mo Willem’s Lunch Doodle falls into this category. So does helping with the play this year and the recent PD day at school and the author visits. And of course, ALL my slices about travel. Visiting a new place is an adventure and writing about it flows easily onto the wordpress blog screen.

Last Time slices include my rituals. Doing this challenge is now a ritual and writing about the routine has me reflect by recalling all the last times. The same goes for reflections on springtime and birthdays and holiday meals. Some Last Times are sad, like the ones reflecting on those people no longer around. Like my neighbor, who passed away after a long battle with cancer. Like my friend from church, who passed away from a battle with Alzheimers. And my dad, who suddenly passed away of a heart attack on my 25th birthday.

Prompts, like First Time and Last Time, can spark a new piece of writing. Or like today, a prompt can help me reflect on the 389 published posts I’ve made so far on this wordpress blog. I realize all are about moments related to people, places and objects, some relating to First Times and Last Times. All are moments important to me and that’s why I call myself a writer! Thanks for reading today, my 390th post.

16 thoughts on “First Time / Last Time

  1. Anita Ferreri says:

    THanks for the reminder. I haven’t done any of the prompts I save for the hard days of this challenge! These are my favorites!


  2. Tim Gels says:

    Congratulations on 390! I like the idea of this First Time / Last Time writing prompt and look forward to trying it out and sharing it with students. I’m intrigued by how each side of the coin will turn out. I imagine most FT writing will be about positive or happy topics, and most LT will be a bit more somber. We’ll see. Thanks for sharing this!


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Wow! I hadn’t thought about it that way. Thanks for doing the math for me!! I actually read a few of my first posts today and I will admit that writing gets better by spending time writing !!


  3. Suzanne Richardson says:

    I love the idea of first time/last time; I will have to borrow that for one of my slices. Amazing that you are at post 390, and so interesting that you have spent so much time with TCRWP!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. edifiedlistener says:

    390 is quite a milestone! and 400 before the end of the month – applause worthy. I like the idea of using prompts to get started. I may try a first time/last time post before we check out.


  5. MegMcCormick says:

    390 is super impressive! You are a rockstar!! I like the way you outlined your first times and last times, and I enjoy the bolding of the words. You inspired my slice today- thank you!


  6. margaretsmn says:

    I feel somehow I cheated by starting late. And with the more time I have to write comes the same ole fear of having nothing to say. Argh! Let’s knock that critic right out of the park. You go girl! Keep on writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rita K. says:

    What a great idea. Thanks for sharing this. Lucky you, attending Columbia’s Writing Workshop. My daughter attended the Reading one this summer. She loved it and I was very jealous! Stay well.


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      TCRWP is my happy place. I had a train to NYC to attend their Reunion Sat today but then a virus happened:(
      So glad your daughter got to attend an institute! A week with what I consider the smartest literacy leaders on the planet!!


  8. Ms Victor Reads says:

    390, wow, congratulations!
    It’s funny to read here the advice I give and do not take. I tell my students that first and last times make great choices, but I’m thinking of my own slices I do not often use this. I love the way you have reflected on the patterns you notice in your writing.
    You area writer for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

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