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Thursday Paragraph: Fall

First:  An explanation: 

In high school, my senior English teacher was a guy named Bruce (we called him by his first name – I went to a pretty progressive high school).  I just Googled him and learned that he is now a well-published poet and a professor.  He was an amazing teacher, and I was lucky to have him.  What I remember most about his class was that every week, he had us write and bring to class a Thursday Paragraph.  Your Thursday Paragraph could be (and usually was) scribbled out just before class or be the product of long deliberation the week before.  It was one paragraph – not longer than a hand-written notebook page – and could be on any topic of your choosing.  Bruce would read our paragraphs aloud for the first 15 minutes of class, and although I was shy, I remember the pride I felt in having my words read aloud.  I remember how much I learned about my writing from the instant feedback of the facial expressions and grunts and short comments from Bruce and the other students in the room.  If you felt like your paragraph wasn’t anything special this week, it was OK, because everyone knew that you scribbled it out just before class.  No pressure.

I’m going to try to bring back the Thursday paragraph for myself.  One of the things I struggle with on my blog is keeping my posts short and concise.  (Science is complicated, so this can be hard).  So on Thursdays, I promise you a short post – no longer than a paragraph.  It will be my exercise in brevity.  One thing that has been really rewarding about blogging is the immediate feedback I get on my posts – much of it from friends that go back to those high school days.  Any of you want to join me in writing Thursday Paragraphs?

And after I post this – I think I’ll shoot Bruce an email and let him know that he continues to inspire me.  There is an author picture of him online with a little girl on his lap, so maybe he can relate to this one…

Thursday Paragraph: September 29, 2011


Fall has arrived.  Leaves are turning, all of a sudden.  The big tree shading our house has covered our lawn in pine needles, loosened by yesterday’s wind and rain.  Now it is dark and quiet in the morning when I start my day.  There is a dewy chill in the early air that takes a few hours to burn away, but the afternoons are perfect with blue skies, cool breeze, warm sun.  I love all of this.  We just moved from Arizona to Oregon this summer, so this change of seasons is new for us.  The weather changed in Arizona, but it seemed to happen without warning, coming on fast as a monsoon storm.  Here, it feels both deliberate and dramatic, giving us time to pause and reflect on the season we are leaving and the one we are entering.  For me, this transition feels monumental and bittersweet, because it is marking the end of Our Baby Year.  Our little girl has seen all four seasons now.  Last year’s fall was marked by her birth and the long nights that followed.  The desert winter was a time of recovery and long walks together.  In the spring, we cursed the heat but enjoyed the pool and the last few months with our Tucson friends.  The summer brought us here, where everything is green, and we have filled ourselves up with u-pick blueberries and peaches.  Our baby is heading into her second fall and toddlerhood.  I wonder if she feels the change in the air, too?

  1. Bruce #


    Where, Alice? God is in the details


    September 30, 2011
    • Eugene. We love it. I can totally see your neat little handwriting right now!


      September 30, 2011
  2. Lovely paragraph, and lovely idea. Like you, I find that my posts (even the ones I mean to keep short) often become unwieldy. I’d love to borrow this idea; may I link to this post from my site?


    October 3, 2011
    • Of course! Link away! And I’ll look forward to reading your Thursday paragraphs!


      October 3, 2011

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