Squirrel Guardian, of the House of Procrastination and Random Mischief

A huge shout-out of gratitude to Angela Stockman: read this first:

Ah, the synergy and serendipity of collaboration and conversation.

I’m sitting in my writing shed, something I wanted forever, am very grateful to have, and am still paying off. And the barn-style door does not stay propped open on its own (does anything?). Returning from a walk, I go back to the shed to see what kinds of inspiration can be gleaned from a sunny, anxious depressing, cortisol-filled day. Now, mind you, the garden statuary of the squirrel has a long story, and not sure I’m going to write it right this minute. But I use this statue to prop open the door, and it came to me that this statue is symbolic of a guardian, a talisman, of mine. Quick snapshot, and onto my IG post of the day. Today is the 218/366 (it’s a Leap Year).

And then I thought–whew– wouldn’t this be a good writing prompt idea for my students? I know we all live in different spaces, sometimes sharing an apartment with extended family. But if they could imagine and fantasize about legendary guardians and protectors, what fantasy objects could their “loose parts” help them create?

I’ve often said being an art major informed my teaching. I use writing territories and many low-risk writing strategies. The trick is I’m not going to be ‘there,’ but merely a hologram. Stockman’s Loose Parts reminds me of writing territories but more refined and functional. When I’ve used writing territories in the recent past, some students are confused and don’t grab onto their own stories. The three timeline writing works, but even that can be traumatic. Allow writers to choose from their own writing territories, or collection of loose parts.

It may be wrong or naive of me to hope that the state standardized testing is gone, at least in its current form. The writing has morphed into solely writing to respond. It’s an autopsy of reading, too, and makes little or no connection to the symbiotic act of reading and writing.



2 thoughts on “Squirrel Guardian, of the House of Procrastination and Random Mischief

  1. Wait. YOU HAVE A WRITING SHED? Oh, Kelly. I am so jealous I may not be able to keep reading your posts. I have a 1300 square foot house that I’ve been sharing all day every day with my husband and daughter and two dogs and oh my goodness, my kingdom for a shed. But, I digress. The talisman thing. That is just…gorgeous. What a thing to ponder. Especially now. I’m having a cortisol filled few months myself, and just thinking on this is somehow comforting. It helps me notice that there are forces taking care of us, even now. Somehow. Thank you for that. I find that loose parts help writers find and/or (or both) express ideas without resorting to alphabetic text or print. Ideas usually come faster, and playing with loose parts often generates unexpected ones. Yes! Territories! This is where all of us started, right? Loose parts help writers scale the barriers created by print. The complexity of their ideas is protected. The writing that emerges is…so much better. Just my experience. I’m so glad I found you today! Making me smile very hard.


    1. I am extremely lucky: we lived in the same house for about twenty years, and my husband always had the spare room as his office. Finally, after waiting 20 years, I have a place of my own. Now, am I using it to its full ability, or do I feel like a hack and poser every single day? Yes, yes I do! Very glad to find you, too — more than I can express!


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