Slice of Life: And So It Ends (sort of)

March has come to a close, and so, too, does the annual Slice of Life writing challenge. Once again, I went into the month thinking, I probably won’t write a slice every single day — maybe a few days here and there — and once again, I ended up writing 31 slices. (And that is the fifth year of doing it, so really, on my blog, there are more than 150 Slice of Life posts over time. Personal research project: go back and archive them all. Yeah. Right. Eh, maybe.)

I want to thank Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to facilitate and support writing among teachers and others. The Slice of Life this year just exploded with writers. Some days, the numbers were hovering around 150 writers sharing their posts. Much of that interest has to be attributed to the personal connections that Ruth and Stacey have created over the last few years, and the nurturing voice their blog sends forth to readers, and writers.

There’s a lesson to be learned from Slice of Life for anyone who has ever tried to nurture a writing space: create a space that values all writers, and all bloggers; find a way to build an audience; and people will write. This month proved that, beyond a doubt. (Although I still wonder about the gender gap with Slice of Life. On most days, as far as I could figure, there were maybe four to five male bloggers involved, and only three or four of us were regulars. Why is that? Is the Slice of Life narrative writing something that puts off my fellow men? Is Slice of Life, and Two Writing Teachers, perceived as a “girl” thing? I don’t think so, but the gap does vex me a bit.)

As I wrote early in the month, it became a losing battle for me to try to comment on most of the posts every day, try as I might. I sort of swam around the posts, surfing among the titles that folks left to see what might be interesting and trying my darnedest to read and interact with new bloggers. (Yes, just like books, the words in the titles of posts made a difference to me. I didn’t have time for everyone, so I honed in on the ones that seemed extra interesting). Unlike other years, I don’t feel I was to develop a rich, deep blogging relationship with a small core of new writers. Instead, I was like one of those thousand points of light in the night sky, joining others in creating a constellation of words and experiences (See what the Slice of Life does? It makes you wax poetic. And just in time for Bud the Teacher’s visual poetry blogging challenge for April.)

If you were one of the regular commentors here at my blog, I want to thank you so much for the time you spent with me. I was humbled by the conversations and honored that you would take the time to cast out a few lines and spark a conversation. I want to apologize if I left your comment dangling there, with no response. I was too busy commenting elsewhere (maybe even at your blog). Knowing you were out there, possibly wanting to read my words, inspired me as a writer this month. The Slice of Life makes you notice the world around you. It forces you to step back and wonder about the little moments. It provides a space to share.

If that isn’t all about the power of blogging, I don’t know what is.

Thanks for being on the journey with me this month, and I encourage you to keep writing with Two Writing Teachers as they continue their Slice of Life every single Tuesday at their site. The challenge may have come to a close, but the writing? It continues on.

Peace (and thanks),
Kevin

9 Comments
  1. I enjoyed reading your feedback about the challenge. Your words about the numbers being a testament to Ruth and Stacey are so true. This is my third year slicing, and each year it has been a unique experience. I bet that it has been even more amazing to participate since the beginning.

    I wonder what we could do to generate more awareness and interest about the challenge for male bloggers…

  2. Kevin, this introspective post taps into a number of themes surrounding SOLSC and writing in the broader sense. Your observations on the gender discrepancy is one we share- it’s an elephant in the room. Like you, I remain vexed by the under representation of our fellow ‘boy writers’ ( paraphrasing Ralph Fletcher). Like you I found myself swimming in a sea of bloggers and making decisions about where to explore became somewhat overwhelming. It was like an embarrassment of riches. So many options, and only so much time available to delve deeper. Somewhat bittersweet.
    As always, thank you for your invaluable insights and contributions.
    Alan

  3. Thanks for the reflection, Kevin. This was my first year, and the commenting challenge was overwhelming. It was hard enough to fulfill the writing challenge. So I really appreciate the support you gave me. I like what you said about creating a writing space. That is the key–a safe writing space. I know that is our goal as writing teachers, but so much gets in the way. I plan to join the 30 days poetry challenge this month on Facebook. Should be another challenging month of writing.

  4. Yes, I noticed the gender gap almost immediately and I wondered if it was because it’s a teacher-centered challenge? Fewer male teachers than female? Did it impact they way you wrote? I think it did for me, I curbed my potty mouth (typing hands?) a bit and tried to keep my strong, bleu-cheese-like opinions toned down a bit, although I see this only in hindsight. I vote for more men next year!

  5. I have a fellow colleague who writes & I have all but ordered him into doing this, but he is shy & says he isn’t ready to put himself into the public eye. That isn’t the answer for everyone, but I too have wondered about this gender gap. I have connected to your post since last year’s challenge, Kevin. Thanks for this reflection!

  6. A great reflection! I have so enjoyed this challenge on so many different levels. Most of all it has helped me connect with so many other writers. I look forward to continuing the weekly slice!

  7. I am so challenged trying to blog and teach, I am part of the Poetry Challenge, since the first two weeks of April we are off, I think I stand a chance… only so many hours in a day, and you constantly inspire me with your ability to translate your teaching world to cyber world. I look forward to our continued conversations.

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