Two Writer/Teachers Chat About Twitter

Here, in this podcast, writers/teachers Katie Keier (Catching Readers Before They Fall) and Kassia Omohundro Wedekind (upcoming Math Exchanges) talk about using Twitter as a tool for professional development and for extending connections from our classroom to the world. (If you want to follow me on Twitter, I am @dogtrax).

At the Stenhouse site, where I found this, they list a bunch of folks they suggest you follow:

Katie: @bluskyz
Kassia: @kassiaowedekind
@CatchingReaders
@FrankiSibberson
@KellyToGo
@acorgill
@KarenSzymusiak
@BarryLane
@ColoReader (Patrick Allen)
@GailAndJoan
@ruth_ayres
@WriteguyJeff (Jeff Anderson)
@skajder
@debbiediller
@spillarke (Lee Ann Spillane)
@justwonderinY (Cathy Mere)
@FountasPinnell
@alfiekohn
@susanoha
@DianeRavitch
#kinderchat
#mathchat
#edchat

Peace (in the tweets),
Kevin

Giving 25-Word-Stories a Poetic Touch

I periodically jump into Twitter to write short, short stories — known by the hashtag of #25wordstories. In the past week, as poetry has been front and center, I’ve been trying to cross-pollinate the concept of 25-word-stories with a poetic theme.  My aim has not been to write poetry in Twitter, which I also do from time to time, but instead, to write a story with a poetic touch or theme. Alas, some are better than others. The limits of Twitter really makes things interesting and difficult. And certainly challenging.

Here is what I have so far:

What would you write? And if you do it on Twitter, use the #25wordstory hashtag. (There is also a #poemaday hashtag for daily poetry writing and a #poetweet for folks using Twitter for writing poetry as a tweet.)
Peace (in the stories),

Kevin

Slice of Life: Very Small Twitter Poems

Slice of Life 2011Yesterday morning, I read an article from The New York Times about efforts by writers to use the Twitter format to write very short poems. I am always intrigued by how technology informs our writing, and how our writing can be adapted to technology. So, throughout the day, I tried my hand at some Twitter poems, and used the #poetweet hashtag to share my writing with others.

It’s challenging, as you can imagine. The constraints of 140 characters leaves very little room for exploration. You need to be short and you need to choose your words carefully. It’s a great exercise in editing, actually, and I wonder if some variation might not work well in the classroom.

Here are some of the poems as screenshots off Twitter, which I recast into podcasts this morning, too.
Peace (in the poems),
Kevin

The Newspaper Life: 25-Word Stories

I wrote yesterday about my positive reaction to the novel, The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. As I was reading the novel, I was inspired to try my hand at a few 25-word stories on Twitter about journalists and newspapers. I’m afraid a the balance here tips towards negative. But I admit that is my own bias to remembering a faded world as a writer. That said, I am very curious to know where journalism is going, and what will remain of the old world here. I worry that it won’t be quality writing, though. I worry about that quite a bit.

Here are a few:
story8
story1
story2
story3
story4
story9
story5
story6
story7
story10
story11
Peace (in the stories),
Kevin

Book Review: Hint Fiction

For a few months now, I have been writing 25-word stories and posting them to Twitter as part of the #25wordstory hashtag. I’ve been enjoying the experiences of this flash/quick fiction and more folks are now also writing and posting their stories, too. I recently picked up this book — Hint Fiction, edited by Robert Smartwood — and found it to a truly lovely little tome about small stories. Smartwood called 25 word stories “hint fiction” because the stories are designed to merely point to, or hint at, larger stories that are not being said.

“… a story of twenty-five words or fewer can have as much impact as a story of twenty-five hundred words or longer,” Smartwood writes in the introduction, later adding: “It’s my belief that the length of the story does not determine the credentials of the writer.”

Smartwood put out a call for these hint fiction stories and was overwhelmed by the response (from published and non-published writers), so this book represents just the tip of the iceberg of folks writing these pieces. There are plenty of great stories in here, such as:

The Strict Professor
by John Minichillo

A card in the mailbox: “Withdrawal: student deceased.” She remembers the name, the only essay in the stack she’ll really read.

And

The Return
By Joe R. Landsale

They buried him deep. Again.

And

Noah’s Daughter
By Shanna Germain

“Can’t you count I said two of each. This ” — he shook the squirming fluff of black and white in front of her — “is three.”

And

Ransom
By Stuart Dybek

Broke and desperate, I kidnap myself. Ransom notes were sent to interested parties. Later, I sent hair and fingernails, too. They insisted on an ear.

Tell me you don’t get a kick out those. The book contains dozens more.

Sure, on one level, they are quick read. But most will make you pause and think, and wonder about what is going on just outside your field of vision. I notice how the use of titles here (as opposed to on Twitter, where space is a real issue) makes a difference for some of these stories. Here, most titles are part of the story, and if you miss the title, you may miss the story. That’s interesting — how important the title is.

Peace (in more than my 25 words),
Kevin

Celebrating Veterans with 25-word-stories

vets day 25wordstories 1

vets day 25wordstories 2

vets day 25wordstories  3
As some of you know, I have been tinkering with 25 word stories on Twitter as a way to narrow storytelling down to its bare essentials. You have to leave more out than you put in. Yesterday, on Veteran’s Day, I got inspired to write a bunch of 25 word stories to honor the stories about veterans.

Peace (in the writing),
Kevin

My 25-Word Story Collection on Prezi

I’m back on my blog as I gear up for getting back to school next week. It’s been a nice vacation away from blogging, but I have been writing and doing other things. I’ll slowly share some of those things as the days go along. One of the things I’ve been doing that has me thinking a lot is writing 25-word stories on Twitter. This idea was made know to me by Brian Fay, a colleague in the National Writing Project, and you have to tell (try to tell) a story within 25 words. The concept fits perfectly with Twitter, of course, and there is a collection of stories at #25wordstory.

I’ve written about 20 or so of the little guys. It’s a challenge to lay the groundwork of a tale but use brevity in doing so. You leave out a lot more than you put in. You have to think in terms of hints and motivations more than character development. I am hoping this kind of activity will tighten up my other writing.

This morning, I popped them into Prezi. Take a look:

Peace (in the writing),
Kevin

Psycho-analyzing My Tweets

There are sorts of strange data engines popping up from time to time, and this one — called TweetPsych — supposedly presents a psychological profile of a Twitter account based on their tweets. I figured, what the heck … (and I did not have to give them my password, which always stops me cold in my browsing tracks)

The site’s study of me shows that I tweet a lot about learning, and media, and seem to reference “time” a lot (as in, I don’t have enough?). On the low end, I don’t tweet enough about sex and thinking and work (although, that would be learning for me, right?).

See my full report.

Peace (on the couch with the virtual shrink),

Kevin (aka @dogtrax)

Twitter This! (and pass it along your network)

I had the idea to write a quick song about Twitter, so during one of my last writing classes with my students — as they were working on writing their own songs — I jotted down some lyrics. I think I was inspired by my students’ enthusiasm.

Last night, I worked on the song with my music loop program and then recorded it.

Twitter This

I get up in the morning and I twitter all my dreams
140 characters is just enough for me
Then, each moment of the day becomes a Twitter storm
until the world is at my doorstep and everyone belongs
to

This Twitter space
inside this Twitter place
I’ve got a little bit of smile
on my Twitter face
Take me as a friend
or leave me out cold
I’m gonna keep on Twittering
until the platform gets old

I’m reading all my friends — the ones I haven’t met
from all across the globe, it’s a safety net
We’re putting pressure on Iran — let the China wall fall
let the information flow so we can all crawl
to

This Twitter space
inside this Twitter place
I’ve got a little bit of smile
on my Twitter face
Take me as a friend
or leave me out cold
I’m gonna keep on Twittering
until the platform gets old

If you like the song, do me a favor and send the link to the song (http://www.box.net/shared/5848z0cba8) along to your own Twitter network (if you Twitter and I am @dogtrax on Twitter) or blog space. I’m just curious to see how far the song might go along various network lines.

Peace (in the groove),
Kevin