The minute I read the title out loud, I realized my mistake. I had chosen a book about a grizzly bear who is stung by a bee. What was I thinking? I waited for the onslaught.

My group is an all-boy group. Despite the fact they are in elementary school, I call them my old men. Our conversations and our connections are easily derailed by medical complaints: sore legs, head aches, old bruises that still “kill”, microscopic cuts that sting “so bad” nothing can get done. One complaint is enough to wipe everyone out. On cue and en masse, they start pulling up their pant legs and sleeves and examine anything that can be considered a mark worthy of a story.

All hands shot up to relay their war stories about bees. One student jumped up and down as he relayed his very detailed encounter at camp with two bees. “And you do know, Ms. G that bees die after they sting you. They just die. I saw them fall to the ground”.  He nodded his head vigorously at me. 

I considered myself lucky. I was able to contain the conversations and get back to the book and reading. A few minutes later, I heard the same student call my name. “Ms. G. I was never stung by a bee. I made it up.” 

I knew the book selection was a bad idea.
 
 
Poetry Friday

O Me! O Life!
By Walt Whitman
O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who  more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
 Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; 
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer. That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
 
 
New Learning 
Taking risks pushes you to be better.
Your harshest critic is yourself.
Reading other slices is invaluable for both ideas and craft.
Writing comments can be intimidating.
Receiving comments is validating.
Having a purpose to write propels you forward.
Feeling part of a community carries you.
It was wonderful to meet such a great community.
Realizing you do not have to produce a masterpiece every time.  
Even when you know you have nothing, write down something.
You become better at judging your own writing.
Writing can be very challenging.
Writing can become an obsession.
You actually do learn things about yourself when you write.
It will be strange not posting on a daily basis.
Age hasn’t made me write any faster. Still turtle slow.

Thank you to TwoWriting Teachers.  Thank you to all the Slicers for sharing their writing and comments.