Sibling Assignment #50: The Media Experiences That Inspired Me In 2007

Raymond Pert gave the sibling assignment this week:
"Look back over the year 2007 and reflect upon photographs, blogs, books, songs, cds, dvds, movies, poems, etc. and compile a best ten sources of inspiration/ learning/ joy of 2007. With comments ." You can find RP's here and Silver Valley Girl's is here.

I thought about this assignment all week, but today drew up the list of media experiences that inspired me the most in 2007.

1. The Writing Retreat I attend every June. This retreat has been a ritual in my life now for three years. I know when I go I will have quiet time to write, people to conference with about my writing, and a writer to guide me through new pieces of writing. It is always right after school is out and it is a gentle way to ease out of the school routine into more of a writing life.
2. Ted Kooser. At the retreat last year I was introduced to Kooser's book The Poetry Home Repair Manual. I also began reading more of his poetry and he helped me to see that everyday things can be put to words to make meaningful poetry. You can learn more about him here.
3.My digital camera. At the end of 2006 I got my first digital camera. A month later I began my blog. I have been amazed how between the two I have a chronological history of the last year in pictures and words. My camera captured the simple and complex images of life around me all year.
4. Sunday Scribblings. Once I started my blog I was introduced to Sunday Scribblings and a whole new writing community of bloggers. It has inspired me each week by keeping me focused on a topic and by allowing me to enjoy the words from others' writing. I encourage you to visit the site here.
5. Tony Bennett's Duets . I love Tony Bennett. I particularly love this cd because the songs he chose remind me of my childhood. I also love the people he chose to partner with. It is hard to pick favorites because I love the whole cd, but after watching a special on PBS recently about the recording of this album I love " The Good Life" with Billy Joel, "Because of You" with k.d. lang and "Smile" with Barbra Streisand the most.
6. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. This book illustrated a model for a book about cooking and how to include recipes, and create a blog. This book inspired me to write more about cooking. It also introduced to another format in the blog world. Julie cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking by preparing a recipe a day, blogging about it, then writing a book about all 365 days and recipes at the end of the year.
7.Because Writing Matters , National Writing Project. I helped pilot an online book group in August discussing this book. It is a book that includes best practices and research on how to improve student writing in our schools. It is very informative and inspirational, it has helped me with my teaching, plus I loved the online book discussion format.
8.Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Lewis Stevenson. When I was posting a poem a day in April and creating sibling assignments from childhood I kept returning to this book. In March Mom gave me the old copy she read to me as a child and I continue to enjoy the poems, memories, and the magnificant black and white drawings.
9. The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. Introducing students to the horrors of the Holocaust is difficult. Even though I have taught this book numerous times, this year my students were more interested in this book and it led to more questions, discussion, and understanding of that difficult time in history.
10. Into White by Carly Simon I don't often turn on Oprah when I come home from school. For some reason one day last spring I turned on the TV just when Carly Simon and her two children were beginning to sing " You Can Close Your Eyes" from her new cd. Hearing the blend of their voices to the words their father/her former husband had composed gave me goosebumps. The album took songs I learned at camp, elementary music, remembered from favorite movies, and also had heard her sing before. It is perfection in sound and choice of songs. I have many favorite renditions of "Over the Rainbow", but I think Carly's from this cd is now my favorite.
Enjoy Carly and her children Ben and Sally singing on Oprah.


  1. I just found your blog today.. not sure from where but I'm glad I did, it's really great.

    I am a HUGE fan of Carly Simon's and enjoyed the video you have on your blog. I adore her music and children's books... just everything about her.

    Happy belated birthday, you're a day before my husband.

  2. Carly Simon is one of my husband's faves... I think he has a crush on her (or did at one time)..oh well.

    Great post and happy belated birthday from me too! :)

  3. Happy B-day. This was interesting!
    First the digital camera, it has changed my life also and it's so easy to keep memories now and not have rolls of film tucked in a bag in the door of my fridge waiting to be developed on that fateful day I remember to bring them in.
    Sunday Scribblings and Writer's Island are the two best blog prompts I have come across and enjoy reading everyone's take on one thought. I learned a lot about the different types of writing and it challenges me to do better. I need to do better.
    The art of cooking I am doing but with home learning. I am chronologically keeping a journal of 365 days of home learning and maybe, I am hoping to publish it.I have that blog on my profile page if your interested in checking it out. BTW, I also got a slow cooker for Christmas and I'm learning new recipes and making up recipes all the time, I'm in love with it I think!
    I have never heard of the book devil's arithmetic. I am going to check the local library for it now. I began teaching my son the holocaust with the suitcase story and went from there. He is on his third year of teaching and we are now doing the cory ten boom books. The fact that you teach it all is a wonderful thing! It is often overlooked and shouldn't be under any circumstances. Too many life lessons in that tragic part of history to not teach it to the next generation.
    Glad I stopped by!

  4. Welcome mvobsession: Thanks for visiting. I will visiting your way soon.
    Shelby: I think I had a crush on James Taylor also... my naive self wondered how Carly could leave him. lol
    Wow Jen- I may need to try Writer's Island. Another good Holocaust book for children is Number the Stars by Lois Lowrey. If you haven't seen the "Fix It and Forget It" cookbook series for a slow cooker they are keepers.

  5. I loved Julie and Julia (despite having a hard time reading about some of the more unique ingredients). Since I was a young girl Carly Simon has been one of my favorites and I have CDs by the whole family!

  6. I saw that Oprah...and went right out and bought the CD. Love it. Of course Carly and James are from my neck of the woods...but being as famous as they are, I've never bumped into them except when I've been to concerts...

    On my list of 10, your and your blog would rank up there. I shared your story about Longfellow's Carol of the Bells with my staff last week =) They enjoyed it, too.

  7. My connection kept bouncing in and out. However, what I heard was lovely. Family voices blend so well. When young, I sang with my bro's & Sisters. It was so much fun.

    Your sibling assignment was well thought out -

    I may very well check out Sunday scribblings. (Although I'm starting to slow down some -)

  8. ps. The digital camera was something that I got about the same time as I started blogging. Each encouraged the use of the other.


I always enjoy reading comments!