working + writing with women


Ten Things.

Okay. So this writing exercise was not my idea. I've been watching Alisha Sommer do it for some time now, and I've been so inspired watching her (Alisha is an incredible writer, I admire her very much). I asked her if I could do it, too.

"Of course," she said, and she pointed me to the podcast where she first got the idea. The podcast is an interview with poet Marie Howe, whom I had not even heard about. Unbelievable! The interview was also inspiring, to say the least. Alisha says she has listened to it several times, and I don't blame her. There is much to learn. Marie Howe, poet, has her students do this exercise every morning: ten things. No metaphor. Simple observations about your morning. (Make sure to read Alisha's daily 10 things here, or you can follow her on Insta where she shares them in her stories). 

It's harder than it seems, but it feels good. It reminds me of my high school poetry class, where I first learned about really writing poetry. I just started yesterday. It has been so long since there was a writing exercise that compelled me to write, and for this alone I am grateful. Thank you Alisha for always holding the torch for the written word and for every day poetry. Thank you Marie Howe for your feminine leadership, and thank you On Being for the interview. Here are my 10 things from yesterday and today. 


  1. I tried to notice the light more in the shower today. Part way through, the whole shower lit up as the sun moved into the window.

  2. He hung up a screen curtain today, finally, in the doorway between our yard and our bedroom. Now I can leave the door open and I see my tiny corner, the statue of the blessed virgin; she’s backed up by a patch of roses. It’s so beautiful. I have a room with a view now.

  3. I microwaved my half-and-half today and poured the coffee into it. Then honey on a spoon, stirred in.

  4. Asher ate three chocolate pancakes and had a cup of mint tea for breakfast.

  5. I shaved my legs this morning and put oil on afterwards.

  6. My shoulders hurt from yoga yesterday; a small, sore point right on the front of them.

  7. The desk in my room is covered with laundry. 3 folded towels, a nightgown, a sweatshirt with a bear on it.

  8. When Alec eats the corn chips they crunch in his mouth. I think things are louder in his mouth because his mouth is so much bigger than mine.

  9. I cleaned the laundry room, partially, with Windex and paper towels. I refuse to mop.

  10. I took down the tomato plants in the garden. I feel relieved.


  1. We have been sleeping with the air conditioner on and it makes the air stale and dry. I am counting the days until the heat drops.

  2. Two tomatoes on the counter were nibbled by mice. There are no mice in the traps.

  3. My room is the brightest room in the house. This morning it fills with sunlight that pushes through the cotton curtains. The curtains are the color of amber resin.

  4. The prism throws rainbows on the walls for about a half hour.

  5. The jerusalem artichoke looks like it’s dying; it never flowered.

  6. I wake up early enough to see the last of the peach colored clouds on the horizon. I have to go outside to see them.

  7. Alec made apple crisp last night and we eat it for breakfast. Also pancakes, this time with yogurt and maple syrup.

  8. The air is still cool at 9:00, and I leave the window open while I start working on my laptop.

  9. I work at the dining room table. There are saltines on the table, and a tablecloth.

  10. The dogs are unmoving on the couch, curled up, crushing the pillows. They are good at slowness and silence.