Engage (with a special Guest Post!)

I am so excited about today’s post!  It is not only my very first Guest Post here, it is also the first time I have ever collaborated with a fellow writer— which is perfect timing, because today’s On Being a Writer Group Discussion over at Kate’s place centered on
Chapter 9: Engage— I interact with writers, artists, and others who support my writing


When I first tried to write on this topic earlier today, I had a hard time because… I currently don’t really have any “writing people” who I get to talk shop with on a regular basis.

But then, after school, my sweet 11-year-old daughter told me about an incredibly insightful writing prompt delivered to her for homework.  She was told to “write a narrative about a time when you felt something really deeply.”  When she read her first draft to me and asked me for input, I was stunned.  This girl can freakin’ write, I tell you!  This isn’t the first time I have been awed and inspired by my daughter’s amazing ability to notice the details in her surroundings and write poignantly about them, etc… but this was her first attempt ever at really digging down to explore her feelings and how to describe what was going on inside her in this true account of her first day of sixth grade just a few weeks ago.

What you are about to read is primarily all written by Ellie.  I only helped by offering input regarding how to clarify when some of her original wording was unclear.  And I encouraged her to dig deeper into her emotional and psychological state in order for her reader to get a clearer idea of what was going on.  But honestly: for this most part, this is Ellie’s work here.

Please add your comments below to tell me your reaction to what this budding little writer put down on paper today.

Here we go:


Mile Monday

by Eliana M.


Everything will be fine.  Relax, says the soft quiet breeze as it sweeps over me.  I reposition my feet, causing the gravel below me to crunch.  I slowly exhale as the rest of my classmates assemble in a semi-circle, staring at our teacher Mr. Wheaton.   Everyone waits, chatting and joking quietly, but I stand still, already knowing what our teacher is going to say.  Suddenly, everyone else is silent.  Mr. Wheaton smiles and takes a breath.  “Class.  Today is Monday, as you all know.  But it’s not just any Monday.  Me and my past sixth grade friends like to call it… pause for effect… Mile Monday!

Groaning.  Muttering.  Silence.

I’m still holding my breath.  I tune out and look past him at the gravel track which seems to expand before my eyes.  This is the moment I have been dreading this whole first day of school.  I heard about it from past sixth graders and am not looking forward to it a bit after my long, lazy summer.

But here I am, about to run a mile.

Better make the best of it, I think to myself.

A moment later, I am jogging on the track.  As a light wind blows, I try to tell myself what the breeze told me earlier.  But it doesn’t calm me.  Instead, I tense, jogging stiffly past oak and maple trees.  I can feel fear creep up my spine as I pace alongside the metal chainlink fence that separates our schoolyard from a cackling creek and whispering, creepy-looking trees.  I feel like everything and everyone is judging me.  Self conscious, I move on, bits of fear slipping off my back as I move into a more sunlit area of the track.  Maybe this isn’t so bad after all, I tell myself.

After staring at my feet for a couple of laps, I finally look up to see a handful of my classmates assembled beside the track— they have completed their mile.  With still more than half a lap to go, I look back behind me… hoping… Oh no.  I watch as two boys in front of me hurry to join the group of finished runners… but no one else is on the track.

Just me.

I am last.

I. am. last. 

With everybody staring at me, I hold back tears of embarrassment and sprint over to the group.  Wishing I could wipe this moment from everyone’s minds forever, I jerk to a stop in the middle of the group.

Red-faced, sweaty, and panting.  I feel like collapsing because I am so tired.

I look at the ground.  I’m too embarrassed to look anyone in the eyes.

I want to cry.  I want to disappear.

But I can’t.

And then… 

“It’s okay, Ellie.  Everyone has bad days.”

I turn to a pair of deep brown, reassuring eyes, filled with understanding.  They pierce through my heart, knowing how I feel.

This is what I need.

Not to cry.  Not to disappear.  Just love from a friend.

Just an “It’s okay.”  

I smile wholeheartedly and turn towards the rest of my class.  Strength fills me again and I sigh happily.




What about you?

Have you ever collaborated with anyone?  What story spills out of you when you are prompted to “write a narrative about a time when you felt something really deeply”?

Please feel free to share your comments or your own journey in the comment section below.




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  1. Indeed: sometimes all we need is an ‘It’s OK’…..(beautiful writing from your daughter!)

  2. Sweet Eliana! You ROCK! I was right there with you, running, and coming in last, feeling your hurt. Your words are beautiful. If it helps, my oldest son ran track and came in last, much later than the other runners. You’re not alone :

  3. Lisa W

    Oh Ellie! That was beautiful. I was moved, could feel your emotions, and hear the cackling creek next to school. You are so brave – in your writing and in showing up to those hard moments in life. Don’t ever stop – both writing, expressing, and living deeply! I am proud of you girl and love you so much!!

  4. My eyes filled with tears as I read Eliana’ words. She really communicated with me. And Kristi, what a brilliant idea to have a younger writer collaborate with us.

  5. I love this post! Ellie’s writing is amazing and her descriptions really bring the scene to life and capture how she was feeling.

  6. Kristi – this is a great example of this chapter in the book, engage. Thanks for modeling a very positive collaboration and the importance of supporting each other.

  7. Wow! This is stunning! I felt like I was right there on the track. Well done! And Kristi, I *love* that this is your first guest post — so special. Thrilled that you shared. May you both continue to find encouragement in one another, in writing as in all of life. Thanks for linking up!

  8. Thank you all for all your kind words and encouragement for Ellie! She was bursting with joy when she read how much it blessed and impacted you all.

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