I did not journal or blog for an entire 30 days! This was quite an achievement for me. Journaling and blogging have become a kind of habit – good or bad I am not sure? Good I think, but like any habit you do have to wonder what might happen if you stopped it? I didn’t journal or blog in November because some strange, ‘middle of the night,’ random thought struck me that I could write the first draft of a book in 30 days. I had watched people do it last year via Twitter. I had read about it, considered signing up, admired the participants but November 2009 passed and I did nothing about ‘National Novel Writing Month’ The moment passed and it was gone – from my memory, my thoughts, my desires – until the middle of a wakeful night this October when I found myself googling the possibilities again. It was utter madness – I had reports to write, programming to do and all the end of year preparations at school looming – but I felt inspired. I had that thud, thud, pounding in my chest kind of inspired and caught myself trying to work out how I could actually write the 50 000 words that were required to ‘win.’

Truth be told, I didn’t win anything; I just wrote and wrote and wrote and now I have 51 933 words that may or may not eventually be useful to edit and create a book out of. To ‘nanowrimo’ makes me a winner; I received the winner’s badge because I made the required 50 000 words. I really do not know what might come of the experience but I am glad it is done and glad it is over. I wrote from 5–7 am most mornings, then went about my day as if those two hours before daylight did not even exist. I don’t know if anyone noticed that I was a little more weary than usual; I tried not to complain about being tired. My kids and husband were a great encouragement, asking me daily if I made my word count, forgiving me when I snuck back into my room after dinner, while they snuggled in front of the TV, so that I could get my tally up. They even allowed me to escape to a little boatshed on the lake for two weekends of November and it was absolute bliss, pure indulgence. So November passed and somehow everything that needed to be done got done, except my blog and my morning pages and now I face December with new questions – the biggest question of all being: “What happens now?”

As is my habit, or was my habit prior to November, I asked my journal the question. I began to look for a sign. Signs come from everywhere – the universe conspires, dreams unfold and doors open, but only if you are looking. Seek and you will find!

This week as I wrote on the classroom whiteboard, a voice perked up behind me saying, “Mrs Froggatt, did you always want to be a teacher?”

I turned to the voice and paused to answer. For one he was calling out, and it was also a personal question, disrespectful perhaps but I was intrigued nonetheless. I didn’t answer him directly; instead I asked him another question: “Why do you ask?”

“Well, its your handwriting,” he said. “It’s not so good.”

I looked at the board. He was right. I hate my handwriting. I don’t know how I want to write; sometimes it is big, sometimes it’s small, but on the whiteboard it is rarely in those perfectly straight lines that teachers are required to create. At teachers college the only thing I ever failed was the handwriting test. I had to do it again and again and finally I passed; but in my mind, when it comes to handwriting, I am a failure. I live with this fact, thankful that now my interactive smart board can turn my handwriting into whatever type or font I desire just so long as I am connected and wired to the Internet. Problem solved!

“Is that the only reason you don’t think I should be a teacher?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied. “You are good at everything else, maybe you should be the principal. He doesn’t have to write on the whiteboard. You could just run the school instead!”

I laughed, the innocence of a small child with big ideas.

I have big ideas too and even if I can’t write well on a whiteboard, I think that maybe I can write? I hope that I can, because I love to write. I am addicted to writing. I write for myself, delighting in words, but even if I continue to journal what should I do about blogging? My daughter Sam has had enough stories told about her to last a lifetime and yet it was because of her that ‘Girl on a Swing’ started quite by accident in a way. It was a compilation of letters to friends to help me endure the horrendous journey through her chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant; then somehow it evolved to something so much bigger than I ever intended.

In November I considered jumping off the swing, returning to my anonymous world of normal life, putting down my pen as it were, but the small boy in the classroom has me thinking grand dreams. No, I don’t want to be the principal but I do like to share, to write, to converse. So what if I stay on the swing? Would you hop on the one beside me? Could we start a conversation as we weave our legs back and forth, touching the clouds? If we did, what should we talk about? What stories could we share?


Filed under Life

17 responses to “November

  1. susie rosati

    So pleased you have popped back on the swing…truth is I wonder how many like myself had been wondering where you were?
    Clare,the innocence of young children is a wonderful thing! The gift of writing is something,like a swing, that you should hold onto and continue to push forward. Your beautiful words inspire us all !!
    Meantime sit back and relax with your family and I hope its full of fun and happy times….x susie

    • Clare Froggatt

      Hey Sue,

      Thanks for the feedback and for always encouraging me to write. I appreciate your comment so much – I am such a ‘words’ girl, You make me feel taller 🙂 and that is saying something cause i’m not very big really – am I! xxx


  2. Berni Morris-Smith

    Clare….a wonderful picture of swinging with special guest swingers…., sharing the highs and lows of life but the peace and joy that comes with sharing stories together, the exhilaration felt after a swing together… facilitating those you have shared with to take on the challenges in their lives that have been spoken and swung about….reckon you going to have a lot more swinging 🙂 in some special gardens/places….and with amazing people….Happy Birthday you amazing swinger!! :)….yes I’d hop on ….

    • Clare Froggatt

      Thankyou Berni,

      I am going to miss you at my classroom door every morning next year – glad you found a spot here beside me on teh swing to continue sharing our journeys. As I say to the kids, come back and visit when you are in year one, otherwise I’ll miss you.

      Much love


  3. Wendy Gilbert

    How adorable is that little boy? What a question to ask you, Mrs Froggatt. Did you always want to be a teacher? I really think you shoot for the top. Move over Gabi! Too funny.

    No! is the answer Mrs Froggatt, there are many more things for you.

    Love to you. Love your Writing.


    • Clare Froggatt

      Hey Wendy,

      Thanks for continuing to share the journey after two long years on this blog and all the years before that as well, before we dared venture into the world of writing. I’m excited for you too with your new job and the things the future holds for both of us. Dreams don’t die do they – the context simply changes. We get back up, we start again, and again and again and ….

      Love Clare

  4. Thank you so much – I have missed your writing and just yesterday checked out if you had posted anything so to find you back today was awesome! Have you read Holley Gerth and Ann Voscamp’s letters about words? Also if you go to a Holy Experience dot com there is a wonderful Advent series – The Jesse Tree – devotions for Advent and decorations to hang each day. (you may already be using it but this is a just in case). Once again Happy Birthday!

    • Clare Froggatt

      Hello Grace,

      What a sweetie you are to continue to encourage me and enter and become my friend through on-line media. Who would ever have thought that such a great community were possible! You are such an inspiration with all the blogs and artices you find and share. No, I haven’t discovered those ones yet but I have some time off so I will take a peek. 🙂

      Thanks Grace

  5. Davina Cairns

    Clare so good to see you back…. missed you and your blog, got introduced to your blog by my daughter when she moved to Australia and one of her new friends introduced her to it… your writings on life inspire and make us all realise that bad things happen to good people but it is how you walk the journey through these times with God beside you.
    Look forward to reading more from you in the coming weeks
    Davina ( from Bedworth Warks UK)

    • Clare Froggatt

      Thankyou Davina,

      I am going to have to get out the map to discover where Bedworth Warks is or ask my folks who are from UK too. I was actually born in Hereford, England but have been here since I was 5. I’d love to know more of your story too. I hope you will be back to join the conversation in the upcoming months.

      Thanks for taking time to introduce yourself. Do I know your daughter? How did she find me?

      Love Clare

  6. Lindy

    I would LOVE to be on the swing beside you…. sharing, caring, lauging, crying……’doing’ life together.
    YES Birthday Girl, you definitely need to keep writing ‘cos you, Clare, are a bright shinging star out there in the blog world! x

    • Clare Froggatt

      Oh Lindy, you are lovely…wishing you didn’t head to South Africa every time I get a holiday! Can’t wait til you are back. Much love Clare PS Coming with you next time.

  7. Ali Walker

    Glad you back… have missed your wisdom.

  8. Elizabeth

    your words have made such an impact on my life with the challenges we face and are still to hurdle over. i have laughed, cried and gained strength through your words. i would say…Please stay on the swing …there have already been many people sharing it with you…. you just didnt know it!

    • Clare Froggatt

      Thankyou Elizabeth, we need each other don’t we! I do love words but mostly to share life, its challenges and be inspired by others to keep going no matter what happens. Thanks for encouraging me. Clare

  9. Please, please, please keep writing Clare. You inspire me. Your writing is so good. You form words with such grace and relive experience as if we were there with you. You inspire me, and encourage my faith. xx

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