Tag Archives: Lisa DeCook Crizer

Read Me A Story…

Group member Lisa participated in last year’s writing group and wrote an excellent guest post on finding small moments to write. In this post, Lisa shares why reading out loud has become so important — and fun — to her.

Lisa doing a different kind of reading out loud: her own fiction at an MCC faculty reading series

Lisa doing a different kind of reading out loud: her own fiction at an MCC faculty reading series, The Typewriter Factory

This is a guest post from Lisa Crizer, a member of this summer’s Online Writing Group:

Each night, we finish our day here at the Crizer abode with a book. Currently, we’re going between the Random House Book of Ghost Stories, Lila and Myla the Twin Fairies, and Thor: The Mighty.

I have to admit, I love reading aloud. Sure, there are nights, especially when Pinkalicious is requested (again!), when all I want to do is give some quick kisses, tuck a few blankets, and sit in front of the TV as fast as humanly possible. But, as soon as I start reading, I’m always in my happy place.

There’s something special about hearing your own voice as you read the words on the page, pacing yourself, finding the slight nuances of each character, pausing dramatically, and even choosing to skip an unnecessary dialogue tag here and there. And to say it’s magical for me is nothing compared to how it lights up my little ones; their focused eyes exploring every detail of the illustration; their fingers twiddling with pillow cases as their imaginations give life to unearthly visitors, fantastic creatures, and warrior heroes. I jump at the opportunity to read in my kid’s classroom. Twenty-five little imaginations swirling at once. It’s pretty incredible!

Like most summers, though, I’ve been giving myself grief lately for not reading enough. I borrowed Gaiman’s American Gods from the library (again), I’ve started Rigg’s Hollow City twice now, and Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is on call for tonight. These are all good books, but what makes reading with my kids so much more enjoyable to me right now? We do everything together…everything. So, how can something that has always been such a solitary experience for me changed into such a group activity? I think it’s actually the other way around.

Books and reading have always been such an integral part of my life that they found a way in. Even if I don’t have the time, energy, or focus to read the volume I used to, I am able to share in the wonders of story in a way that is new and different, but really fun and rewarding. I’ll take advantage of this for as long as I can. One day, I’ll be back on my own, curled up with a good book.

Check out the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online website with videos of some great children’s books being read by actors. So fun!

Enjoy!

Thanks, Lisa, for sharing. Your kids (and their classmates) are so lucky!

Time to Get Lost

Group member Lisa is a colleague of mine in the MCC English Department and my office-mate on campus. In addition to being an excellent tea-drinking pal, Lisa co-advises the campus creative writing club with me, she is a fellow super-fan of The Walking Dead, and she’s a talented writer and has been published in The Florida Review, Black Warrior Review, and Mid-American Review.

When Lisa isn’t teaching, raising her three smart and gorgeous kids, or watching The Walking Dead, she’s finding “micro-moments” to write. Here’s how she does it.

This is a guest post from Lisa Crizer, a member of this summer’s Online Writing Group:

Lisa and Eli

I grew up in a loud family, to say the least. We discussed everything, and to the outsider I’m sure our conversations seemed like complete chaos. We watched a lot of TV, too. I’m completely comfortable with the dull background hum of daytime programming.

I like my surroundings loud and lively. I treasure the laughter and giggles that usually fill our rooms. I’m even learning to decipher the screams and squeals of the ever more frequent arguments between my girls. We are living life, with all of its sticky hands, mosquito bites, and nerve-sizzling mayhem.

Lately, however, days filled with hours of swimming and running around in the sun have led to late summer bedtimes. I love seeing my kids passed out in the corner of the couch, faces dirty from a day of fun. But, these later bedtimes have a sinister side effect — less time for me.

Our oldest daughter used to put herself to bed at 7:30. She still does. For years, my husband and I were spoiled with three hours each night all to ourselves. We were time-rich fools binge watching series on Netflix, having adult conversation, and doing crazy things like going to Target alone. Two children later and we are in a completely different boat; a completely different rickety old canoe in a deep, tumultuous ocean of constant companionship.

I never dreamt I’d seek out quiet; envy people dining alone at a restaurant, walking solo on the bike trail, or even just driving alone in their car listening to the radio. This summer has reminded me how important it is, as a writer, to have some solitude; time to think, make up scenarios, plan out conversations, flesh out characters.

So, what can I do? How can I rediscover this time and allow my mind to wander?

I wish I knew. I wish I had some great, disciplined plan where I would wake up every day a few hours before the kids and write. But, I don’t.

What I do have are “micro-moments”. Those precious instances where the TV is off, or the kids fall asleep in the car and I can finally turn off the Care Bears DVD. Or, the afternoon I’d been looking forward to for years, when I took my oldest to the bookstore and she read while I worked.

These “micro-moments” are hard to plan, and sometimes even hard to recognize. But right now they’re all I’ve got and I’m working hard not to waste them scrolling through my Facebook feed. If I can learn to appreciate these bits of calm, and string together all of these tiny specks of quiet time, I might just be able to get lost again once in a while.

We can all find these moments — we just have to look for them. Thanks, Lisa, for the reminder!