Taking stock: my pile of good things


With thanks to Stef Boutelier for the “pile-poem” form and Canva template on Day Two of Ethical ELA’s Open Write.

Thanks also to Two Writing Teachers for the monthlong Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Life IS a challenge. The greatest. For writing inspiration, Stef quotes author Rainbow Rowell:

So, what if, instead of thinking about solving our whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow. 

What might your “pile of good things” be?

25 thoughts on “Taking stock: my pile of good things

  1. This is gratitude journaling gone rogue! While some poems whittle down to a point, this one leaves you feeling full at the end, in a good way. Losing yourself in a book, birdwatching, seeing children grow and thrive, those rolling green fields…I share this love of good things, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is like a line-by-line gratitude journal! Mine reads that way while others carried a narrative flow throughout. I am thinking how helpful this activity could be to help people – maybe young people especially – realize just how much good is in their lives.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this pile of reasons to love life, and I love the idea of the pile poem, from the most elemental to the most granular. Adding things to the list each day is a great way to live. This is also beautifully written, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fran, this was such an amazing prompt with the Pile of Good Things, and I loved it. I like the one-day lag because it takes the pressure off the mornings to have a poem that you can spend time on and really think about before posting – and yours is so beautifully crafted and styled.
    A stained glass sanctuary of words, indeed! I like the way you wrapped everyone into the blanket of warmth in this poem, right down to the finches at the front door. We are blessed to have children we love and daughters in law we adore. And grandchildren. Oh, the dogs and birds and husbands who take time to remind us we are loved. I need some better friends who will bring me coffee…..wow! What a gift. My son asked for Hey Dudes shoes for Christmas and loves his. What a great way to celebrate walking through days, through earth, in a great pair of comfy shoes. There is so much to celebrate and be grateful for when we pile up the blessings like this. You give us a good glimpse into what is important to you!


    • Thank you for your words, Kim – writing is a deeply spiritual activity. And yes, so many blessings in life for which to be grateful. I am mindful of them every day. The Hey Dudes are the best – got my first pair last summer and now have a few others. They are SO comfortable, perfect for work and knocking around!! They were the only shoes I could wear after my recent ankle sprain :O


  4. I love this prompt so much that I had my students create one today as we returned from spring break (unfortunately, I’m out with a sick baby, but I see the submissions rolling in!).
    Your poem is delightful, Fran. What abundance fills your life!

    I just learned – within the last two weeks – of Hey Dudes for the first time; how ironic that I’m reading about them here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope the baby is better, Britt! This pile poem is the perfect thing to help students – anyone, of any age – realize just how much good is in their lives. My poem is very much an ode of gratitude and awe (my “one little word” as long as I live). AS for Hey Dudes: they are the best – got my first pair last summer and now have a few others. They are SO comfortable, perfect for work and knocking around!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This pile is filled with gems! Loving these word strings- “ meeting my father again in the scent of fresh-cut grass… so losing myself in a book that being interrupted is a painful resurfacing… with constant awe illuminating my stained-glass sanctuary of words“. I’m in awe over here. I’ve never used Canva, but may need to learn. Love the end result!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fran, this is beautiful. I like how you expand each line as you “pile” on the goodness, not only of your reflections, but as gems for us readers. You saved the best for last, “a stained glass sanctuary of words.” Thank you for inviting us in.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m touched by the line “meeting my father again in the scent of fresh-cut grass. My father was proud of his lawn. But I see him in the branches of the trees that he drew over and over again. I shared this poem prompt with my students today. I loved how it was an easy list, but challenged them to really think deeply about what goes into their pile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would love to share this poem-prompt with students, Margaret. Perhaps when teachers at my school are teaching poetry units, I will be able to come in and offer it, as I have other forms. My father was so proud of his lawn, too. Our last conversation, in fact, was about his mowing. How lovely that you see your father in the branches of trees he drew so often – he is the one who sparked your own artistry, I suspect.


  8. Fran, this is beautiful. What a great idea to write about “your pile of good things.” I love Rainbow Rowell’s books. There is so much to love in your pile poem. I enjoyed how you stitched each line like one would stitch a quilt together about their life making a family and nature heirloom. Thank you for sharing your joy, inspiration, and light. Your words always lift me. I am going to write a good pile poem, also. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love it, love it, love it! The format and the idea of piling one good thing on top of another, so good. I especially love the last bit of that last line ‘the stained glass sanctuary of words’. A sacred commitment to writing! Thanks for your wonderful pile of good things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, you’ve caught my meaning well in the last line, Celia – a sacred commitment to writing, yes, for writing is a deeply spiritual act. In fact, I had the word “sacred” in the draft and ended up changing it, so I am happy to know the meaning remains. Thank you as always for the gift of your words.


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