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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Montessori teacher uses National Novel Writing Month project as classroom tool

Twenty-one years ago, a group of 21 San Francisco Bay Area writers pledged that each would attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between Nov. 1 and 30. This year, nearly 1 million authors will observe National Novel Writing Month, including all 30 students in Spokane Public Montessori teacher Thomas Coghlan’s 2020 class.

S-R outdoor writing contest winner: The Vanishing Lake

The kayak slips through slate-gray water, so still this morning that the only movement comes from the pull of the paddle, the only sounds from an occasional bird trill or cricket chirp. I am at the western edge of a lake whose shape resembles a sea serpent on topographical maps. To my left, several scraggly trees shelter a dusty picnic area; to the right, columnar basalt cliffs rise in two tiers above the water. The prow of the kayak points toward the length of the two-mile lake, nudging through shallow water surrounding a small island. Beyond, the view opens up to the half-mile-wide, twenty-foot-deep body of the sea serpent. Walls of variegated brown basalt enclose the water and reflect a reverse image on its surface.

S-R outdoor writing contest runner up: Abloom

Because I didn’t take a Klonopin, the California poppies are much brighter, like embers that could ignite the roadside. Still, it seems the ones I’m staring at are not exceptional. The cars and trucks on the two-lane highway continue to pass by them, rolling slowly through the town’s one block, drivers and passengers with eyes forward or downward, their windows up despite the warmth, a changing climate controlled from a plastic dash panel.