Monthly Archives: September 2005

Interesting advice

The other day Gena Showalter offered some of the best advice ever on her blog.
Do unto others.
If you’re feeling neglected, upset, etc, chances are your spouse, SO, is too.
She’s right.
And actually the advice applies everywhere in life. It’s something to remember, especially in this time of long hours at work and a yearbook staff that refuses to meet their deadlines. 😦

Critique Partners Rock

Once upon a time I had a great group of critique partners. The fabulous Sheila Curlin will be published one day and when she is, review writers are going to compare her to Luanne Rice. I’m just warning you. Get ready. It will happen. It might be a couple years, but it will happen.
The awesome Karen Kelley keeps stunning me. She didn’t start off writing hot books. She started writing funny. And then one day hot just sort of happened. And then it happened again. And then she sold to Brava and it happened again and again. And I thought well isn’t that sweet? Karen’s selling these hot Brava books and she’s doing an awesome job. But then, sometime in the last six months something remarkable has happened. The hot books have gotten hotter, the stories faster, bigger, better than ever. I love that I get the sneak peek on these books. They challenge me to kick my writing up a notch!
I can’t imagine writing without my CPs, and I can’t wait to share in all our successes.

Desperate

Desperate Housewives premiere’s tonight. Finally. I’ve missed the crazy antics of the women on the show and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Now if I can just get back on my writing/weight watchers.
Of course that might be easier said IF my classes weren’t selling World’s FInest Chocolate. It’s so good. I try to stay away, but I just can’t do it.
And then I eat more. And more. And more.
And then I feel miserable and I don’t write. And the longer I go without writing, the easier it is not to do it. Well, easier’s not exactly the write term. Because when I don’t write, my story haunts me. But every day I don’t write is one day more that separates me form writing with ease and excitement and the painful demands of FORCING myself to do something with the blank document taunting me. I know the key. Write every day and it gets easier. So how come I go a week without writing? Probably the same reason I at the chocolate in my freezer. Discipline. Or a lack thereof. I’ve got to work on that!

memorization

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams

A long time ago,I memorized the last lines of Thanatopsis.
I’m not sure what that memory work taught me.
As an educator I’ve learned that memorization isn’t real learning at all.
And yet today my students had the joy of reciting or writing the First Amendment.
Did it serve a purpose?
I’m not sure.
But it’s something I like to do.
Maybe it’s the sadistic teacher in me.
I still remember the sweaty palms, the nervous practicing, the absolute knowledge that I was going to totally bomb that poem. I don’t remember how I did on it. And to be honest I don’t think I appreciated the lines until I was much older.
I hope my students appreciate the meaning of the First Amendment. I hope they understand how lucky they are to go to a school that lets them exercise those rights.

Hopefully that doesn’t change. But today The Chronicle ended up on the front page of our local paper and that gets everyone a little on the nervous side.
Our big dance of the year was canceled for several reasons including dirty dancing. Not like the movie. More like what you see in topless bars, on MTV and on the occasional episode of The Sopranos.
Our principal was quite candid in his interview with my reporter. He said there weren’t enough faculty chaperons for the dance. After the article ran in Friday’s paper, our coaches decided to take on the role of dance chaperons and the dance is back on. It’s a win-win situation. The kids learned to be proactive. To solve problems in a positive way. They get their dance. The story got picked up by the local paper today. Front page. It was actually a pretty positive story, except the parts where the other local high school principals said they didn’t have dirty dancing at their dances. (ahahahahahaha)
But then a local radio station got involved. Not good. Not fun. And I’m getting to teach a whole new kind of First Amendment lesson. 😦

seduction

I took this cool seduction quiz. Very neat. What I didn’t know about myself!

Your Seduction Style: Au Natural

You rank up there with your seduction skills, though you might not know it.
That’s because you’re a natural at seduction. You don’t realize your power!
The root of your natural seduction power: your innocence and optimism.

You’re the type of person who happily plays around and creates a unique little world.
Little do you know that your personal paradise is so appealing that it sucks people in.
You find joy in everything – so is it any surprise that people find joy in you?

You bring back the inner child in everyone you meet with your sincere and spontaneous ways.
Your childlike (but not childish) behavior also inspires others to care for you.
As a result, those who you befriend and date tend to be incredibly loyal to you.

crazy

Grades go in this week.
I hate grades. They’re a necessary evil, but I’m not sure how much they show about my students and what they know or don’t know.
My staffs know what my expectations are. If they’re not making As, I wonder what they’re doing in the program. Yearbook and newspaper are fun. They’re time consuming. They’re not required. If I have a kid on staff not making As I tell them to go take Home Ec. They’ll learn a lot about life and deadlines won’t reach out and smack them around. Usually that’s the only reason a staff kid doesn’t make the grade. They got in a fight with deadline and deadline won.
But my beginning classes are completely different. I have a mix of kids who wonder what in the world they’re doing stuck in some class called journalism. Or they’re excited and want to be on staff one day. Or they could care less about school. Regardless of which student they are, journalism is usually a new form of communication. Facts. Quotes. Transitions. Themes. They can’t believe it when I tell them they have to tell me what the story’s about and they have 30 words to do it and those 30 words have to fit in one sentence.
They’re just not used to hearing less is more when it comes to the written word.
I’m fully aware of this. So I’ve developed this crazy grading plan that works great for my students but nearly kills me. I let the kids revise their papers as often as they’d like to get them to As. I figure if they revise a paper three or four times but get it right and then get all papers right from then on, they’ve learned and that’s what matters.
The kids can’t believe it when I tell them as long as they meet deadline they have the opportunity to revise and revise until they get the A.
And at first, they think it’s the best thing ever. Until I give them revise papers three and four times. By the fifth or sixth time they’re writing a story, they pretty much hate it.
And I have about a thousand and ten of those papers they hate but keep revising to grade between now and Wednesday.
And if it goes as it usually does, those papers will finally be As. And once again my class will look like the easiest class in the building because even the kids who hate school are making As.
I can only hope. 🙂

bi-polar writing day

UGH. Enough said.

Music makes the Books Go Round

Okay. Here’s the deal. I’ve really hated my heroine. I liked her to begin with, but somewhere around page 57 she became a victim. A whiny victim at that. I wanted to knock her off myself, but there’s some rule about not killing your main characters in romance, so I was stuck with this vapid creature who was driving me insane page after page after endless page.
And let’s face it. If she’s driving me crazy, the editor’s not going to love her either. I could see the writing on the proverbial wall: Dear author. Thanks but no thanks. Your heroine needs a spine. Your hero should’ve run off with the waitress in chapter one and let the bad guys take care of business. Yada. Yada. Yada.

Then for some reason I had a magic moment of clarity. Callah’s problem was Enya. Or maybe it was ocean waves and thunderstorm.
I’m not sure.
But I do know the minute I loaded Ozzy, Van Halen, Journey, REO Speedwagon and Heart onto my iTunes playlist and started working, Callah completely changed. This gal’s got guts. She’s tough. She’s sexy. And she’s more than enough woman to handle poor Riley. He’s a little on the frustrated side right now. It’s perfect.
The bad guys are definitely going down now. They’re going to wish they’d never even started this little game of murder and mayhem.
And that editor better get ready.
Because this book rocks. Literally.

Writing Woes

Dh is looking for a car. DD is doing homework. Both hijack my laptop.
No More! They need to get their own toys. I’ve got a book to finish.
Of course, I don’t think I made that very clear since I was reading Do Me, Do My Roots, (incredible), Heart of the Dragon (hot, hot, hot and so good) and Princess in Training (I LOVE Mia!). Somehow my protests went unheeded until an hour ago when I closed PIT and growled, Give Me Back My Computer.
I think it’s mine again. 🙂

What were they Thinking???!

Okay. Here’s the deal. Alias is my guilty pleasure. I watch it and feel like I can conquer the world. It’s awesome.
And once upon a time, it came on Sunday nights. I watched it faithfully. Then they moved it to Wednesdays. Not good. I never get to watch Wednesdays. Every once in a while I can sneak in a Lost episode, but not all that often. DH kept saying tape the show, but I never have time to watch taped shows.
Now they’re moving my guilty pleasure to Thursdays. Opposite my favorite show ever. Survivor. And Survivor’s a big family event. We don’t even answer the phone during Survivor. We have Survivor parties. We’re Survivor Geeks.
Alias–the guilty pleasure VS. Survivor, the all-time favorite.
Sigh.
It’s not even a competition.
No more Alias for me. 😦