One of my students wrote an amazing column for the last paper of the year about her constant truancy. She likes school. Likes her teachers. Loves her friends. But when it comes time to get out of bed, she just can’t make herself. When I read her story, it resonated with me. Only my truancy applies to the gym. I love a great cardio workout, I enjoy classes and time on the elliptical. I haven’t eaten sugar since the end of Spring Break. It’s getting to the gym that’s the problem. I love it once I’m there, but making myself go is torture. I mess with my shoes and my audible account and check Facebook one last time and do dishes or vacuum or call my mom. Until this week I put off the gym for over six months. Then this week happened and I had two great days, one crazy day where going to the Y was out of the question, and then yesterday, the day I chose to do laundry and clean the bathroom instead of making my way to the gym (possibly an all-time low). Today, I made myself go. I opened tweet deck, checked Facebook, played Bejeweled Blitz, ran (no, not that kind of run) up to the school, played with grand doggy, watched Gossip Girl (the Darota Wedding, totally worth it), finally made myself get in the car, realized I didn’t have the book I’m listening to on my iPhone, went back inside to download Insurgent by Veronica Roth because I HAVE to listen to something if I’m on the elliptical, and FINALLY made it to the Y. It’s a miracle. I’m tired just writing about everything I did before going.
Once I was there, I loved it. I love the way my heart races and how after 40-45 minutes of cardio I feel like I can really breathe. I love the way my shirt gets sweaty and I look like an athlete even though I’m the least athletic person I know. I love the smell of the anti-bacterial spray we use to wipe down the machines and the sound of weights from the room next door. I love the Y. And still, I know tomorrow I’ll put it off, dreading the moment I make myself get in the car. It makes no sense.
Maybe if I can figure it out, I can help my truant students, too.
Don’t forget Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee, new this month. Guardian Angel training’s a tough gig. One wrong step and someone dies.
Order it here!
Posted in adviser, fitness, low carb, newspaper, teaching
Tagged adviser, Dead Girl Walking, DGW, Elizabeth Lee, fitness, newspaper, teacher, truancy, workout, YMCA
One of my favorite writing stories comes from a Charlaine Harris interview. A reporter asked her how she responded to critics who said she got the vampire mythology wrong. Harris leaned forward, looked at the reporter and gravely said that vampires aren’t real, so she could do what she wanted with them.
Last night while explaining my new young adult book Dead Girl Walking,I told Mom (#1 fan) that my guardian angel protagonist is a murder victim who has to figure out the identity of her murderer before the killer strikes again. She said that’s not how it really works with angels. I felt like I’d arrived. 🙂
Off to the revision cave on A Different Kind of Hero. Conflict is calling my name. As in I forgot about including it on the page. Don’t forget to leave reviews for books you read by indie authors. Word of mouth is our best promotion.
The number of times I sat down to write post and hit delete instead: 30
Or maybe it was more.
The last weeks of school were spent doing almost anything other than educating students. From 7:45-12:30 students sat in rooms where they were supposed to take tests that showed whether or not they had learned anything. Or, if they were sophomores-seniors, they sat in rooms where they tested to show testing companies what questions should be used on a test and where cut scores should be set. Or they bubbled B (or if they were creative ABBA) for all their answers and put their heads down to sleep.
When we were told we’d test 45 days this school year, I don’t think the impact of that hit until we were in the midst of the test days. Then it was too late to plan a way to keep an afternoon class on task. Seat of the pants lessons to keep learners engaged became the name of my game. I’m still not sure how my kids made their final newspaper deadlines, but they did. Yearbook distribution without announcements…don’t even get me started.
By the time the year was done, I was exhausted and the students looked like they’d been through a war. I’m a student media adviser. I can’t imagine what my core teacher friends felt like.
At the end of testing I took two seniors to the State Academic meet. One won 6th in headlines. I love when the kids medal at State! State was moved to the end of the school year because of testing. Testing runs everything in our school system now. 10 years ago if you had told me our last six weeks would be built solely around tests, that nothing else would matter, I would have laughed. Joke’s on us, the educators, who sat quietly back and let this happen. Who became pawns to educationese like formative and summative and common core, rubrics, holistic grading, and data, data, data. I embraced those words. I believed in them.
I’m not sure what the answers are, but I know this testing monster we’ve created isn’t the answer we’re looking for.
On the bright side all this testing has pushed me to write like never before. I have a new young adult novel out this month. It’s my first contemporary YA, and I’m excited to hear what people think. I’m working on an inspirational romance and I’m revising a contemporary romance. Maybe I should send thank you notes to TEA and Pearson. They’ve inspired me.
I’ll be keeping up with education politics, and I’m sure I’ll blog about it over the summer. The last few weeks of school, I couldn’t. It made me want to cry.
Thank God for summer!
My new book: Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee. Get it here.
Posted in adviser, books, education, education finance, newspaper, school, teaching, writing, yearbook
Tagged DGW, education, Elizabeth Lee, testing, writing, young adult
I finished the second set of revisions and the full synopsis on my new book today, so it’s back to blogging as usual.
I’m going to let the manuscript sit and percolate before going back in for one more revision. If I get a request from the agent I’m targeting I’ll go back immediately. If I don’t hear from her, I’m going to let the book sit a month while I work on a different manuscript that’s about half done.
I don’t know what the weather’s like where you live, but this book revision ended with the winds roaring. My house smells like dirt, and the sky is a nasty shade of red brown that accompanies 50 mph wind gusts.
On the bright side, it’s not freezing.
On the not so bright side, I’m sick. I don’t know if it’s the dirt or if I’ve picked up a a bug. Hope it’s the dirt!
I’ve fretted for over twenty-four hours on revisions and it hit me today that all the worrying is RIDICULOUS because I’m using it as an excuse NOT to work. I know it’s going to be hard work, and I’m avoiding it…like I avoid exercise and shaving my legs every day and vacuuming. Only I love this story, so I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself. I need to get the egg timer out and use it. And I need to turn OFF the wifi. The “You know you grew up in Burkburnett” facebook pages is taking up tons of time because I can’t stop reading it. 🙂 I’m going to use this nostalgia in a book one day.
What I’m working on: DGW, YA light paranormal. Main characters: Addy and Sharlene. Who knew all that time watching Mad Men would end up being HELPFUL to the books. This pic is VERY important to DGW.
So are the next two.
Time to stop procrastinating. Chapter 2, I’m done avoiding you.
Don’t forget Prodigal is on sale now. Click the link to buy or preview. Coupon Code: ZH29T good this week! Use it and the book’s only $0.99! Sisters with secrets.
Eighteen years ago, Cass Deason Myers ran away from home and heartbreak. Now she’s running away again, this time to the home she left behind. A preacher’s wife, Cass finds herself questioning her faith and her marriage. Her sister’s phone call asking for help with their mother provides the perfect opportunity to escape.
Anna Deason-Fite-Turner doesn’t want or need help for herself or her three daughters. But her mother is another story all together. Calling Cass is a last resort. But when Anna finds the bottle of pills in Momma’s dresser drawer, she knows she has to call her sister. Unfortunately, Anna knows when Cass comes home the whispers will start, and once again, everyone in town will compare perfect Cass to her failure of a sister, even though she’s the one who stayed behind.
Prodigal: a story about family, faith and the redemptive power of love.