Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rules, Rationale, and Rantings

Respect everyone - I recently had a young male student say, "that a girl" to me, after I gave him points back on a quiz answer he technically got right but misspelled badly (with a word bank I might add). Besides being rude in general, that's no way to treat any teacher, young or not. I don't give two figs if I look young enough to be your sister; I'm not so don't treat me like I am. (Don't treat your sister like that either, unless you want to be smacked.) I've lost count of the times students have put each other down, albeit sometimes "deservedly."

Spelling Counts if you have a word bank - If I'm going to bother to make up a word bank, at least have the decency to use it. If I misspell something, then that's my mistake and you copying that mistake won't be counted against you. Typos do occasionally happen, but not usually when you're writing things by hand.

No cell phones or ipods or ipod nanos or anything else distracting - Students do not need to text message each other in the middle of my class.

No talking during a quiz or test - There are plenty of other opportunities to talk and add your two cents to classroom discussions. If you talk during my test or quiz and I feel in a really really really good mood you get a verbal warning, but otherwise and if it happens consistently you fail the quiz or test. I can only assume you're cheating. If you need a pencil (which you shouldn't), you raise your hand and address your concern to me.

Throw things away in the beginning or end of class - There should be no reason to get up in the middle of class to throw something away.

Prepared for class - means having notebook, book, working pens or pencils, and being IN your seat.

Blogging Contests

Sweet. More ops for money. Write away sweet-ums.
Maybe you shall win the blogging contests.

Read the whole post, but here's the low-down on the words.
May 07 – “Fantasy”
June 07 - “Fairy”
July 07 - “Mermaid”
Aug 07 - “Dragon”
Sept 07 - “Sexy”
Oct 07 - “Dark”
Nov 07 – “Humor”
Dec 07 – “Politics”
Jan 08 – “Girl”
Feb 08 – “Magic”
March 08 – “Sports”
April 08 – “War”

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Liquid Prayers (4.25.07)

As promised, I let the whole tragedy at Virginia Tech seep into me for a solid's the usual it is a song:

Liquid Prayers (4/25/2007)

One week slipped by, then almost two.
Each moment made the pain recede,
But I wanted to cry....
I wanted to cry for the angry man
Who stole so many lives.
I wanted to cry for the people
Who would never see home again.
Wanted to cry for the strangers
Mourning a loved one lost.
Wanted to pour out liquid prayers

For everyone
wounded in body, spirit, and soul.

Imagine my dismay when I discovered,
Something deep within holds my tears at bay.
Have I seen too much to cry?
Or is there too much to cry for?

Though no tears may come,
My heart will weep.
I will weep for the angry man,
For those who fell that day,
For everyone beyond our help.
I will weep for the strangers
Whose pain may not recede.
I will pour our liquid prayers

To bind w
ounds of body, spirit and soul.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Reflections, One Week Post VT Shootings

Nearly everyone remembers which elementary school, high school, college, and other school they've ever attended. But the world only remember the tragedies. Why? Columbine, Virginia Tech, and any other place with a shooting, bomb scare, or other threat become lodged in our minds, our hearts, our souls. But why?

After watching a bit of news coverage Tuesday, I forgot all about Virginia Tech for the rest of last week. Is that a good, bad, or normal thing? Part of me feels every day should have opened with a prayer for the families of the fallen and everyone else touched in a deep way. The other part of me, the cynical one, just shrugs helplessly and says, "Well, it's just one more sign of sin in the world." There's even a small bit of an even more selfish me who says, "Well, thank God it wasn't me."

I go about my business as usual, barely sparing a stray thought for the victims. How did I become so callus? What sort of self-preservation trickery of the mind deadens my emotions so? I'm sure if I wanted to I could make myself cry over the incident, but what would these tears mean? Certainly nothing to those around me; we're all tucked safe in our emotional bubbles.

Maybe one day I'll write a poem or song to mark the occasion, but for now, these wandering thoughts will have to do.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Each Poem, A Song

I've tried to explain this process before, but yesterday, I got frustrated with that darn old Blogger program, so I decided to start over. About 99.9% of the poems I write are actually songs. The process takes about 30-45 minutes from start to finish once I actually start writing. Basically, the first step is to think of a tune to nonsensical words. For example, with Journey of Discovery, I started with words sort of like: "Eh ah ma say hey,
ona mon ee eh
Eh ah ma see eh
com ma ee eh
ah mat tea eh a mat tea eh"

The first step, however, the tune one, can last for days, weeks, or even months. Then, depending on which words I chose, the tune may change slightly. Taking that tune, the words became: "Always thought I knew (Eh ah ma say hey)
All I needed to about plants. (Eh a ma see eh ah monee eh)
But I was wrong, so very wrong (eh ah moh say, see ah moh see)
So many things I did not know (Soh ah ma tay, ah see monee)
Suddenly came to life for me (so ma tee eh a ma tea eh)
when I began to study. (Too ah moh nee ah sooee)

Each bit and piece of that original tune is like a puzzle piece. While writing the poem, I mentally pick it apart and paste the pieces together in a different order. Words, in any language I suppose, though I only know English well, have a natural rhythm to them. They take themselves higher or lower as they please.

Journey of Discovery

Yes, I'm somewhat of a teaching dork:-)

Journey of Discovery (4/6/07)

Always thought I knew

All I needed to about plants,

But I was wrong, so very wrong.

So many things I did not know

Suddenly came to life for me

When I began to study.

Even as the parts and phyla blur

Their importance is becoming clear.

So, come with me on a journey.

Oh, the air I breathe is sweeter now.

The clothes I wear are nicer;

The food I eat is richer,

Just to know the source.

So, come with me on a journey of discovery.

Maybe we’ll find bits and pieces

Of a past we did not know.

Maybe we’ll come across some truths

To keep the future safe and bright.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Current Projects

I've never shared this much about my writing before, but I guess it's all gotta come out sometime. Like I said in my other blog, most of my fantasy writing is done for the Legends of Mernac, an online writing and art community with the potential to be much more. I've been haunting that place for about six months or so, and I know I've grown as a writer just by virtue of sheer practice. I'd never tried fantasy before, but since joining Mernac, I've written about Merfolk, rangers, horses, potion makers, a bug race, and lots more.

Outside Mernac, I have several science fiction novels in the works. I think the series will be 5 books long, and being 2 books into the process, I guess I'm somewhere around 35% done. A small publisher is currently looking at the sample chapters for the first novel *cross fingers*. Without going into specifics, that series is about a planet whose political climate changes more times than I change undies, which I assure you is frequent.

I'm also a part of My Writing Friend, which is another online writing critique community. In this one, the head lady will give three topics each month and ask all members to write a story concerning one of those three.

The 10-yr-old from Georgia, is Jillian. She's a blast to write. I might even post her stories here. I haven't quite figured out what to do with her, since she doesn't really fit into children's literature, nor does she fit adults or YA exactly. She's just: Jillian, the southern gal with an all-knowing Nana.

Musings on Writing and Self-Publishing

I'm a self-published author. Some swear that's the death of a writing career, and perhaps it is. The question of whether self-publishing is a good thing or not truly depends on what you expect to get out of it. For me, it worked out rather neutrally. I can't say it completely killed a writing career because I never had one to kill, nor can I say it launched me to the highest peaks of success. I can say, however, that the experience was invaluable.

The major downfall with self-publishing is, of course, that anyone with a bit of money can do it. Literally hundreds of publishers are ready to "make you a star". Most of those are flat-out crooks, too, but let's put that point aside for now. Even the legitimate companies, who tell you what they're all about, are first out there for themselves, then out there for you. You must understand this if you wish to pursue self-publishing with your "eyes open".

The second downfall of self-publishing is that unless you pay someone to edit your work, the editor is you. This is how 10-12 grammatical mistakes made it through to publishing. Most of those are small comma errors, but a few are more "doh!" worthy.

Write because you love it sounds so cliche, but it's true. Very few gain great financial success, but there's something sweet about the craft of writing itself.

The greatest boon for self-publishing is the opportunity to learn while you play. Writing allows one to ask questions and explore life through someone else. My poor characters go through a lot, but sometimes they ask for it. Getting into the mind of a psycho bent on controlling a planet and a spunky ten-year-old from GA are two completely different things, yet both types of character have something to teach us about their world, which by extension also teaches us about our world.