The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Whine or Wine?

        Several of my writing friends have stories in this collection, among them Linda O'Connell and Donna Volkenannt. The book was edited by Dahlynn and Ken McKowen, and Dianna Graveman. (The anthology includes a story by Dianna as well.) These books will hit the shelves on April 8--a little over a month away.

     My story "More Wine" is about our son. In his teenaged years, d'boy was exasperating  squirrely  unique. His trips in cars often became adventures...and sometimes costly ones. His antics with the marching band were laughable (if he had been someone else's kid). He was suspended once in his junior year of high school...for an unusual transgression.

     Now, he's in his mid-twenties and is awaiting word on acceptance into medical school. He turned all my hair gray and once that mission was accomplished, he straightened up and became a young man I'm extremely proud of.

This is my son on his graduation day
from Drury University a couple of years ago.

         If you have kids, what drove you the furthest over the crazy cliff?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Black History

       In February (the shortest month), as a third grade teacher, we're studying African Americans who have made a difference. Some of my personal heroes are Jackie Robinson, Mae Jemison, and Henry "Box" Brown. 

       To celebrate both Black History Month (February) and Women's Month (March), Jennifer Brown Banks (a blogger I follow) wrote the below poem that she's generously sharing

      Oh, you don't know her? Jennifer Brown Banks is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in : Poetic Voices, Rolling Out Magazine, Being Single Magazine, Curbside Splendor and several anthologies.


(For soul sisters)

by Jennifer Brown Banks

Defiant hair,

Undeniable flair,


To spare,

Like wine

We rare

Full hips

Mo-than-our-share lips,

Skin that’s been

Sun kissed,

Like wine

We rare

Sassy, beautiful

And bold

Breaking the mold,

Our greatness untold,

Like wine

We rare

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Old School...Or New School?

      Years ago when I first began teaching, there was a chalkboard in my classroom. Every time I filled the board up, I'd erase, then use a wet cloth, so I'd have a clean slate.

      It was time-consuming. Waiting for the streaks on the blackboard to get thinner and thinner until they finally disappeared.

      Then came the dry erase boards. Initially, I thought they were inferior to blackboards. In fact, when I changed school districts and saw that--in my new classroom--there was a dry-erase board mounted on top of a chalkboard, I wanted to fill out a job request to right the wrong.

       Thankfully, I thought before I opened my mouth (which is a rare occurrence).

       Now, of course, I have a Smartboard in my classroom. I can't imagine ever mourning the demise of my chalkboard. I can write with my finger, I can change colors just by moving a "pen" to a different spot, I can erase an entire page with a swirl of my finger, I can draw arrows  to something on a projected website...there is all sorts of "magic" I can perform. And yet, sometimes, doing things in an old-fashioned, cumbersome way has its benefits...

      For example, I'm working on a longish project--closer to 100,000 words than 50,000 * (but not by much). When I got ready to send it to my unfortunate friend beta reader, I eagerly asked her how she wanted it. Did she want me to send her a hard copy? (I asked with some anticipatory spit forming at the corners of my mouth.) I was looking forward to hitting print and then watching as the pages accumulated in the printer tray and most of the ink getting slurped up.

         She couldn't revise via a computer screen, could she? (I asked with a knowing smirk.) I was just asking so I appeared like I knew what the options were. Certainly, I knew there was only one choice.

       I admit, I was disappointed when she said, "Send it in a Word document." My finger, poised over the button to make it print, hesitated for a pathetic moment before it returned to my lap.

       But, when she sends it back with her suggestions highlighted and underlined and crossed out and whatever other magical ways she's going to mark her ideas, I will print it out and look at it as I revise. Because I will have to have a hard copy in front of me as I decide how the piece needs to morph and what it will ultimately look like on the white page. That's me doin' it old-school style.

     And occasionally, when I am somewhere on a friend's computer--with only a printer and without internet...when I only have a paper and glue/spiral journal (as opposed to an electronic "notebook")...I combine old school and new school. I have to retype from a hard copy and as I do so, I'm looking at it with new eyes...because I have to carefully look from one to the other to make sure I'm getting it down correctly. And while I'm typing, I'm revising. It's something I sometimes do on purpose--print something but deliberately not save it--so I will be forced to look at it again...with a pair of fresh eyes.

     How about you? What do you like to do that's considered "old school" instead of in the new-fangled fashion? It could be a recipe or a cooking technique...It could be writing hand-written letters instead of emails. (Yes, Lynn, my finger is pointed at you.)

     Share, please.

*Of course, once my first editing friend gets done crossing out the parts that are boring/that are self-indulgent/that don't move the story forward/that are confusing/that aren't funny, my novel will be 13 words long...