Category Archives: Life

The End of a School Year

The school year is coming to a close. That means several things. First, I’ll have more time to actually blog. April and May seem to be the busiest months of the year.

Second, it means saying goodbye to my seniors. Two years ago, my first batch of students graduated. These ones were my 8th graders from when I taught middle school English. Since then, I’ve had graduates every year.

Now, though, it’s a little different. Most of my outgoing seniors have had me both as a middle school English and high school French teacher. That means that I’ve had some of them for five of their thirteen years in school.

Every year, I think about the students I’ll miss. This year, one of them has a special place in my heart. Several years ago, I taught a middle school creative writing class that focused on novel writing, including going through NaNoWriMo together. Some of them weren’t so serious about it, but others really put their writing skills and passion to the test and wrote at least 30,000 words. This student is one of the ones who did it with me.

Even though he’s been in my French classes for three years, we haven’t really talked much about writing lately. That is, until Senior Breakfast. He was remembering great times while holding my daughter. And he reminded me of that creative writing class and the novel he was working on.

Like me, he’s set his novel aside for now. Life is busy, and he knows that novel needs a lot of work. Sounds familiar.

I think the most amazing thing, though, is how talking to him has given me a renewed desire to get back to work. When I started playing around with the formula I’ve been using for years, I wasn’t quite sure that it was working. In the past few days, though, new ideas are starting to occur to me. New layers that I hadn’t considered before are showing up, and I’m starting to wonder if perhaps things should play out a little differently than they are now.

Does that mean I’m going to whip the novel back out and start working? Maybe not quite yet. Maybe I need the pace to slow a little more before I can. But it does give me some fresh motivation to keep going. (I’m sure extra two hours of sleep last night are helping as well.) After all, I made a deal with a certain high school graduate to send him the novel when I’m done, and I don’t want to disappoint him.

What inspires you to get back to writing when you’ve lost motivation or are sucked into the busyness of life?

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Reliving My Childhood: The Dark Crystal

As an adult, I realize that I grew up watching a lot of random things.  They certainly explain my love of sci-fi and fantasy, but some of the movies were pretty obscure.

One of my all time favorites is The Dark Crystal.  This Jim Henson gem’s cast is comprised of only puppets, and it was revolutionary. A couple of months ago, it made an appearance in theaters for its 35th anniversary, and my mom and I went to enjoy it on the big screen.

One of the best things about going to special showings like this is the commentary that usually accompanies them. Not only did we learn that the original cut didn’t feature much English (changing that was a good move), but also that there’s more to the story: there are two books about the world of Thra.

While I haven’t read either of them yet, I’m looking forward to learning more about a world I fell in love with so long ago. WP_20180407_14_28_17_Pro (2)

Are you familiar with The Dark Crystal? What are some of your favorite movies?

 

 


The Wrong Way to Blog?

I feel deeply conflicted as I write this.  This post represents a month of debate that ended in the decision to give it a try, even though it doesn’t seem quite right. So what has left me feeling so unsettled? Writing a blog post on my phone.

I know it sounds strange. Perhaps even a bit OCD. But it reminds me of moving into reading ebooks as well as bound ones. The experience feels different, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

There’s a certain delight that comes with writing by hand. The sensation of words passing from hand to ink to paper. The art of loops and lines that are uniquely mine.

There’s a delight to the keyboard too. The click of each letter as it appears on the screen, far faster than my hand could write them with a pen.

On a phone, there’s no flourish or satisfying click. It’s silent. And while I relish silence, I’m not sure if it’s lovely or eerie.

Like many things in life right now, practically rules. It’s the practical option. With a baby cuddled in one arm, it’s impossible to work at a keyboard. So here I sit, phone in hand, wondering if creativity can flow through one thumb.

So what’s the verdict after writing this post on a phone? Like an ebook, it isn’t the same. However, it’s not just how the words end up on the screen. It’s the delight of capturing those words whenever they want to come, and the phone allows that to happen.

How do you prefer to write? Do you write posts on your phone or would you be as hesitant to do it as I was?


A Month of Geeky Holidays

It’s been longer than I intended since my last post, but here I am.

Since the last time, there have been several big holidays on the calendar. Obviously Easter, which is one of my favorites, but there are a couple geeky ones sprinkled throughout as well.

One of the best things about it this year is that I get to introduce them to my daughter. Yeah, she’s only a few months old so she won’t remember, but it will get her started on the right foot in life.

March 25: Tolkien Reading Day/The Anniversary of the Fall of Sauron

This has always been one of my favorites. It’s a great excuse to immerse myself into Tolkien’s works, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Of course, she has just the right onsie for the occasion. (I think my daughter was born to be a Hobbit, like me… though her build might make her look more like an Elf.)

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… Or things that she always seems to be saying to me. 

April 5: First Contact Day

Yesterday is the future anniversary of the Vulcans’ arrival on Earth. (Sounds like something you could only say in Back to the Future.) While it’s another 45 years before they’re supposed to arrive, why not start celebrating now?

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Always have to have some tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And this year, in a new mug from a friend. 

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All Star Trek and all girl. 

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What geekling bedroom is complete without Picard and Worf? 

Do you celebrate any geeky holidays? Did you do anything special for Tolkien Reading Day or First Contact Day?


What Dreams Are Made of: A Short Story Revisited

The house is quiet. The baby is asleep, the cat is lounging in a window, and my husband isn’t home yet. My imagination is itching to tell a story.

I scroll through my Pinterest board, looking for a prompt to start everything off, and I find one that reminds me of something from about three years ago.

Back when my husband and I first started watching Dr. Who, I had a series of particularly unusual dreams. They were weird enough to inspire a flurry of story ideas, and upon remembering it, they make my fingers fidgety. So I decide to do something about it. I am finally going to write something based on them.

I remember that I had posted about them, so I search through the blog for that post. But to my surprise, today’s idea isn’t new. I have already begun writing about the strange dreams.

Even more surprising, though, I realize that I never finished the story. All right, so that’s not the most surprising thing since there are several stories on this blog that began to take shape but were abandoned. (Not forever, necessarily.) However, this story already had so much to it. I was sure that I had to have finished it. But I haven’t.

So, it’s time to revisit the story and actually finish it this time. Three years late is better than never, right?

What Dreams Are Made of (Part 1) is available here. Next week, expect Part 2!


The Happiness Project: Life in a Sentence

It’s been a while since my last post. The end of pregnancy and beginning of motherhood have been busy, but I’m back now. : )

So far, most of my time has been spent tending my little family (including my sweet cat, who’s handling the transition well), but thanks to my husband, I’ve found some daily time for writing… even though it’s only a sentence or two.

For Christmas, he bought me a special journal. I’ve kept ones for years, but this is one I’d actually be willing to share. And I have every intention to once our daughter is older.

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There are several different Happiness Project journals out there, but this one is specifically for mothers.

There have been times when I’ve thought about doing different daily writing exercises kind of like this, like taking a moment from the day and recording it like a scene. But thinking about the day and encapsulating it into one to two sentences has been a great experience.

Throughout the day, I find myself composing what I might write about and reflecting on this new season of life. And it’s brought even more joy to the experience as I think about what I want to remember when my baby is too big to sleep on the Boppy pillow on my lap while I sit at the computer.

It’s come to be a part of the day that I look forward to, and something that has kept me actively writing, even though it’s only been in little chunks here and there.

Do you have a routine writing exercise you like to do? Do you keep a journal?


The Mystery of the Alarm Clock: An Update

In early December, my beloved alarm clock took on a life of its own. I’m not sure if it decided that it would rather communicate with words, if it had an odd obsession with the letter j, or if it decided that it fancied postmodernism. In any case, here’s the weird story of what happened.

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A few weeks ago, the alarm clock’s story took a new turn. After functioning fine (besides refusing to show the other), the alarm itself stopped working and the numbers and the j had vanished. It showed that it was playing the music with a red light, but there was no music to be heard. It was like a silent death knell.

I wandered despondently into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Where would I find another alarm clock that could take its place? Not only did it play music — which is my preferred way of waking — but it represented years of memories. What was I to do?

When I came back into the bedroom, my husband was just walking away from the nightstand. Behind him, the alarm clock glowed green again. Not just that, but it was all numbers. No more j.

I asked him what he did.

He had done what I was too afraid to do. He unplugged it and plugged it back in. And it had worked. This is the second time he’s saved it while we’ve been married. Fortunately, this time was much easier than taking it completely apart and reassembling it. That’s true love right there.

Now, the alarm clock is back to working normally again. Hopefully, it’ll keep working for a long time to come.