Losing Purchase

wewriwa_square_4It’s been a long time since I’ve been a participant at Weekend Writing Warrior. I could give all of the excuses (er….reasons), but instead I think I’ll just say I’m happy to have made it back. And also that I’m NaNoing to get this sucker done. So, cap off to all those other NaNoers out there. You can do it!

Weekend Writing Warrior recap:

  • Sign up on the site.
  • Post 8 sentences of your writing, published or unpublished, to go live between 12:00 noon Saturday and 9AM Sunday
  • Then visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8 sentence posts.
  • Spread the word! Twitter hashtag #8sunday.
  • More detailed rules here.

I’m sharing snippets from a wip called The First Nation.  Last time I checked in with the Weekend Warriors, Raveena (our mc) had just left work and had returned home, to find her father sick, though she believed him to be simply drunk, as usual. We’re going to fast-forward a bit in the story to right before we meet a very important frenemy in Raveena’s life.

*

I hadn’t been shuffling through the cave for more than 10 minutes when I heard a sound that I had not made; it was the sound of boots. I would always recognize it in a tunnel, and they weren’t mine.

I was backing down the tunnel the way I came before I’d had time to consider who could possibly be down here with me.

Of course, that’s when he fell.

He didn’t call out for help, but it wouldn’t have been of any use, anyway, as far as he knew. I heard the slip of his feet, the explosion of breath that turned to a wrenching yell when he tried to catch himself, and then there the slide of his feet continuously losing purchase.

He was not coming back up the ledge he’d slipped across, and he wouldn’t without my help.

I didn’t want to give it.

*

That’s my 8! Now, get on over to the Weekend Writing Warriors and check out some other great 8s. :)

Teacher Tips

teacher owlI have just begun my fourth year teaching, and I can say that I’ve gotten enough of a hold on it that I might be able to help someone who feels like they don’t. Maybe. I hope.

Here’s the thing. You’re probably always going to feel like you can do better, because you can. And you’re probably always going to question if you’ve really got it under control, I mean–if you’re anything like me. If not, you can stop reading now & you should write a book. Because you’re golden.

But if you are like me, then maybe these things might help out a little…

    “Keep your head, Skywalker–you will make it” List.

1. Be careful about bankrupting yourself at the beginning of the year. Or for the rest of the year. You’re gonna need to space out bankrolling your classroom. It’s gonna be a long year, babe. Don’t be afraid to send out a class needs list at the beginning of each semester.
2. Don’t try be your students’ friend or parole officer. You’re neither. They will not always like you, but you should be authoritative, but an authoritarian. It’s different. The first kind of reacher is consistent and clear about expectations, allowing for growth and the comfortable feeling that mistakes and being wrong are a natural part of learning. The second type of teacher makes kids scared to ask questions. That’s not good for anyone.
3. Organize constantly. Come up with systems that work for you & stick to them. Your room is going to overflow with many things. Find a place for these things when you can and don’t mind asking responsible/trustworthy students to help you keep these things together. Don’t quit on a system because it doesn’t work the first week you roll it out.
4. Grade constantly. There will be points where it still piles up, but if you grade continually, it’ll be more manageable and you’ll pull out less hair.
5. Befriend the staff at your school. Everyone has to work together, if you want the community to be effective, and if the secretaries like you, you’ll always be able to make copies. ;)

Good luck.

New book from an old fave

Laurell K. Hamilton made me want to write. She’s how I fell in love with Urban Fantasy. She is still a daily inspiration. And she’s coming out with a new book. I’m going to be honest. I don’t think I’ve read the last…three she’s published, though I own most of them. I just haven’t quite been in the mood. But that doesn’t change my love for her wonderful empire.

When the sun falls & the moon lights…#musicmonday

I expected a lot more from the album Oxymoron, just because Schoolboy Q was associated with A$AP Rocky, who I consider a bit prolific. But I’ve learned association doesn’t always mean all that. That being said, I still own four or so songs off of this album that I quite love, including “Hell of a Night.” And this record is EXACTLY what I was looking for from this rapper. Weird, little experimental diddy. Fantastically catchy; different. Indulgent. Fun. Groovy.

take a listen

Writing a thesis? 5 quick tips that might keep your brain from going KABOOM.

apblog-mwahahahaI just finished my thesis.

I graduated.

But it was an undertaking.

And the scope is hard to realize until you’re in the midst of it, floating amongst the wreckage of countless articles, books, theories and half-realized dreams…but once I was safely ashore, I realized that there were a few things that made it very much bearable. And maybe it’ll help some other poor, cross-eyed soul in the aether.

Good luck, friends.

    Thesis Tips to Keep your Brain in One Piece

1. Choose a topic that you’re not only passionate about, but will be able to spend months of time on. It will be a topic that you will be in the thick of for a long time, so you better be able to come back to it again. And again. And again.
2. When you choose a thesis director, ask a professor who knows at least some of your body of work, someone who has challenged you to improve. It also needs to be someone you’re comfortable with.
3. Make yourself a schedule and share it with your director, so they can help keep you on track. Otherwise, you will find yourself with a lot less time than you thought and 3x the work. It’s easy to put things off. It’s hard as hell to get caught up.
4. Regardless of whether you’re an outliner or pantser, write an outline. Write many outlines–pre-drafting, during drafting, post-drafting. Keep your thesis (your whole point) in mind during every chapter, or you will find yourself adrift.
5. You won’t be able to fit everything in this sucker. Save the stuff that won’t fit for later. It’s OK. If you’re like me, you’re a glutton for punishment and you’ll go back for more. And you’ll have the material for the more already in a Word document. Which you have saved in many, many places, because you’re a good little researcher.

And breathe. A lot. Don’t cut out the fun stuff in your life, because you’re going to need that release now more than ever.