One of the most important – and most difficult – parts of teaching is providing constructive criticism without destroying a students’ belief that he or she is capable of succeeding in school.
I recently started reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and am working through some of the exercises she presents in her 12-week course. This morning’s task was to write about three old enemies of my creative self-worth.
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had a lot of encouragement of my writing endeavors throughout most of my life, so it was hard for me to think of three. Then I remembered my high school Rhetoric tea (more…)
Hard benches line hall, buzz of machinery – maybe the heat system? – behind locked doors, one woman alone at the end of the bench by the door, checks her Facebook on her phone. Spotted, filthy gray carpet.
Woman gets phone call, talks loud. “Yeah, everything is all about him, it always i (more…)
I can’t seem to write without reading. And when I do read, I always end up writing in the same genre I’ve been reading. When I read a lot of poetry, I find myself writing a lot of poetry. If I’ve read a couple of good YA novels in a row, my brain wants to write a YA novel. So, it was no surprise that an idea for a fantasy novel popped into my head right as I was finishing Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind a couple of weeks ago.
I was out for my almost-daily walk one morning when a couple of interesting characters began to have a conversation in my head. Normally when this happens, I reach for a pen and paper (or my laptop) and rush to capture these conversations word-for-word. What I usually end up with is a small bit of compelling dialogue that goes absolutely nowhere. (more…)
I never used to like purple. It was always way too girly for me.
When my older son was little, he insisted (much to his father’s chagrin) that his favorite color was purple. My son was about 3 years old when we bought our house. We asked him what color he wanted to paint his room, and he said, “Purple.” His dad threw a fit.
We asked this question again and again, and always the answer remained the same. We eventually painted the poor kid’s bedroom Buzz Lightyear Blue. He was happy enough with the new color, but once in a while, he would confess to me that he really wished it was purple.
Although my son eventually outgrew his purple fetish, the color had begun to grow on me. The fact that my brave little boy could stand up to his dad and keep asking for purple knowing that it would only get him in trouble was a symbol of hope for me. My son had a voice of his own, and he was not afraid to use it. (more…)
My Written Communication students are writing a booklet of essays that they will be turning in at the end of this semester, and I’m planning to write a booklet of my own along with them. This week we learned about the descriptive essay in class, so they must write a descriptive essay by our next meeting. The students have been planning their essays for several weeks, but I’m just now thinking of mine. I can’t decide what to write about. I know, I should have made my outline right along with them.
The final booklet of essays will contain essays using each of the following patterns of development: (more…)
My Dream Career
If you could have any job, what would you do? This is a typical first date question, job interview question, or composition class free writing topic, one whose answer may provide a great deal of insight into the life of the respondent. If you were to ask this question of me, my answer would surely provide insight into my psyche simply because the way I would answer is far different than the average American. (more…)
Yesterday, my Written Communication students workshopped their very first essays of the semester. I don’t like to ever ask my students to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself, so I wrote an essay along with them.
Early in the semester, I asked them to write ideas for free writing topics on little slips of paper that I placed in an envelope. We do a 10 – 15 minute free write in every class session. Sometimes I have a topic planned, and sometimes I’ll pull a couple of their ideas from the envelope and let them choose one. Usually, unless I have something I need to do to prepare for the next portion of the class, I’ll sit and free write with them. I think this is a useful activity for any w (more…)