Tag Archives: writing

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Good Writing

This post made me chuckle.

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Filed under Re-Blogs

Tuesday musings — 8/20/2013

No witty quotes today.

I started a new job as a residential assistant at a drug and alcohol treatment center. I’ve done several training shifts and will be officially on the schedule come September.

I’m waiting for my substitute teaching license to come through. I sent my paperwork in June, but my check for the $25 license fee didn’t get processed until August 1.

My tutoring job is slow at the moment. School is starting this week, and my student needs to adjust her hours.

My home care job is slowing down. One of my clients no longer needs me, and another decided she doesn’t like me and wants another caregiver. As soon as the substitute teaching jobs come in and I get my September schedule at the treatment center, I’ll be giving notice. Three jobs is quite enough. Four is asking for trouble.

Last night (really, early this morning) I had a vivid dream that I thought would make, at the least, a good short story. I wake up, fire up my computer, and bupkes. The inner critic starts telling me why I can’t write it. I don’t remember half my characters’ names. I realize I would have to publish under a nom de plume, given the subject matter.

The day’s not a total loss. I’m watching Big Trouble and Little Trouble play, and I have plans to go out with a friend later. I can still get some errands done. I can work on an old writing project that I’ve decided to resurrect.

I can read one of the library books that’s piled up on my windowsill. There’s quite an eclectic selection there. Short stories by Kurt Vonnegut, letters of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, a graphic novel or two, novels of the Harlem Renaissance, essays by David Sedaris. Surely one of them can offer me a respite from this loose ends feeling.

Thank you for reading. I’ll be back to my usual self soon, I’m sure.




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Happy 100th Post to me!

It’s appropriate that I should reach the 100 post milestone now, since many schools where I teach celebrated the 100th day of school this week or last week. So, I’m having a little blog party, and you all are invited!


Filed under That's So Pomo, Writing

The Liebster Award – Part I

A Way With Words nominated me for a Liebster Award! Read about the late Lawrence Liebster, who inspired the award. 

Liebster Award


The rules for the award:

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.

2. Answer 11 questions selected by the person who nominated you.

3. Make up 11 more questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers.

11 random facts about me:

1. I attended a grade school that had 125 students in grades K-8. The school couldn’t afford a building, so each class had a trailer.

2. When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian, a nun, and a farmer when I grew up (not all at the same time).

3. I majored in physics and psychology (again, not at the same time) before I settled on a degree in English.

4. I joined a sorority in college.

5. I have a bookcase in my living room that I painted one night when I couldn’t sleep.

6. My favorite subjects in high school were math, biology, and world history.

7. I once had five different jobs at the same time. I won’t do that again.

8. When I work up the nerve to do karaoke, my go-to song is “All Along the Watchtower.”

9. One of my cats is named after a Charles Dickens character.

10. My maternal grandmother used to grind her own coffee, and my brother and I would steal the beans from the jar and eat them.

11. I occasionally participate in drum circles and open-mic poetry nights.

1)  What brand of deodorant do you use? – Suave. I usually try to keep my personal care products cruelty-free, but natural deodorants don’t work for me. I’m a big girl. I sweat.

2)  What book(s) are you reading now? – Just finished Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon and am working on a compilation of Dashiell Hammett short stories.

3)  If you were a Beatle, who would you be (John, Paul, George, or Ringo)? – John. He was an idealist and strongly interested in visual arts.

4) Name one of your guilty pleasures. – McDonald’s french fries

5) What (or Who) inspired you to create your blog? – Too many inspirations to name them all.

6) Where were you when (choose one) –  a) JFK was shot. ; b) Watergate was exposed. ; c) OJ Simpson was arrested. ; d) The Twin Towers collapsed. a) Not yet conceived; b) In my mother’s uterus; c) Home from college for summer break. I might have been at my job and heard about it when I came home.; d) At work. One of the managers turned on the TV in the conference room.

7)  Share a favorite Bible verse (or quote from classic literature). – Ruth 1:16-17  — “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May theLord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Testimony to the power of friendship and family.

8) Do you believe in parallel universes?  (If so, do you know how I might visit one.  No, really, I want to know…) – I wouldn’t say I believe, but I find the concept fascinating.

9) List 3 songs you never get tired of listening to. – Anything by Great Big Sea, the Black Keys, or a local Celtic rock band called Brigid’s Cross.

10)  As you were growing up, what posters (if any) did you have on your walls? – I don’t remember specific ones, but cats and other animals were a common theme. I started collecting postcards in college, so one wall of my apartment is like a giant poster of different postcards, bumper stickers, and other random artwork.

11)  Have you ever memorized a poem?  If so, what poem? I’m working on memorizing “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Words by which I aspire to live.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Part 2 to follow . . .



Filed under Writing

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” — T.S. Eliot

I just completed and sent a proposal to teach an after-school enrichment program about reading and writing poetry. I’m curious about my readers’ favorite poems and/or poetic forms. Please share your favorites in the comments.


Filed under Teaching, Writing


How cool is this? The Ranting Papizilla (a very awesome blogger and all-around great guy, check him out) nominated me for a 2013 Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks again, Papi!



The award rules:

1. Award your top 4 bloggers who have commented the most. You can find that on the “site stat” page under comments on the bottom right hand corner.
2. Be thankful.
3. You cannot award someone who has already been awarded. And you cannot give the award back to me.
4. Don’t forget to tell the bloggers you’ve awarded.
5. If you don’t want to pass on this award, that’s okay to. Just admire it.

My top 4 commenters (besides Papizilla):

Anne Bonney at Gunsmoke and Knitting

Rebecca at Lady or Not

365 Daybook

The Surly Spinster

Many thanks to everyone who comments, reads, or simply follows. You make blogging fun.



Filed under Writing


I was guest-teaching a third-grade class today, and the regular teacher included handwriting in her lesson plans. I have, to put it mildly, messy handwriting. “Certain forms of it are interesting,” as my brother once said on one of those Facebook surveys. My boss at my home care job told me, “You should have been a doctor,” when she was reading paperwork I submitted.

I realize that’s not ironic, except in the Alanis Morrisette sense, but I thought it was interesting.

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Filed under Teaching

Well, this is cool.

I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a bit longer than a month, and The Ranting Papizilla (one of my very first followers) nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Thanks, ‘Zilla!

Rules of Participation:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

1. I’m first-generation American on my mother’s side.

2. I read an obscene number of books.

3. I changed my major three times in college.

4. I’m growing my hair out so I can donate it. I’ve done this once before and would like to do it again while my hair’s still mostly brown.

5. I’ll listen to just about anything. Classical, country, old-school rap and R&B, folk music, reggae, classic rock, alternative, you get the idea.

6. I’m working on a children’s book.

7. I have three living grandparents, all in their 90s and in remarkably good health.

Now for the hard part – nominating *only* 15 bloggers:

















Thanks for inspiring me, both to start blogging and to keep blogging.



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing

Weekly writing challenge

My mobile phone isn’t compatible with Instagram, alas. My phone is merely average rather than smart.

I have a writing challenge nonetheless, though. Little Trouble seems to think it’s his job to help me write today by stepping on the keyboard, batting at the power cord, jumping on my shoulder, or standing on my lap so I can’t see the screen. I carry on in spite of his “assistance.” I merely moved to the local branch library.

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Filed under Animals, Writing

Redemption songs

Many thanks to Prego and the Loon for tonight’s thought:

“Focus on the gift of today, and throw those reminders [of the past] in a fire to create a brighter future.”


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Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Writing