Friday, December 27, 2013

I just found this Youtube reader of Chasing AllieCat

I have been cleaning out my email...because I never have time to do so!
I found an email from a librarian I know in the Des Moines area. She sent me this months ago, and somehow I missed the email.  (Thank you, Ann for sending it!)
So glad to find it today.

 A reader on Youtube--about Chasing AllieCat!

I have finished editing Slider's Son, and am sending it to my agent today.  This is exactly the push I needed to keep the faith. Writing is not the easiest business to be in, you know. I could be knitting and have something to show for my time and effort. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Things I learned from Nelson Mandela"

UBUNTU: A South African term meaning "I am because you are." It celebrates the connectedness of all of humanity. The speaker in this video (who came to California to do a TED Talk the very day that Mandela's death was announced) talks about how UBUNTU also transcends the animal kingdom.

I love this talk. It's only 15 minutes. I think I'm going to keep a link on my laptop so I can listen whenever I need a shot of inspiration.
Boyd Varty: What I learned from Nelson Mandela

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Things that save me

I'm soooo tired of grading. But I tell myself it's okay.
My house is a disaster by the end of finals. Always happens. I do a pile of dishes while the coffee brews, and that keeps the bigger pile from taking over the kitchen.

However, at the moment, which is a couple minutes after 5 a.m.,  I have a mug of good coffee, a fuzzy dog by my feet, a cat relishing the warm bed I just left, and a pile of papers to read. Life could be worse, right?

Actually, in spite of how down and how exhausted I've been at the end of the semester, yesterday sort of saved me. One of my students who did okay in comp but did struggle with it told me that I pushed him, and he liked that. He said he learned "so much." He actually thanked me while he did a rewrite of his research paper.

Two other guys from the same class came to my office to tell me spectacular news in their personal engaged to a girl he thought he'd lost (and a few weeks earlier, I urged him to tell his mom about it rather than protecting her from the hurt of it, which turned out to be superb advice; sometimes age has its merits), the other the father of a brand-new bouncing baby boy. 

Quite a few students thanked me after our last Comp class. Seriously? They actually said they had "a blast." Seriously? I am not as surprised when that happens in Humanities because the content is so enjoyable. But Comp? Well, that sort of saved my semester.

Somebody I flunked in that class even thanked me after we had a long talk about how I couldn't let her go on to other college classes without better college writing skills. I mean, now that thank-you is worth something.

And of my students in creative writing has seriously UNDERSTOOD revision. Her new drafts are a testament to rewriting, and smooth prose, and that is enough to make me very, very happy.

In Lit class, I got a note at the end of a student's essay question answers: "...this is probably the last paper I'll write for you. You've been here since I first started college and you have taught me so much. You're an amazing teacher, one of the best I've had. You've encouraged me to want to learn and to push myself to be the best I can be. So thank you. Thank you for opening my mind up to want to learn more."  If you're reading this, I hope you don't mind that I used it.  This made me start to cry. I wept and decided, okay, yes. Teaching is really worth all this work. Thanks, Molly, for truly saving the end of my semester. 

Now back at it. It's my life, after all. Do it, drink good coffee, play with Freya, keep at it, and be happy that I have a job that gives me such moments, right?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mourning Nelson Mandela

Photo: May this roaring lion of truth rest in gentle peace. May he continue to inspire us all to go to the edge of our conviction- not backing away because of fear or self-doubt- but going right to the edge and beyond, in our efforts to liberate this humanity from the madness that ensnares it. He was a great visionary, but not a dreamer. He grounded his vision in courageous action. May he continue to inspire all of us to stand in the fire of our truth no matter the odds, no matter the resistance. ROARING this world awake. ROAR! ROAR! ROAR!The world is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela. Has the life of any other international figure caused such unity of celebration and of mourning? Princess Diana's death certainly caused international unity in mourning. This, however, is even bigger in the scope of the world's attitudes.

Our friend Nicole in South Africa told us, "Even my dad went to a party with black people last night." She said that sounds bad, but it's significant in the kind of impact Mandela continues to make.

I will share more pictures again in the next few days, but for now, I want to to share this quote:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
--Nelson Mandela

South African news of Nelson Mandela's memorial services