Friday, September 30, 2011


OK so I did all right today. I navigated three back to back quarter exam reviews on four hours of sleep, and only a ten minute lunch break. I didn't throw anything, I remembered to answer to my name when called, I remembered (most of) my students' names, and I didn't snore during the grammar quiz. But by the time I got to the halfway "break time" in my two-hour American Experience class, I was just about babbling, I was so tired. As soon as I dismissed the kids for their break, I promptly sat down on the floor and stretched out. Just to rest my eyes, y'know.

Immediately one of the students turned out the lights in the room, and they all tiptoed out, shushing each other and giggling, hoping I would actually fall asleep and they'd be off the hook for the second hour. Had several thoughtful offers to loan me nice hoodies or jackets as a pillow so I would "be more comfortable." You'll be proud to know that I resisted the temptation. (Students were disappointed, though.)

Caffeine Rush

It is after 2am and I am still glued to my keyboard. I have been writing a monster email/FB post for the last hour, trying to explain to my friends why I am dropping the sprawling village of Facebook in favor of Twitter, this blog, and focusing on my manuscript.

It was hard. Not because I didn't have good reasons - I have a list a mile long - but because I realized what a huge turning point this is for me. I am reformatting my life as we speak, and it is both exciting and daunting. Essentially I have come to my playing field, faced with my appointed "pitch and toss" game of life, that Kipling spoke about:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss...

To do so, I need both hands (electronically speaking), and make the most of my opportunities at the keyboard amidst my three jobs and all the responsibilities that come with them. I'm making adjustments financially, schedule-wise, and in many other ways to make sure I do what it takes to make this - both the jobs and my novel - happen.

I could fluff on about this some more, but I am dead tired. Tomorrow (today?) may be one of those wacked-out school days where I teach class (and quarter exam reviews, no less) on diminished sleep and lots of coffee.

LOTS of coffee.

And if I'm lucky, I might even make sense. Or at least be somewhat entertaining. (My students could tell some stories on me....)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Terrible Fun

Don't get used to these daily posts - during "normal life" (which is quite the wind tunnel around here), updates will generally be two or three times a week. But this link was just too good to pass up.

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner has a guest blogger this week, Chuck Sambuchino, who is hosting a rather fun competition. Prize is the 2012 Guide to Literary Agents and a free - get this, FREE - query review.

The competitive part? Submitting the worst storyline EVER for a potential book or movie. I mean, it has to be bad. Laughably bad. In 60 words or less. Each person can submit up to two entries, and all you need to provide in terms of identity is a name and reliable email address.

I'm not going to pass up the opportunity for a potential free query review, especially as this is a priority that will be staring me in the face within a matter of weeks. So I jumped in the pool with everyone else.

My two entries are as follows:

Marley sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream of having his rock
collection on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum.

And my personal favorite:

Nibs the vegetarian butcher works to put things right after
a misunderstanding with the local mortuary leaves him with
a huge debt, a reticulated python and a lifetime supply of spam.

Interested? Good. You have until just before midnight of October 3rd to join the fun. For more info, and to post your own madcap ideas o-so-easily, just click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nerd Test

Just for fun: The Craziest Fun Book Flowchart Ever


A word of explanation is in order.

One might wonder, upon reading the title of my blog, why someone who aspires to be published would say their legacy is given anonymously. The reason lies chiefly in the wellspring behind the writing.

My first job, love, aspiration and joy of this life has been teaching. I was one of those weird kids who knew at three what I would be when I grew up and never changed my story. By eighth grade I knew what my major would be in college.

I. Love. To. Teach.

During the time that I had a Facebook account, I had only one line in my "about me" section, and it never changed: My dream is to die anonymous and leave behind a legacy of students who change the world.

And my writing? It is a dream of its own; but a dream that grows out of my teaching. I don't teach because I write; but I do write because I teach.

If I am ever published, I guess I will have failed at the anonymous part. But I also know that my greatest legacy is in my students. They are my wellspring, the overflowing life that must be channeled somewhere - and where better than on the page? Nor can I predict where that legacy begins and ends, if it ends at all.

This is not to say that my blog will revolve around my students, though they may creep in from time to time. (They are rather persistent critters, after all.) But I draw enormous creative energy from them, and as a teacher I hope to pay them back in kind, one way or another. At the very least I intend to prepare them for bigger and better adventures that will, in turn, become legacies of their own. Legacies that outlive their creators, cascading forward into even further lives, with ever-growing boundaries.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Endeavors

Today begins a whole new phase of life for me, marked by taking to a medium I swore I would never touch: blogging. For an old-school gal who still journals in hardbound notebooks with pen or pencil, who makes her students learn to diagram sentences and give speeches from note cards, who insists her history students read source documents instead of "books about books" - I, even I, have embarked upon the blogging quest. Crazy? You have no idea.

How frequently will I post? I make no promises. But I will tell you this: Literature, and my desire to be published, are entirely at the root of this little endeavor.

I have been writing since I learned how to read. I have been journaling since the summer following second grade. I have more papers and books than any other belongings in my house. I love folk tales, fairy tales, myths, legends, biographies, travel writing, and old people who really know how to spin a good yarn.

I just love stories. Period.

I hope to one day stand among the ranks of established storytellers who happen to have their work in print. My intent is to make it happen in the tangible future, though goodness knows how long that will take. But after twenty-five years of literary dreaming, I am finally going out on a limb. This coming spring I will take that proverbial leap into the publishing world by floating query letters regarding my current manuscript. THAT is what this blog will be about: writing, reading, manuscripts, and anything else that inspires me to keep up the dream: music, anecdotes, books that grab me, fellow writers who try to strangle me because I do something stupid at a writer's meeting. You know. The usual.

That is where this blog is headed. (If I can avoid spilling hot chocolate all over the keyboard. Again.) Whether it is a short journey or a very long one, it begins here. Or at least my telling of it.

And that, perhaps, will be an interesting story. I hope.