Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo2016

Kitten’s Got Claws

A selfie that I took this morning right after only 7 of 17 students in one of my classes turned in the major project that was due today.
A selfie that I took this morning right after only 7 of 17 students in one of my classes turned in the major project that was due today.

Well, we’ve reached the portion of the school year where I run out of fucks to give.

Coming up on Thanksgiving, as usual: I’m behind on grading; students are starting to realize that their terrible grades are going to be permanent if they don’t get it together; lots of classes are demanding work from students; behavior is slipping; suspensions are rising; fights are breaking out; and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a SuperMoon? (I’m not 100% sure what a SuperMoon is, exactly, but I do know that teenagers–like werewolves–react badly to full moons. I am not making this up. Ask any teacher.)

So I spent most of today irritated and full of rage. Which I try to contain. But I know for a fact that I get a little bit snappy.  Continue reading Kitten’s Got Claws

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The Mushy Middle

luke-cageI’m still watching Luke Cage, on and off, but more and more I find myself playing Dots while it’s on in the background. (Yes, Dots is a stupid game. No, I cannot stop playing it.)

Anyway, I find myself more and more in agreement with one of the criticisms that I had read of the show earlier, which is that every episode is about ten minutes too long.

Don’t get me wrong -there’s lots of stuff that doesn’t necessarily advance the plot that I still enjoy having in there: the musical numbers (which some say remind them of The Bronze) are awesome, the long moody shots to create mood are great, and I don’t even mind the increasingly goofy scenery-chewing of the characters (srsly gettin goofy though with the villain in the second half of the season). That stuff’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is that the plot just… sags. Continue reading The Mushy Middle

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mixing it up

At the writing date I had last Wednesday with two friends and fellow writers, my internet-friend-from-way-back-who-recently-moved-to-Indy Chel brought her CD wallet in. This mystified Chelsea, who is enough younger than us that a giant CD wallet full of burned mix CDs struck her as a charmingly old-fashioned item.

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kickin’ it old-school: CD binder edition

Chelsea and I have talked before about making soundtracks as a writing tool; it’s something I’ve been doing since I was in high school (the earliest ones were cassette tapes, but my dad was an early adopter of new technology, meaning we got a CD burner when they were still rarities). Chel and I have been exchanging fanfic and mix CDs with our friend Meach since the 90s, and I used to put a truly amazing amount of time into creating WinAmp playlists (uh, and skins) and mix CDs (often with “cover art” that I drew myself, first-person notes from characters, and on-disc art).

Since having a kid, though, the time I used to put into this seems to have mysteriously evaporated, so I’m extremely rusty; plus, I’ve had a computer upgrade but the new computer doesn’t have an optical drive. But I’ve been using Shazam to identify songs I like and then I’ve been using Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube to follow up. Continue reading mixing it up

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(insert blog post here)

goon-squad
the blogger in her natural environment

Well, I’ve done it again–in my household we call it “gooning yourself,” but elsewhere it would just be called “staying up way too late goofing off and accomplishing nothing except ending up overtired tomorrow.”

See why we just say “gooning”?

So, in addition to gooning myself sleep-wise, I gooned myself writing-wise and have run out of time to do either.

I’ll try to redeem myself tomorrow.

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ZzzZZzzZ (A Philosophical Interlude)

cast-your-whole-voteWell, we all know that being emotionally drained is… draining, and I’ve basically been too tired today to do… like, anything.

The election’s still got me reeling and yesterday I successfully ignored it and worked on fiction, where I control all outcomes and the good guys (eventually) win, but today I accidentally started listening to NPR and reading blogs and am just… done.

Luckily there’s still comedy.

Me, trying to read Thoreau with 11th grade: And then what if you took the locker out of your binder? Wait. No. Um…
Kid next to me, under his breath: Maybe you need more coffee.
Me, with a sad, knowing laugh: Oh, StudentName, there is No Such Thing as “more coffee.” Trust me. If “more coffee” were the solution to my problem, I would be perfect right now.

So I’m going to go to bed early (read: on time) and tomorrow’s a new day. The sun will come up (partway through my workout) and I will keep doing everything I can in my little corner of the universe to make sure my Black, Mexican, LGBTQ+, female, atheist, and/or disabled students (this covers 99% of my students, btw, without even mentioning how many of them rely on entitlement programs for food and shelter) know that no matter what else happens, I love them and will do everything I can to protect them–starting by helping them learn to express themselves, fine-tune their bullshit detectors, and use evidence to support an argument (that, by the way, is what we’re actually doing in English classes, whether we’re reading Beowulf or The Onion).

Luckily there’s still literature.

Heroes. Satire.

Hmm. Writing as catharsis: suddenly I feel a lot better about charging back into class tomorrow to stomp around insisting to my Creative Writing class that “they / Do not go gentle into that good night” and pulling the American Lit crew, kicking and gnashing their teeth, through the rest of “On Civil Disobedience” (a fortuitous coincidence that we just happened to be dealing with the Transcendentalists this week…).

So, as Thoreau reminds us, we can’t just vote on paper and let that be the end of it. We must do everything we can. Even if it doesn’t feel like much.

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Actual NaNo-ing (It’s about time!!!)

So, I know I promised a deep and meaningful post about race & diversity in literature, but let’s just say that I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy for that today. I did, however, write 1498 words of a totally new opening to the old novel I’m working on with my OG writing partner!

Threw a teeny-tiny write-in and got lots accomplished, despite having to feed a toddler and put him to bed for the first half hour or so of writing time.

And the best part? These two ladies will be joining me for another session next week! (& an extra 132 words by writing this cheater post–HA!)

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The Edge of My Seat

I wanted to post a response to the Tweetstorm happening surrounding #TheContinent (a YA book with some serious “White Savior Narrative” stuff going on, click that link for a summary) and Jenny Trout’s response (in which she calls out her own use of racist tropes in some of her older books).

But I also want to watch election returns, so I’m probably going to go do that.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts about how I know #WeNeedDiverseBooks but also: I am a white lady.

Hopefully having survived watching the election returns (rather than posting as some sort of post-election zombie).

 

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Luke Cage, Reluctant Hero

luke-cage-1024x380So, I’ve been slowly (very slowly–we’re only on episode 7) watching Netflix’s Luke Cage.  And there are a few things I love about it:

  • the soundtrack
  • the visuals (costumes, SET DESIGN, staging/camera work, that Biggie portrait on Cottonmouth’s wall)
  • the acting, especially by the entire Stokes family
  • Detective Misty! Pop’s swear jar! Charming delinquent youths!
  • the soundtrack
  • the way Scarfe delivers, like, every single line, and also that I’m pretty sure he was the only white person in the first episode
  • pretty sure I actually squeed when Theo Rossi showed up as Shadesshut-up-and-take-my-money
  • seriously though, I tried to buy the soundtrack midway through episode one. WHY CAN’T I BUY THE SOUNDTRACK MARVEL URRRRRGH GET IT TOGETHER PLEASE

Ahem. Excuse me. Sorry about that.

Anyway, despite the fact that there are lots of things to love in this show, I’m struggling with the pacing. Luke’s just… there. Or, as C put it at the beginning of tonight’s episode, “Manifest” (1×07), “Wow. That was definitely the least exciting superhero interaction… ever.” [Gun deal is happening. Luke walks up. Criminals run away. Luke stands still, tells gun dealer he’s taking the guns, it’s over, blah blah blah, that guy runs away too.] Luke just… stands there.

Implacable…

Unmotivated.

Seriously, what does Luke want? Yes, he’s powerful, but he doesn’t want his power. He doesn’t want anything except to be left alone. That’s… kind of a tough sell, yanno?

Spoilers through 1×07 below the cut!

Continue reading Luke Cage, Reluctant Hero

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All Saints’ Day

14915453_10154367153072415_5818038096005274670_nToday was the Feast of All Saints, where candles are lit and prayers are said and hymns are sung for all of the new saints–i.e., those who have died in the last year. I’m not what you’d call a regular churchgoer (I’m as strange as they come, har har) but I’ve found lately that in church, I can’t help but experience very strong emotion.

I was with my mother (and husband and son, but husband had to go to day care with son because son was NOT about that daycare life and would NOT be cool), and my mother- and father-in-law were singing in the choir.

This has been a rough year–on Facebook I tagged 14 people off the top of my head who have lost someone precious to them over the past year. I spent a lot of the service sniffling from a combination of catharsis and allergies (no it’s not a cold I 100% refuse to acknowledge that it’s a cold shut up it’s allergies).

My father died on December 10th of last year after a long battle with esophageal cancer, a very nasty cancer that he actually beat twice; it was the third recurrence that killed him.

When I think about it now, it’s with a weird mix of devastation and peace.

Continue reading All Saints’ Day

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