Posted in Writing

getting unstuck; change gears

Christina Torres is an excellent writer. And like all excellent writers, know when she gets stuck, and seeks advice on how to get unstuck:

One of the dispiriting aspects about the quarantine for me personally, and this is coming from a place of privilege. My husband and I could continue working from home, and have young adult sons that are self-reliant. I have no excuses hindering me from writing, creating, drawing, etc. Global pandemic, U.S. sliding into fascism, concerns about the end of things…but sure…

And because of the voluminous deluge of people who believe and spout the most ridiculous of notions, I flipped it around to try to have some creative fun, and it was!

My self derision is constant because here I am, with time, shelter, food, and purpose, and I could not write what I thought I would write if all these things came together. I guess I thought I would open Scrivener files and finish “that novel.” The one I’ve thought about for eight years, and can’t seem to just type it. I’ve done everything ‘around’ the writing but actually write.

But I wrote something this past week, and my COVID19 brain fog was pretty intense. I made a huge mistake in the draft I sent Larry Ferlazzo, and thankfully I asked my husband about it, and he immediately understood and clarified what I did wrong. However, aside from my poor internal editing skills, writing and contributing to this article helped me frame my plans for remote teaching and learning this upcoming year:

And here’s the thing: writing without a partner or group isn’t fun. Yes, I realize hundreds of novels were written in cloistered turrets, but writing in my own spinning head gets me no where fast. I just want to say thank you to my virtual writing group — the folks on Twitter and other spaces who keep me inspired and writing.

One more thing: reading has been challenging, too, but finally broke through with Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and now I’m reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

My brain made visual

I’m tired of ignorance being elevated to an art form. Of trolls and fascists, and fascist trolls, gaining ground in my mind and soul. But this ignorance is killing us. It’s not funny, it’s not cute. But I can take a cue from other artists, with sublime poise and precision, take down the dotards and dullards, the unimaginative and aggressively boring. And even if I can’t seem to write my novel(s) now, there are goddess and gods who are, do, and can. There is still magnificent prose to read, air to breath, and sun to warm us.

PS and watch someone in another field besides teaching discuss their profession:

Posted in book recommendations, Burning Questions Book Lists, Reading

Stir it up.

Oh, kids. I’m starting to sense it. It’s that time of year when you’re looking at your assignments, feeling overwhelmed, like a deer in the headlights, unable to move forward. Now to mix some metaphors: The bad habits are setting in, like early morning frost, slowly creeping in, freezing our minds, getting us stuck in fixed thinking. You’re a frozen deer in frosty headlights.  I can sense my own bad teacher habits bubbling to the surface, like so many globs of oil, getting everything filmy and gross.

I don’t want to be that kind of teacher–getting angry and frustrated. Letting the sarcastic comments slip in. I want to keep believing. Believing that you will take in what I’m saying, and what you’re saying–we talked about what makes students successful today, and come up with a pretty cool list. Two of the biggies: Read Directions and Ask Questions.

But how do you define success?

To me, success is problem solving in a creative way. Knowing when something is not working, and finding another way. Breaking a bad habit.

I believe what we’re studying right now is really interesting – I could spend a lifetime thinking about it. But I’m not Joseph Campbell. I’m not a professor in mythology and comparative religions. I can still think it’s pretty fascinating, though. But if it’s not coming through as something that’s interesting to you, we need to find another way. Creative, thinking people find a way to make what they’re learning interesting. Boring, stuck people don’t.

Look at this blog, and see if anything sparks you, or if it takes you on a reading journey across the Internet: http://www.kerismith.com/blog/ 

Make a wish...
Make a wish...

 

Let me know what happens.