For an "epic fail" field trip, combine the following: Oregon Symphony Young People's Concert tickets Driving rain A ticking clock Bumper-to-bumper downtown traffic The twelve-passenger school van Ten middle school boys Me at the wheel And a parking structure Set to music this could almost be The Twelve Days of Christmas, right? Except that I… Continue reading Van vs. Parking Structure
"I'm going to ask my mom for a pet tarantula." This was from one of my students, said to no one in particular. His aim was to get a rise out of his classmates. Ah, but I am wise to the ways of 7th grade boys--and their moms. "Too late," I quipped. "You're not home… Continue reading The Guilt-Trip Menagerie
A new crop of 7th graders now inhabits my classroom. They're coltish, talkative, and desperate to master the art of sarcasm. Uh-huh. They're not very good at it. I give them props for trying. Needless to say, they are no match for me. But if they'd like to take me on, hey, I'm game. "Bring… Continue reading Be vulgar at your own risk!
Apparently I am quite the source for 'shoe-leather' wisdom. You know, the practical, real-life kind. On this, our final day of school, Laurie, one of my 7th grade students, presented me with a framed commemoration of our year together. Alas, each of these gems has come rolling out of my mouth. Repeatedly. I never meant… Continue reading Documented “Teacher Burn”!
Today we have William's words of wisdom. Over the last year, I have learned quite a few things about writing and the novelist's life. 1. It's not easy. Writing isn't a hobby once you make it a job. You learn to resent your stories for existing, and the love of writing goes away. 2. There… Continue reading What I have learned about being a novelist – 7
Here is Melissa's take on this topic: I have learned many things this year about being a novelist. The main things that I learned are that it takes hard work, free writes help, and you can find inspiration everywhere. The first one is that it is hard work. Oftentimes the story does not just come… Continue reading What I have learned about being a novelist – 6
The working author faces a number of challenges. Most students who love to read don't give these a thought---until they take my fiction writing classes! Today Ben shares what he's learned: Writing is hard work. I have learned much besides this, but that fact rings truer every second I spend writing. No matter how much… Continue reading What I have learned about being a novelist – 5
So I've been sharing wisdom from the trenches lately. Word by word, page by page, my high school writing students have learned about life as an author: the struggle, the late hours, and the wondrous joy of entertaining their peers. Here is Peter's take: This writing thing is a lot harder than I originally thought.… Continue reading What I have learned about being a novelist – 4
During these, my most hectic days of the school year, I've been sharing student responses to this topic. Their experiences with the writing life have made them wise beyond their authorly years! Here is what Taylor, a senior, has to say: Being a novelist is hard work filled with nonexistent blood, sweat, and tears. The… Continue reading What I have learned about being a novelist – 3
As the school year winds down, what I learn from my students is a lot. They say experience is the best teacher. Together we explored the writer's life. Here is Kelsie's experience, jotted down in ten fast in-class minutes: This year in Creative Writing I have learned that writing is one of the most wonderful… Continue reading What I have learned about being a novelist – 2