A challenge, and some random stuff

I made an offhand comment on Facebook the other day about something that happens in the new Werewolf Saga book and Rick Hipson accused me of starting with teasers. That wasn’t really my plan, but … it suddenly sounded like a good idea. So, I’ve created a new Twitter account and I’ll be posting teasers from Nadia’s Children there. When? you ask. Well, not until I get 100 followers. So, you want the teasers, start following me, and tell your friends. There’s  your challenge: Get me 100 minions on Twitter.

I’m a bit miffed at one of my critique partners. Gayleen Rabakukk gave me the beginning of her new YA novel Dusty Bones a few weeks ago. Being a horrible procrastinator, I waited until the night before we were to meet again to actually read it. Well, I thought, this worked out because this is great and now I don’t have to wait for the next installment. Yeah. Well, Gayleen is attending the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she is being mentored by none other than the super nice and talented Cynthia Leitich Smith (if you haven’t read Cynthia’s book, you’re really missing out). Anyway, after workshopping the beginning of the book, what Gayleen gave me yesterday was the same chapters, but rewritten. Grr! (I’m not really upset. I just wanted to mention Gayleen in my blog and say she’s writing a really, really interesting story that I look forward to continuing.)

Yesterday I turned down a job offer I’d been trying to get for three years. That was not easy. It was a local high school. We’re talking about five minutes from home. But I stayed with my current job, about 25 minutes from home. Why? There are a few reasons. The most tangible is that I enrolled my three youngest kids in the school district where I’m teaching because we have an excellent counselor when it comes to getting college scholarships, this district has a partnership with Oklahoma City Community College that allowed all graduates to attend OCCC for free, and I can "help" my oldest daughter choose her friends. Also, though it’s been a pretty empty title so far, I like being department chairman, and I definitely like teaching senior-level Advanced Placement (as opposed to freshmen). And, finally, because loyalty means something to me. My job isn’t perfect, but the administration there was willing to take a chance on a 39-year-old long-haired guy with an alternative certification and only one semester of substitute teaching experience. That means a lot to me. And, yeah, I like our kids.

I’ve been rereading Humphrey Carpenter’s The Inklings, a sort of biography of the literary club centered around C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. This, Carpenter’s biography of Tolkien, and Lewis’s Surprised by Joy were almost as important to me 20-some years ago as Tolkien and Lewis’s fiction was 10 years before that. The Inklings is an excellent book if you want to know what makes a successful writers’ group.

And finally, a confession. I have enjoyed Shakespeare. I know, I know, I have written before about how I dislike The Bard and don’t want to teach it. I taught Macbeth to my grade-level seniors last year and it was tolerable. I was going to teach Othello in AP, but didn’t. I decided this year to bite that bullet and teach Othello in AP, so I got a really good audiobook of it and listened to it. This audiobook features a narrator that stops the action every little bit to explain why such and such is relevant, historical events in the play, etc. Then you get the entire play uninterrupted. I have to say, I loved it. I couldn’t wait to get back to it and find out what would happen next. Okay, it’s a Shakespearean tragedy, so I kinda knew how it’d end, but there were still a couple of surprises.

2 responses to “A challenge, and some random stuff”

  1. You know, regarding Shakespeare, that’s what I always kind of felt was a big problem with literature in high school. We’re forced to read these stories because, well, they are “great”, but we didn’t really get enough of a picture of why they were great. I think that the story behind the story is often more interesting than the story itself.
    Let me rephrase that, the story itself is good, but the archaic style is often a barrier to getting the modern reader to enjoy it. By placing it in the proper historical context you can explain why the archaic style is like it is and thus, perhaps, overcome some of that modern reader ambivilance.

  2. What have I done?! I don’t wanna be a twit, but… I’ll tell ’em the wolf man made me do it!

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