The Fall/Winter 2019 edition of Teach. Write. is here! Download a free online copy at the following link:
And order a print copy from Lulu.com at this link if you desire:
Teach. Write. is a one-woman show, but it is important to me, and I have some wonderful writers whose works I want to share with you soon.
However, life is life, so although my publication date for the fall/winter edition of Teach. Write. is September 1, today, I know I am not going to make that deadline. My hope is to publish no later than September 15.
So, hang on, Sunday’s coming!
First day of classes but have to write. It’s the only way I can cope. But I have to give my primary attention to my students. They have to come first today. So I will just take a little break and share this terrific blog post by Jeff Goins, author of five books, including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve. Funny that this article would come from one who writes mainly about the business of writing.
That’s what makes it so great.
Here are some highlights from “The Essential Sadness of Art”:
“We want broken and beautiful, real and raw. Sure, we want abundant life, but we know it comes at a cost. And when you don’t illustrate that cost well — with sacrifice and toil — we don’t believe the story.”
“What a beautiful mess this life is. Beautiful and broken and begging to be redeemed. And for those who are listening, this is a truth that resonates.”
My students like to laugh, and we did today, but the vast majority of them have not signed up for one of my English composition classes expecting or wanting fun and games. They want to learn how to write well, or at least well enough to get the grade or the skills they need to move on to the next class.
Some of them, during the moment, might be glad if I spent the time joking around, playing games, giving “fun,” undemanding assignments, but when they moved on to the next class, they would no doubt resent the heck out of me, and rightly so, when they realized they wasted their time and money on entertainment. Writing is difficult work and effective writing can be disturbing and uncomfortable, dredging up old hurts or even creating new ones.
Writing, even expository writing, can be a very intimate, personal experience. It is often hard to get poor grades on writing assignments. No matter what the professor says about not taking grades personally, it’s hard not to. I know. I have had enough editors, agents, and fellow writers tell me not to take rejections personally, but I can’t help it. Nothing can stop the sting of rejection. It hurts.
But the goal of life is not to avoid hurt. It’s masochism, of course, to seek the hurt, but it is courage to attempt difficult things that may very well result in pain and failure that we then have the privilege to struggle through and become victorious over.
Because then we will grow.
So I will ask my students to read sad and disturbing essays and stories. I will assign them difficult tasks to complete that may cause some of them distress. I will confront them when called for and discipline them when necessary–to help them learn and grow as students and people.
I will seek to break out of my own comfort zone, go into the dark places–for the sake of knowledge and truth, even if it causes momentary pain.
In the end, we will laugh out loud and know what it means to be truly happy.
“2 My brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” –James 1:2-4 (NRSV)
I intended to keep up better with my blog.
I intended to finish a novel and a play.
I intended to market my plays and obtain an agent, or at least work more toward that goal.
I intended to have all of my classes completely ready to go for the new semester by this time.
It didn’t happen. Life intervened in fabulous, fulfilling ways as well as horrible, heart-breaking ways.
The privacy of my family will not allow me to go into details, but I am learning that life and work will rarely ever be in balance. Perhaps for a few fleeting moments, but the balance we all seek, and should, is a lofty one and largely unreachable. We will be out of balance more often than not, but we will find ways to cope, to compromise, to hope, to find our way.
These best of times feed and hinder my work.
These worst of times feed and hinder my work.
It isn’t a balance.
It is something else altogether.
It is a body.
All of this is crazy. What do I mean?
I don’t really know what life is.
But I love it.
I just wish he had, too.
The submission deadline for the Fall/Winter 2019 edition of Teach. Write. has come in the midst of this frenzy. I contemplated extending the deadline, but I couldn’t even wrap my mind around the things I would need to do to make that happen.
So, I will print the lovely pieces that I have, and I will find the other work I need.
Or I will write them myself.
Publication is still slated for September 1.
This is what I get for teaching in the summer—less time to work on my blog. I almost let all of June go by without a post, but I made it!
I am saying right now, while I am in the midst of it, that I will never teach a course in the summer again. What was I thinking? Those of you who know me understand how I can get during the school year–I’m kind of intense, let’s say. Summer has always been my time to work on myself—my writing and reading, my diet and exercise, my family, my friends. Oh, and my Scrabble online time.
Not that I haven’t been doing all that.
However, I should have anticipated that teaching a composition course in eight weeks instead of sixteen is naturally going to take up a big chunk of time. And it has. Yet, I’m not sorry that I have done it because even if I do not succumb to the allure of teaching in the summer again (oh, Lord, I hope not ), I have learned a great deal that I can apply when teaching my sixteen-week classes.
Here we go:
Now, I had fun! I love writing this blog and hope someone reads it, but even if no one does, I have had a chance to pull together some interesting conclusions about my experience teaching this eight-week online composition class, and it is giving me some good, good, good vibrations. Sounds like summertime to me!
Anyone for a game of Scrabble?
DON’T FORGET TO SUBMIT TO TEACH! WRITE! DEADLINE FOR THE FALL 2019 ISSUE IS AUGUST 1! CLICK HERE FOR SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOUR POETRY, SHORT FICTION, OR CREATIVE NON-FICTION! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A TEACHER OR A PUBLISHED WRITER TO SUBMIT!
Summertime and the livin’ is easy.
I have decided to teach an eight-week freshman composition course this summer that began yesterday. People have said it can’t be done, and perhaps they are right. Perhaps it is simply too difficult of a course to teach in eight weeks. We’ll see. However, I think it is worth trying because many of our stronger students could benefit greatly if they could get both freshman comp classes completed in one semester.
Despite taking on this experimental course this summer, I will still have some extra time that I hope to spend productively. First, I have been working on a novel for several years now and am determined to finish the rough draft this summer and have the work edited and ready to go out in the world to seek fame and fortune (Ha!) by the end of the year.
Second, I want to revise, edit, and polish some of my short stories that I have not found a home for yet. Last year, I totally reworked a story that had been rejected numerous times, and it soon, after some revision suggested by the editor, found a home with the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. It’s called “Pilgrimage”
Another goal is to continue seeking and reviewing submissions for my literary journal Teach. Write. When I first started the journal, four editions ago, I only accepted work from teachers of writing, but now I accept work from students of writing as well.
If you are interested in submitting to Teach. Write. then see the submission guidelines for more details. You can see the latest edition by clicking here. I love to see stories about teaching composition and learning to write, but I accept short stories, poetry, and essays on a variety of topics and themes. I would love to see your work!
As usual I keep busy, but never fear–I plan to do a great deal of sitting and reading on my deck with my feet up, sipping iced tea with lemon.
Soon I will have time to write, but tonight, it is not to be, chéri. No watching baseball with my hubby, either. Too much to do. But I don’t want any more time to go by without posting about one of my persistent concerns–high school students taking college classes.
Here is an interesting, balanced article from Joseph Warta, a homeschooled young man writing for the conservative educational think tank The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal: Dual-Enrollment: A Head start on College or Empty Credentialing?
Warta points out both positive and negative aspects of his Career and College Promise experience at a North Carolina community college with his primary complaint being that his college classes lacked rigor, which I had never heard before. The complaint I hear most often is that my classes are too difficult.
But, of course, not all colleges or instructors are the same, are they?
I turn grades in on Thursday, graduation is Saturday, and then the summer. I will be teaching online–a pilot eight-week freshman English course that I will certainly blog about because I truly love curriculum design.
It’s funny, isn’t it?
When I went to Auburn, the university was on a quarter system; then, it moved, with most of the rest of the college and university system, to a semester system, and now the move is back to quarters. What goes around, comes around.
Seems to be true of education especially, doesn’t it?