NANOWRIMO–DAY ONE

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NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month and November is it!! I have participated in NANOWRIMO for the past few years. Last year I produced the first rough draft of CAMPUS: A Novel That Wants to Be a Musical that I am now producing as a podcast. No, I haven’t forgotten. I hope to do another episode in the next few days. Before that I wrote 50,000 words on my still unfinished novel FLOOD, which I WILL finish one of these days. Think retirement, Katie.

This year, however, I’m not writing a novel. I’m working on a non-fiction book (it’s allowed) about how my travels have impacted my teaching. My mother said this summer, as I was telling her about some of my ideas for my classes this fall, that I should write a book about teaching. I was touched and flattered, I mean I don’t think she was being sarcastic, and I decided to do it. No time like National Novel (Book) Writing Month.

At first the book was going to be more about some of my thoughts on education and explanation of my teaching methods, but when I attended the North Carolina Writers’ Network Squire Summer Workshops this summer and received some positive comments about the travel essay I submitted for critique, I settled on my current focus.

I am excited to have an excuse to write everyday for the next 30 days. I hope you will follow me on this latest adventure as Mrs. Winkler writes a book!

TODAY’S TALLY–1,895 WORDS

To find out more about NANOWRIMO, go to nanowrimo.org

HAUNTED HENDO Is Coming!! Print Version of Teach. Write. Is Here!

Haunted Hendo Premieres October 28 at 7 PM

COVID-19 can’t keep a good theater department down! At my college, the intrepid head of the department managed to produce nine short films for the Halloween season, coming to YouTube for your viewing pleasure this Thursday, October 28. The films are intended to celebrate mountain mysteries and local lore, including the Siren of the French Broad, a ghostly presence at the Hendersonville Historic Court House, the legend of the Boojum (an Appalachian version of Sasquatch) and more!

The films, featuring a variety of genres like horror, suspense, comedy, music video, documentary, and musical, are the end product of many hours of hard work by over 50 cast and crew, including not only faculty and students, but also alumni and community members as well as professional actors and filmmakers.

I was happy to contribute by writing two scripts for the anthology and directing one. It was great fun and a wonderful, engaging experience for everyone involved, especially the students.

The films will premiere at 7:00pm Eastern Time at the BRCC Theatre Channel

Hope you will join us for some Halloween fun.

It took me a while, but I finally found time between getting my second eight-week classes going and all of the grading. My Lord, the grading, to make the print version of Teach. Write. You can find it by clicking here.

Season Two, Episode One of CAMPUS now available

This summer is very different than last, which is not a bad thing, of course. However, I am getting out more and doing more that is keeping me away from working on the podel (podcasted novel), but I have episode one of the second season for listening pleasure (I hope).

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I like it anyway, if that counts for anything. Here’s the link to the next episode of CAMPUS: A Novel That Wants to Be a Musical.

Also, if you have something to submit to Teach. Write.: A Writing Teachers’ Literary Journal, then I will welcome it. Submissions of the fall/winter 2021 edition are open until September 1. See the submission guidelines for more information

The promised book reviews will be coming tomorrow. I hope.

Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors–Virtual and in One Act!!

What you doing this weekend? How about tuning in to see yours truly play Shakespeare and the Duke of Ephesus in a virtual one-act rendition of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors? It’s free, but you have to register. Go to this link to find out all about it!!

https://fb.me/e/1gMaTQTL4

The Comedy of Errors is believe by many scholars to be Shakespeare’s first play. Two sets of mismatched twins, separated at birth find themselves, unbeknownst to each other, together again in the same city. Much hilarity ensues as they are continually mistaken for one another.

I loved experiencing acting in my first virtual play, and it is Shakespeare!!!! Forever adaptable Shakespeare!!! Our director shows how necessity is the mother of inventive, engaging educational theater–our students are learning so much about how to produce great theater, even during a global pandemic.

So proud of our students and our theater department!!!

New episode of CAMPUS available

My Humble Podcast Studio

Between work as a full-time English instructor at a community college and working on my newest project–podcasting my satirical novel CAMPUS, I haven’t had much time to blog, but soon I hope to squeeze in a post about my work with RISE, which stands for Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence and has replaced developmental education in North Carolina. At first, I wasn’t too happy with the change (who likes change), but now that I am teaching RISE English classes and seeing some positive results, I see the advantages more and more. I also want to blog about teaching accelerated English composition classes–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Okay, tired allusion, but I’m tired, so it fits!

In the meantime, I hope you will listen to the latest episode of CAMPUS. Let me know what you think! However, no hate mail please. Satire is supposed to bite a little. Also, remember, THIS IS MY HOBBY. IT’S JUST FOR FUN, AND IT IS PURE FICTION! ANY RESEMBLANCE TO REALITY IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL.

Don’t forget that submissions for the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of Teach. Write. are being accepted until March 1. I would love to read your work. See above for the submission guidelines.

Not Much Time

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Too much to do to blog much, essays in one class and essay exams in another. All autograded assignments and integrated software doesn’t do the real work of teaching composition–them writing, me assessing it, and communicating back to them where they can improve next time. That’s pretty much it.

And, by golly, it works. It’s difficult, painstaking work for them and me, but it works.

Just wanted to share some happy news before I get back to it. After almost two years of not publishing anything (I haven’t had much time to market my writing), I found out yesterday that I published a little flash piece with a relatively new online writing site, The Secret Attic: Where Writers Write.

A little background for the story. My sister Ronda died of cancer in 2011. For years she owned several beautiful Arabian horses and kept them on my grandmother’s property in rural Alabama, not too far from Auburn University. We grew up riding horses together. I miss her terribly, and this story is for her:

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https://www.secret-attic.co.uk/content-issue-6/the-healing-stone-by-katie-winkler

CAMPUS

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My summertime project is to complete a rough draft of my new novel, CAMPUS: The Novel That Wants to Be a Musical. Full disclosure. It started out as a musical, but then it decided that it wanted to be a novel but one that wanted to be a musical.

I know. It’s incredibly weird, but so am I, so it seems fitting. I am afraid, too, that it might offend because it’s horribly, deliciously satiric, a social and political satire of higher education in the South.

Many of my colleagues already know about the book. Back when it was a musical, I shared some of the ideas and songs with them. I have worked on the project off and on again for several years already, especially when I became particularly infuriated with perceived obstacles blocking my path to providing my students with the best education possible.

Oh, my. I can be so pompous at times.

But

My attitude is changing. Perhaps it was attending the National Council of Teachers of English conference with five of my fellow English instructors, talking about our work and seeing how passionate we all our about our work, but also enjoying each other as human beings–as fathers and mothers, as friends, like family.

My attitude is changing. Perhaps it’s all the months teaching in isolation. Did it take that for me to value the roles of others in my institution? Perhaps. Not that I didn’t appreciate it before, but now, wow, I appreciate it more.

My attitude is changing.

But my convictions have not.

So the play wanted to become a novel, but the novel did not want to lose all of the biting satire of the play because it’s just so darn fun. So, it didn’t. Still a satire. A kinder, gentler satire, perhaps (It hasn’t decided yet), but a satire nonetheless. And I’m still keeping the “I want to be a Nazi” song. I can’t help it. I just want to. And it’s my book, so I will.

But you say, Katie, how can you have musical numbers in a novel?

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And I say, how can I not? I know it’s weird and different and really out there. It may not work, but who cares? It makes me happy. It’s creative. It’s about work but not about work. It is helping me vent my frustrations so I will be less likely to take them out on my colleagues, supervisors, and students. Plus, it’s more than just satire. It’s also an Appalachian fantasy with gnomes, elves, the Moth Man, Moon-faced people, hellhounds, wizards, fairy godteachers (yes, really), vampires, zombies, and at least one boojum (aka Bigfoot). It’s also a love story (actually more than one) and a glimpse into the heart and soul of an aging teacher (guess who).

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Can you tell I love my book and don’t care that it’s goofy?

So, I’m writing this summer, and it’s time well spent.

Here is the first verse one of the songs:

BEAUTIFUL TRUTH

BY

KATIE WINKLER

    “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” From “Ode to a Grecian Urn”~John Keats

Truth and Beauty

That’s all there is and ever will be

I see truth and beauty

When I look into her eyes

It’s been an amazing ride

Since I’ve met her.

My world has opened wide

I’ve only just met her

The Belle dame sans merci

This beautiful lady

And her eyes are wild.

Just to have her near

Just to see her face

Just her voice to hear

Just to feel her fingers brush my cheek

Nothing else remains but she

The belle dame sans merci

Have mercy, have mercy

Help me to see

    “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

But I feel it, but I know

Truth and Beauty

I see it when I look into your eyes

Truth is beauty.

I see it when I look into your wild eyes

Beauty is truth, truth beauty

That is all there ever will be

I see truth and beauty

When I look into those wild, wild eyes

Are you a teacher writing this summer? I would love to read your work and consider it for my literary journal Teach. Write. Submissions are open for the 2020 fall/winter edition until Sept.1 See submission guidelines for more information.

Rediscovering Music Faves

I have listened to my “Working Music” folder a great deal this week while I transition all my classes to online delivery. I chose to randomize my playlist and have been so amazed at some of the great music that has come up to soothe my soul.

Here are a couple of my faves:

The Canadian Chamber Chorus’s version of Tabula Rass by Don MacDonald. The translation of the words are beautiful and have spoken to me during this time and is a meaningful message to give my students right now:

In my arms, breathe.

Life without limits.

Light of day, dark night.

Sleep, dream, rest in safety.

With your heart, your soul, listen and know this truth:

Within you are boundless futures, if you are given freedom;

freedom to grow,

freedom to learn,

freedom to touch,

freedom to feel,

freedom to imagine,

freedom to love,

freedom to be loved.

Another great song, totally different style–I’m Alive by Dean Dillon / Kenneth Chesney / Mark Tamburino and performed by Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews.

The lyrics are also very timely for my students and me. Go to this link to see them: I’m Alive Lyrics

So I take a listen. I take some big breaths. I make a cup of tea. I start grading more papers.

Ah, the teaching life!

The horrible looking ad that is probably showing below kind of ruins the effect of my post–thanks Word Press