Category Archives: writing

It’s a new site

Hello! If you look around, you might notice that the site looks a little different. I’m still fiddling with it, so expect it to look a little different for awhile. But at least it’s back 🙂

Also, if you’re looking for something older, I am working on reposting those from the import that I did, but it’s spring semester…

Writing schedules

I have been terrible at keeping a writing schedule.

This is a bit of a confessional, because I feel guilty at my lack of discipline of committing words to paper (or screen). My excuses for not following through (and completing what are currently best described as writing dreams) are legion. You’ve heard them all before; you may have used them all yourself; my, let’s call them, reasons are not new.

But I need all this to stop. Of course, the only way that I will stop them myself is by following Patrick Rothfuss’ writing advice. (He’s not the only one with great advice, but he’s so succinct).

So now it’s time to put fingers to keys and throw some pixels in the form of words onto the screen. My treat will be a solid editing session in the afternoon!

Thanks for the encouragement! I hope you complete whatever you need done as well!

Student writing

I have been reading and responding to so many personal statements, I’ve lost count. Mercifully, many have been through email, so I can always do a search and count them up. Which I have to do so I can track them all for work, but that is future me’s problem…

The thing about personal statements is that they are draining. Well, actually, everything with high school students is draining, but that’s just because everything in high school is the very first ever in the history of life, because 13-18 is the age range where you start to experience others in a more concrete way, but you’re still too young to really pay attention to what you’re learning in class to realize that everyone on the planet has gone through something similar, so it’s not really the first time in the history of humanity; it’s the first time in the history of your life.

And then, just as everything is on the very edge of beginning to come together, you have to write a personal statement (or 5) to get into college and fund your next round of education. And so all of the life experience ends up on the page for other people to read. Continue reading Student writing

November is the month of writing

Image from msugrads wikispaces on copyright

I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year, because it’s college application season. But I found a new November Writing challenge.

Digital Writing Month.

It’s another 50,000 word goal, but instead of a complete novel draft as the end goal, I think the goal is to demonstrate how much we write using a digital method.

So I’m of course I’m playing this game. I have no idea if I’ll make 50,000 words. I honestly won’t mind if I don’t, because college applications are due and high schoolers are demanding.

On having an audience

Queen's BathI haven’t written in awhile, and I was wondering to myself why I stopped obsessively writing here.

I still love writing. I still think and process information best with either a keyboard or pen and paper handy. I still think of myself as a writer more than anything else.

But it’s been a long time since I posted.

Sure, I got promoted to full-time just in time for the craziest part of our work year, and I went on vacation, and I’m moving. But still, no thoughts to process and post on my blog? Just when people started commenting more and being involved in the conversation here? How lame of me.

And why would I let the other things get in the way of my writing? I’ve published through more stressful times than my job is currently or has been in the near past. To say I’m too busy simply functions as an excuse everyone will accept without question.

But I finally figured out one major underlying, and rather bizarre, reason for my neglect: I have an audience. Continue reading On having an audience

Student writing

I work with some super creative and funny students. They make me laugh through most of work.

So I convinced them to share with everyone. And now you can laugh at their blogs too.

chandrafallinginlove (my students are frequently ridiculous and think it’s funny to use me as a source of entertainment)



And I’m probably going to convince more students to start writing. Because you need to read what they have to say. And they need to write more.

Update: Hooray! More students have started blogs! And I’m slowly convincing more of them. Soon there will be a whole collection of half collected ideas from the heads of teenagers.




mercurial ramblings

Because I don’t write enough online or have enough to distract me, I started a tumblr. I’ve named it mercurial ramblings of english, but I’m thinking of changing the name.

If you also have a tumblr, hit me up! I make no promises of more frequent or interesting posts there than you find here. Just probably a little shorter …

Cut off your nose to spite your face

Dictionaries hold the answersI used the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” recently, and then wondered where it came from, because, really, it’s an odd phrase.

It means to injure yourself in order to harm an adversary (or variations close to that) and carries the idea that revenge or anger motivates the self-inflicted damage. And the phrase apparently comes from England in the 1500s. Where most of the really interesting and useful phrases do.

Which also means that I’ve never used this phrase correctly. I generally use it in the sense that a person is too stubborn to willingly do something, despite  surmounting evidence of said thing’s benefit. The word “spite” really should have clued me into the violent elements of the phrase, but there you have it.

So if you’ve ever wondered, like me, about the phrase, now you know. What other words or phrases make you curious? I think I’ll have to look into more because words are fantastically fun.

SAT Essay

HappinessThe past few weeks have found me assisting some of the seniors from work study for the SAT. It’s been awhile since I sat for the exam, which has made the attempts to help the students improve their skills and scores challenging. Especially when it comes to writing.

See, the new (as it will be forever as far as I’m concerned) SAT exam includes an essay portion. Because the exam wasn’t stressful enough, the administrators opted to add one of the most stressful educational experiences – the time essay. In an effort to add insult to injury, they set the essay time to 25 minutes. For every part of the essay, including reading the prompt.

So the other day I wrote an essay in the time allotted answering an exam question.

I was pretty sure, when the students I was working with challenged me, that I could manage writing an essay in the miniscule time set. I haven’t had to write such a detailed essay since high school, but I’ve kept up with my writing. So I went home and sat down to meet their challenge. After a 30 minute search of the house for college ruled notebook paper. (it’s amazing what staples for life disappear when your focus changes)

After setting my phone alarm to chime when the allotted time had elapsed, I began the process of answering the question. I used the entire time, but I completed my 5 paragraph, basic essay! I had to keep track of the time so as not to run out, but other than that, the whole experience wasn’t terrible. I’m out of practice, but my other writing skills kicked in to help compensate for the deficits. Keeping my thesis in mind while I wrote so that I would cut down on editing time at the end proved more difficult than I remembered. This could also be due to the fact that I kept wanting to make the essay argument more complicated. I was a little surprised at how quickly everything about hyper-timed writing came back to me.

What I remain unclear on is how the SAT creators expect students who are not versed in the field of English and lacking in college experience to succeed. Especially if those students are not prepared through school and lack the resources to afford help.

I felt like I succeeded in my task, but the students still haven’t read and evaluated my essay. They’ve had help learning the SAT system, so I am deferring to their expertise in this matter. I’ll have to post how that conversation goes and what they decide to give me.

On storytelling

Our placeOne of the most nerve-wracking moments for me as a writer occurs when I hand a story to a friend for them to read. Sending it out for random editors carries its own stress, but in those instances, the connection routes through my professional side which moves criticism to a non-personal place.

I have yet to reach that level of maturity with my friends. Which adds the necessary barbs to each comment in order to pierce my being. And if the friend who snuck into the story more than I had anticipated reads it, I’d rather visit another universe for those moments.

My discomfort doesn’t stem from fear of/for  the story, or lack of confidence in my writing. It reaches much deeper.

Continue reading On storytelling