Flash Fiction

Gotten

I thought I was being torn apart.  I was taken unexpectedly and what I initially thought was against my will.  I was wondering without a care, bathing in the warm sunlight.  Delighting in the glow, playing with my companions.   Then the sun began to fall and just as dusk hit, the siren sounded with its bone rattling fury.  My friends and I began to scramble as darkness fell.  I noticed that one of the beasts had spotted me and began to close in quicker than I could react…or did I let it happen?  Did my curiosity get the best of me?  I woke up in darkness.  I thought I was being torn apart.  But with each piece that was torn away and discarded, I felt myself being born anew and a light was emanating from within me.  When they had finished, (were they consuming me or was it just experimentation?) I flew away into the cosmos.

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Writing Marathon Writing

Stop 1:

Does it have a name? Conformity is too broad, too simple.  What do you call complacency in the face of injustice?  But complacency, I feel, is too harsh of a word, too sharp of a judgement.  The complacency comes from not knowing how to affect change on a large enough scale that it has an impact.  Or rather, change is inevitable, but how does one go about shaping the shift?  How does one go about inspiring progress?  How does one overcome soul-crushing realities and allow themselves to feel hope?  And not just hope enough to continue living, hope enough to make reality less soul-crushing.  But how does one do this and balance it with living their own lives, with pursuing their own dreams, their own loves?

Stop 2:

History has already built this crazy momentum before we got here.  Who are we to challenge it and we certainly can’t change it alone.  Is it conceivable to convince enough people to give up their passions, their interests, their comforts long enough to make changes?  For mass amounts of people to give up comforts to raise the quality of others’ lives?

As far as I know, teaching strikes this balance.  And high school seems to be a formative time for people to start thinking about these larger ideas and begin deciding how they will strike their own balance.  I don’t mean to indoctrinate children to have my point of view, but indoctrinate them into thinking.  Most injustice, oppression,  comes from a lack of thinking.  A willingness to accept contradictions without examining them.  Its from either having a lack of information or having access to endless instant gratification.

Stop 3:

Moving

I’ve moved plenty of times, but seeing my possessions all packed up never ceases to give me a weird feeling.  There’s just something about seeing all those bits of me packed up in boxes.  Seeing all the trinkets and books crammed in boxes, clothes shove in garbage bags.  Temporary furniture dismantled and discarded.

And then there is the deep cleaning.  Moving furniture and cleaning out those forgotten corners and inaccessible spaces.  This part is always exciting.  What hidden treasures will pop up?  Yesterday, I only found a stray Corn Pop behind one of my bookshelves.  I picked it up but I couldn’t think of how it could’ve gotten there.  Did it fly there during a frenzied late night cereal binge?  Did it fall when I was pouring a bowl and my cat use it as a play thing until she lost it behind the bookshelf.  Jabbing and poking at it with her paw until she realized she couldn’t reach it anymore.  Then walking away to find something else to occupy her attention.

Stop 4:

It’s been cool to see everyone wearing the UIWP shirts inspired by my writing process.  It’s very affirming to know that my idea resonated in such a way with a group of intelligent people.  Fellow teachers no less.  It’s also gratifying to see my unofficial space get all up in my official space.  It’s like I knew Anne Dyson in a past life.  Space (outerspace & just the concept of space) is a theme in the music my brother and cousin make.  They make reference to it in dozens of ways and I’m always listening to their music so its always near the surface of my consciousness.

Is the Writing Project official space or somewhere in between?  This whole experience has been affirming professionally definitely, but personally as well.  I enjoy everyone’s feedback on my writing and ideas.  It does make me feel like a writer in a way I haven’t in a long time.  This experience has forced me to spend time writing and I’ve finished a project in time for an important event.  I’ll have an instant audience for the writing I’ve been doing.

Video Project: What Would Becca Do?

If I had more time, I would work on the voice over more.  While doing it, I realized how much a task like this requires you to focus on every syllable.  You have to focus on your inflection, tone, and pacing.  You have to speak slower than in a normal conversation, but its also a challenge to avoid sounding too robotic and monotone.  I was also getting fatigued from repeating portions of my voice over again and again.  Also, I didn’t have a microphone so I had to lean in towards my internal microphone and that was uncomfortable at times. (Poor me, I had to lean into my computer for my podcast).

Also, I think I would use more video as opposed to still images, and end it in a similar way that Becca finished hers, with me talking to the camera.  I thought it had a powerful effect to see the speaker at the end of the video.

Reading Reflection: 6/21/11

Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones by Thomas Newkirk

Before beginning this book, several other members of The Writing Project talked about how much they liked Thomas Newkirk.  I have just finished the first two introductory chapters to this book and I concur with my fellow fellows.  I have enjoyed his writing style and his ideas.  I appreciate that he frames his personal situation as just that, a personal, specific situation.  This also is part of the point he is making in the first two chapters of this book.  He laments the authoritative status of researched-based or evidence-based instruction.  As I continue to teach, the term “researched-based” is being used as if it is a cure-all or all it takes to generate successful learning is to implement this researched-based approach.  It is being privileged so much that it not only trumps, what Newkirk calls, the “wisdom of practice”, the instructional approaches and decisions teachers make based on their own experiences, but it discourages teacher autonomy.  Newkirk eloquently argues that teachers need to be given the space to experiment and learn and also that teachers need to be trusted as professionals to respond to extremely complex situations in response to individual students on individual days in individual contexts.  I enjoyed how he advocates for teachers and their importance in a time when teachers are being demonized and mistrusted more than ever.

UIWP 1st Week Reflection

I was initially hesitant to take part in this program/grad school thingy/professional development institute dealie.  Scott approached me about it during first semester of the school year and would bring it up from time to time insisting that it was a worthwhile endeavor and a good opportunity for professional development.  I remember being utterly confused as to what The Writing Project actually was and what I would be doing.  I was put off by the time commitment it demanded, so I put off answering Scott for months.  I finally agreed to take part in the project, but again I balked when I learned that I would have to present.  As a “developing teacher”  I didn’t know how confident I would feel presenting to a group of peers at this stage in my career.  Also, there was the time commitment.  I was looking forward to relaxing.

After the first week, I’m glad I’ve decided to take part in this program/grad school thingy/professional development institute dealie.  It has already given me a chance to reflect and build on my classroom practices.  My demo stemmed from a problem I was having in class and this experience has already given me numerous ideas to enrich and extend what I had started.  I’m confident my instruction next year will be much improved.  Had I not done The Writing Project, I would not have refined my approach nearly as much.

Personally, I want to use this experience to re-identify as a writer.  When I was a child I did so and, as with a lot of people, I lost this.  The hour each morning to write is such a great way to start the day and I plan on trying to carve this time out of my day even after The Writing Project ends.