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I have done 40-50 pages worth of extra credit for the 401 Creative Nonfiction class this semester.

 

LIST OF EXTRA CREDIT DONE:

 

  1. Weeks 1-4: Helpful hints -- how to open Multimedia files on your Mac computer ­ I posted this to help other people open Tegrity files on their Mac computers. Also, I posted three Memoirs in English Postings. I wrote Sherry about possible fixes for Windows computers that were running Tegrity. There were several ideas on the Tegrity website, and some on the Microsoft website that I thought could help. I also posted links so people could go to these sites with their questions.
  2. Week 5: I posted two other episodes in our Class Memoir.
  3. Week 6: I posted an episode in the Class Memoir, and did the Best Practices assignment, “Do’s and Don’ts of Good Writing”.
  4. Week 7: I posted an episode in the Class Memoir.
  5. Week 8: I posted a critique group information piece that listed 12 good websites I researched this week.
  6. Week 10: I posted a long piece about my favorite Bird by Bird quotes, listing page numbers, and made some comments about Lamott at the end.
  7. Week 11: I did two extensive extra critiques of anonymous class postings.
  8. Week 13: I wrote an extensive listing of King quotes, along with commentary.
  9. Week 14: I read Teacher Training and Composing as two extra reading, and commented on it. Also, I commented on the story, “Shelby” as an anonymous critique, and also workshopped Katresa’s paper for her, entitled “The Yellow Ride”.

 

Also, I helped classmates whenever I knew an answer to a question posted on the “Questions? Comments?” area. This also counts towards my extra credit. I have at least twenty instances that I helped other students out on this forum.

 

I also had a blog spot at:

http://www.betsyanne.blogspot.com/

and used it as often as possible.

 

I also posted almost every week on my Personal Journal section an extra section I added to my personal folder on Blackboard.

 

 

I made many web pages, all from scratch, and linked them all together for my final project.

I illustrated one of my stories:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY GRANDMOTHER'S ART PAGE.

All of my other extra credit from the top list is attached here:

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEKS ONE THROUGH FOUR

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Sun Jan 16 2005 10:44 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - weeks 1-4

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Current Forum: QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

Date: Sun Jan 9 2005 7:10 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Helpful hints -- how to open Multimedia files on your Mac computer

 

 

To all 401-700 students who are using a Macintosh computer:

 

Here is how I got the WebLearner Session 1 Multimedia Lesson (assignment 1) to work on my Mac computer running OSX. This file is located in the Course Documents/Multimedia files folder in the 401 class area on Blackboard.

 

I am running Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac to access these files. This browser works with Windows Media Player.

 

If you don’t have Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac yet, you can download it here for free:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx#IE

 

Just download it to your desktop and then follow the instructions to put it on your computer.

 

If you haven't yet used the Media Player for the first time, you need to go to it via your Hard Drive/Applications/Windows Media Player (or wherever you have your Windows Media Player located). If you don’t know where this is located, use the “file-find” function on the top of your computer screen.

 

Now you will double-click on the example "Windows Media Sample". This file has a .wmv extension on it on my computer. After the sample has run out (it is short), then you can try to open the class Multimedia lesson file.

 

Please note: your sample may have another extension on it, (the Tegrity WebLearner program says) but it will still say “sample” in front. Just doubleclick this to get the program up and running.

 

If you don’t currently have Windows Media Player on your computer, it can be downloaded here for free:

 

htt://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/

 

The one that I had on my Mac computer was Windows Media Player 9 series for Mac OSX. It may have come with my Explorer browser; but I don’t know for sure.

 

You may also download each of the class files to your Mac desktop and play them

later. That's what I chose to do. I downloaded the first Multimedia lesson. It shows Dr. Judith explaining how to do the first written assignment. Dr. Judith actually talks to you on a movie file that opens on your computer.

 

You have the option of downloading just the audio portion of this file, but the video and audio is really great. You should download the best quality file your computer can handle.

 

The program that will show up on your computer first is called “Tegrity Web Learner”. This is the program that is on Blackboard that contains the multimedia files. This program will download each file to your desktop as a Windows Media Player file. The first file is called “stream3.asf”.

 

The first multimedia file from Dr. Judith is a zip document. You unzip it automatically by double-clicking on the zip file, once you have downloaded it from Blackboard. Then you will have all of the files in a folder on your desktop called paper_1_3 folder.

 

You now will open the multimedia lesson by first opening the Windows Media Player (I put an alias on it first to my dock). Then you go to Open/ paper1_3_folder/class/broadcast/stream3/asf. You can tell the correct file to open because the icon matches the Windows Media Player icon. The file “stream3.asf” looks like a forward button.

 

The rest is automatic. You will soon be listening to Dr. Judith talking to you right on your computer! It really helps if you are an audio learner, like me.

 

It also helps to have a high-speed connection to download these multimedia lessons from Dr. Judith at the Higher Quality session level. If this is not possible, you want to opt for the Good Quality file instead.

 

Another idea: you may decide to open these files at the MMTH Computer lab and burn the video files to a CD. This way is fast and you can bring the files home to watch after that. Don’t forget to bring blank CDR disks with you to the lab. You may decide to do this if you don’t have a fast internet connection.

 

The program itself (Tegrity Web Learner) has a prompt in it that explains how to check for the Windows Media folder on a Mac computer. You may decide to use the Tegrity help file instead of this one.

 

My regular Firefox browser won't run the multimedia files. I haven't tried it on my

Safari, Netscape, or AOL browsers yet.

 

Good luck, Mac users. And please contact me if you have any problems. I would be glad to help you get connected to the audio lesson sessions.

 

Betsy Sheppard

Web course 401-700

Advanced Composition

With Dr. Judith

 

Also: it looks like the Tegrity program also downloaded a movie with a Quicktime extension in the broadcast folder. This may work with your Quicktime player also.

 

In addition, there is a PowerPoint presentation in the folder that I plan to open and check out soon.

 

Please email me at Lizann447@yahoo.com or Elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu if I can help you with any Mac questions in the future. Talk to you soon ­ maybe we will be in a study group or reading group together. I hope so!

 

EAHS 1-9-05

270-779-4152 (cell phone)

 

_______________________________________________

 

From Memoirs in English - posting #2

 

"She's here!" said a voice from the back of the classroom. I stood in the doorway, adjusted my shoulders, forced a smile, and met the gaze of a tall, lanky student slouching against the window. He didn't smile back. "Hello!" I said, scanning the room. Three students shoved a cardboard box onto a bookshelf, then turned around. They ambled to one of the group tables and sat down. I walked matter-of-factly to the center of the room, lowering my bookpack onto the large desk in front of the blackboard.

 

Memoirs in English - posting #4

 

I counted to ten, slowly. Hadn't we covered situations just like this in my methods class? It was going to be all right, I told myself. All I had to do is take a deep Yoga breath, and act calm and in control. I breathed in and out, feeling the calming begin. I felt better. From the back of the room, I heard giggles and whispers. Someone passed a note.

 

____________________________________________________________

 

On QUESTIONS?/COMMENTS? site 1-30-05

 

Current Forum: QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

Date: Sun Jan 30 2005 4:54 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Re: Help for MM files - and hint about folder

 

Dear Sherry,

 

I am guessing that maybe the green file is the Tegrity file that is loading slowly. Not sure. I will be able to check later this week.

 

Until then, or when another class member posts, here are some hints I wrote out that might help you.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

QUESTIONS FOR 401 PC USERS:

 

Has anyone opened the Multimedia files on their PC (WINDOWS) computer?

 

How about on the WKU WINDOWS PC computers?

 

I have opened them on my Mac at home, after downloading them to my desktop.

 

Please post here and let us know how you did it. That would help out a lot.

 

I would do that at Western, but can’t get there until later on this week.

 

Please let us know what you did to open these files. Was it automatic? Please post your answer so we can know.

 

Here are some things that might help to play these files, which are in Windows Media Player format and also in Real Player format:

 

 

OPENING THE MULTIMEDIA FILES

 

The Multimedia files are located at: Course Documents/Multimedia Files

 

STEP ONE: Make sure you have the latest copy of Internet Explorer on your computer. Use that as your browser to access the course BB site.

 

STEP TWO: Make sure you also have a suitable (right for your OS) copy of Microsoft Media Player on your computer. (see below, download sites)

 

Make sure you download both of these programs and then RESTART your computer after you have loaded the 2 programs onto your hard drive. You double-click on each one on your desktop after the download and have them load themselves onto your hard drive. Log back after you have restarted your computer, using the new Internet Explorer program (or the newest you can find for your operating system).

 

STEP THREE: Double click on the Multimedia file section folders here. (Course Documents/Multimedia Files). You should have a popup box come up in your browser window, telling you about the program, “Tegrity”. It has buttons and directions on the popup box. (at least, it did on the Mac platform).

 

 

Keep these instructions (from Dr. Judith) in mind for after the box pops up.

 

MULTIMEDIA FILES

When you click on the link and the program loads, select your Internet Speed. Clicking the speed will launch the file. Don’t know your speed? Check your modem, (most are 56k) or hit the highspeed number for a cable connection.

 

You will probably have a button saying “OK” or “download” or “play” after you make your selections. Click this button.

 

STEP FOUR: You download the files (so you can watch them again) onto your desktop, so you don’t lose the file location. Make sure that the location is “desktop” in the window. OR play the files without downloading, if this is an option.

 

STEP FIVE: Open the program “Windows Media Player” and open the appropriate Windows Media File (the file will have an.wmf extension, or an ending of the name = .wmf) with this program (Use File ­ Open on your Windows Media Player to open the file).

 

You will then be able to (hopefully) view the Multimedia file showing Dr. Judith talking in a window on your desktop. If you can’t find the file, look inside the folders until you find it (on your desktop where you downloaded the files). The buttons work just like on a CD player, forward is a right arrow.

 

STEP SIX: Go here at QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? And post to let us know this worked.

 

 

DOWNLOADS TO HELP YOU WITH THE TEGRITY FILES:

 

To download the latest free version (#6 for Windows) go here:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1e1550cb-5e5d-48f5-b02b-20b602228de6&DisplayLang=en

 

That download works for all these different systems:

Overview

Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 updates the Internet Explorer 6 core technologies in Windows® XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional. Internet Explorer 6 SP1 provides a private, reliable, and flexible browsing experience and the freedom to experience the best of the Internet for users of Windows XP, Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Windows NT® 4.0 Service Pack 6a.

 

Here are the directions and the system requirements from the Microsoft website:

System Requirements

 

* Supported Operating Systems: Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows XP

* 486/66 MHz processor (Pentium processor recommended)

 

Windows Me:

32 MB of RAM minimum

Full install size: 8.7 MB

 

Windows 2000:

32 MB of RAM minimum

Full install size: 12.0 MB

 

Windows 98 Second Edition:

16 MB of RAM minimum

Full install size: 12.4 MB

 

Windows 98:

16 MB of RAM minimum

Full install size: 11.5 MB

 

Windows NT 4.0 with the high encryption version of Service Pack 6a and higher:

32 MB of RAM minimum

Full install size: 12.7 MB

 

Windows XP:

32 MB of RAM minimum

Full install size: 12.0 MB

 

* CD-ROM drive (if installation is done from a CD-ROM)

* Some components may require additional system resources not outlined.

 

Note: Internet Explorer 6 SP1 setup installs the majority of its files on the drive where the Windows operating system is installed, regardless of the installation location you choose. To free up space on your hard disk in order to meet disk-space installation requirements, do so on the drive where the Windows operating system is installed.

Instructions

 

1. Click the Download button in the upper right-hand corner of this page to start the download, or choose a different language from the drop-down list if applicable, and click Go.

2. Do one of the following:

* To start the installation immediately, click Open or Run this program from its current location.

* To copy the download to your computer for installation at a later time, click Save or Save this program to disk.

 

How to use:

Restart your computer to complete the installation.

 

Windows 2000 and Windows XP users: Custom installation is not available for Internet Explorer 6 SP1 on Windows 2000 or Windows XP operating systems.

 

How to uninstall:

 

1. Make sure Internet Explorer 6 SP1 is not running.

2. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. (In Windows XP, click Start and then click Control Panel.)

3. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.

4. Select Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP 1.

5. Click Add/Remove (Change/Remove in Windows 2000 and Windows XP).

 

Additional Information

Other critical security updates are available: To find the latest security updates for you visit Windows Update and click "Express Install." To have the latest security updates delivered directly to your computer, visit Protect your PC and follow the 3 easy steps to ensure you’re protected.

 

 

You MAY also need Windows Media Player. You can download that here:

NOTE: you must be using WINDOWS XP:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b446ae53-3759-40cf-80d5-cde4bbe07999&displaylang=en

 

Here is Media Player 9

 

Windows Media Player 9 Series for Windows 98 Second Edition, Me, and 2000

 

Enjoy fast and flexible music and video playback with Microsoft® Windows Media® Player 9 Series. Over 120 new features, including Fast Streaming, quicker startup, and smart jukebox features.

 

System Requirements

Supported Operating Systems: Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME

 

* Note for Windows 98 Users: You must be running Windows 98 Second Edition to install this download.

* For more details, see the system requirements page for the Player.

 

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e0175119-9a5b-44c3-b1de-9b2a9aa6cff6&displaylang=en

 

Here is the Windows Media Player download for 7.1. It works on prior Windows systems.

Here is the description from the page:

Windows Media Player 7.1 for Windows 98, 2000, and Me

 

Windows Media Player 7.1 includes the following new and/or updated features: new Windows Media Audio 8 (WMA8) encoding, new Smart Transcode support, Windows Media Audio and Video 8 decoding, the new Enterprise Deployment Pack, and other updates and fixes.

 

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=6ccfee89-3d4f-42ee-9239-0893b2c40a62&displaylang=en

 

 

QUESTIONS FROM THE MICROSOFT WEBSITE THAT MIGHT HELP:

 

Can't View Video on Your New PC?

 

Use the Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility to determine if your computer is compatible with Windows Media Player 10 and Windows XP Media Center Edition

 

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en&categoryid=4

 

______________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: CLASS MEMOIR

Date: Wed Feb 2 2005 8:07 am

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Memoirs of English in 2005

 

I turned the light back on. I had shocked some of the students into silence. Good. "Now that you know that class has started," I said, "we can start talking about the rules of this class - and the meaning of the word 'respect.'"

Post responseEXTRA CREDIT - WEEK FIVE

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Mon Jan 31 2005 10:33 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 5

 

Current Forum: CLASS MEMOIR

Date: Mon Jan 31 2005 10:31 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Memoirs of English in 2005

 

I decided to just go for it. "Good morning!" I said cheerfully, and smiled at the class, checking out the scene. There looked to be about twenty-five of them. Four were already sleeping, their heads down. Most were ignoring me - some were even laughing, but wouldn't meet my eyes. The noise level was steady, but increasing, as more students started to talk to their neighbors. I walked quickly to the light switch, and turned it off.

 

____________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: CLASS MEMOIR

Date: Thu Feb 10 2005 8:21 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Memoirs of English in 2005

 

I had a weird sense of deja vu as a student in the back of the room raised his hand and stood up. I remembered that he was one of two students I noticed whispering when I first came in. I called on him first.

 

"Yes?"

 

He grinned, still standing up. Now I remembered. Two students had pushed that box onto the shelf as I walked in today. He pointed to the bookshelf, the one with a cardboard box shoved into it.

 

"Can you tell me what is in that box?"

 

A few students next to him turned their heads to stare at him, wide-eyed, frozen. The other students put their hands down and looked at me.

 

Post response

 

 

 

EXTRA  CREDIT - WEEK SIX

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Thu Feb 17 2005 6:50 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 6

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Current Forum: CLASS MEMOIR

Date: Thu Feb 17 2005 6:47 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Memoirs of English in 2005

 

There was a quick knock on the door, and the Vice Principal, Mr. Wortmann, came in. "Dr. Wolf's in a meeting," he said, "but I'm free, Ms. Sharpe." He took a position right next to me in the front of the room. He folded his hands over his chest. "OK, Henry," I said. " We're ready. Why don't you show us what is in that box?"

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

BEST PRACTICES

 

DO write your stories ahead of deadline - you will have a chance to fix that word or words you noticed were wrong when you read it again.

 

DO start your stories "in media res" or in the middle of the action. People can pretty much figure out what came before that.

 

DO consider shortening your ending. If you work too hard on this part, it can sound really fake. Don't try to make it "pretty", try to make it interesting.

 

DO "show" and not "tell".

 

DO try writing as Lamott says, "through a 1-inch picture frame". Minimize your focus, and go from there.

 

DO write about something that you enjoy remembering, it will bring a smile to your face as you do your work.

 

DO listen to advice about your story... other people see things you will miss.

 

DO tell the truth.

 

DO try small or short writing assignments first.

 

DO send your story to as many people as possible for editing help to make your narrative the best it can be.

 

DO be clear. Tell the reader what is going on. You don't want them to give up on your narrative.

 

DO describe using all of the 5 senses. (or 6, if you can!)

 

DON'T forget to use spell check.

 

DON'T worry about a dry spell - if you keep on shlogging through it, you will eventually get to the water.

 

DON'T switch tenses - watch for unity in your narrative.

 

DON'T force the story - let the story lead itself on.

 

DON'T use stilted language, try to write like you speak or like other people speak.

 

DON'T use sentences that are all the same length.

 

DON'T believe that you will necessarily be famous, rich or even published right away. It may never happen. Get off that focus. It might be hard to do, but you have to do it. What is really important is the writing, actually doing the writing. When you get your focus straight, everything else will become a lot easier.

 

Plus your head will fit into your shirt a lot easier.

 

DON'T stop editing - cut out every word you don't need. Too many words are boring, and the reader won't like it.

 

DON'T give up!

Post response

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEK SEVEN

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Thu Feb 24 2005 1:15 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 7

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Current Forum: CLASS MEMOIR

Date: Thu Feb 24 2005 1:15 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Memoirs of English in 2005

 

On the way down the hall I was walking quickly and trying not to bump into other students and teachers. I did a fast head count. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty... but where was my student number twenty-one? I glanced back, but didn’t see anyone else. I know I had made sure that everyone in the classroom was out before I left the room. Someone wasn’t there... now what? Mr. Wortmann waved a short “goodbye” and ducked down the office hallway. “Come on, let’s get outside!” I said as we neared the front of the school.

Post response

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEK SEVEN

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Sun Mar 6 2005 5:31 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 8

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Yes, yes, and yes. I want very much to start a writing group. There is one at Barnes and Noble... and Anne Lamott said a creative writing class was a good place to find these people too. Serious writers... I need a lot of practice, I know... and this will help me. I found some places online that sounded good - some are links to writing groups, and some are other writing sites - here they are:

 

Writing link ­ to many sites,

including critique sites,

and one automatic

critique site (computer)

http://www.critiquecircle.com/links.asp

 

Analyze your story!

Use Auto-crit ­ (free)

for 2000 words or less.

Does it automatically!

http://www.autocrit.com/Critnow.cfm

 

Here are some more: (I got looking around and found some more I liked tonight):

 

Writer Organizations

Links List

http://www.forwriters.com/groups.html

 

Another Writer’s Group List ­

Manuscript Editing.com

http://www.manuscriptediting.com/writersgroups.htm

 

Free Short Story Critique Group

You must submit an work sample

http://www.shortstorygroup.com/

 

Advice on How to Start a Writing Group

http://www.fictionweek.com/writinggroups.html

 

Where to get published for FREE online:

A list of resources:

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art3219.asp

 

The Well-Fed Writer

Where Commercial Writers Hang Out

(Copy Writers, Business, Corporate or

Marketing writers...) I guess CNF fits here

someplace...

http://www.wellfedwriter.com/links.shtml

 

Christian Writer’s

Wise Steward’s Page

talks about Nonfiction work

http://www.eaglesnesthome.com/writers.htm

 

The Scribe ­ newsgroups,

discuss non-fiction, fantasy, more

http://members.optusnet.com.au/the_scribe/communities.html

 

Non-fiction Resources from the UK ­

includes US sites

http://www.ability.org.uk/writers_resources_nonfiction.html

 

Non-fiction is included in this all-encompassing

Writing Contest Links Page

http://www.manuscriptediting.com/contests.htm

 

World Writer ­ another

link resource

http://worldwriter.homestead.com/writerslinks2.html

Post response

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEK TEN

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Thu Mar 17 2005 8:29 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 10

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Current Forum: BIRD BY BIRD

Date: Thu Mar 17 2005 8:27 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Bird by Bird - my favorite quotes

Modify Forum Remove Forum

My favorite quotes from “Bird by Bird” and why I liked them.

 

1. p. xx “Then I wrote some terrible, terrible stories.”

This quote is important, because it gives me hope about my writing. If Anne Lamott, a published writer, admits that she once wrote some terrible, terrible stories, then it's OK if I do.

 

2. p. xxi “But I was ambitious. I wanted to be recognized on a larger scale. So I dropped out at nineteen to become a famous. I moved back to San Francisco and became a famous Kelly Girl instead.”

This reminded me of myself. I thought that if something didn’t drop into my lap, it wasn’t going to happen. Fate ­ or the lack of it ­ seemed to be out of my reach for many years. I have always wanted to be a writer. Now I feel that thought I've done a little bit of a detour, I can still write.

 

3. p. xxiv “I believed, before I sold my book, that publication would be instantly and automatically gratifying, an affirming and romantic experience, a Hallmark commercial where one runs and leaps in slow motion across a meadow filled with wildflowers into the arms of acclaim and self-esteem.”

I still think about this. She thinks it is a fantasy... I still think it's real (haha).

 

4. p. xxxi “I guess he hasn’t heard about the smallpox-infected blankets yet.”

I disagree about the smallpox-infected blankets. The pilgrims didn’t bring them, other people did, but it’s a catchy quote.

 

5. p. 3 “The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth.”

This went along with Dr. Judith’s opinion and the opinion of other people who were writers.

 

6. p. 11 (poem by Phillip Lopate):

 

We who are

your closest friends

feel the time

has come to tell you

that every Thursday

we have been meeting,

as a group,

to devise ways

to keep you

in perpetual uncertainty

frustration

discontent and

torture

by neither loving you

as much as you want

nor cutting you adrift.

Your analyst is

in on it,

plus your boyfriend,

and your ex-husband;

and we have pledged

to disappoint you

as long as you need us.

In announcing our

association

we realize we have

placed in your hands

a possible antidote

against uncertainty

indeed against ourselves.

But since our Thursday nights

have brought us

to a community

of purpose

rare in itself

with you as

the natural center,

we feel hopeful you

will continue to make unreasonable

demands for affection

if not as a consequence

of your disastrous personality

then for the good of the collective.

This wasn’t her quote, but was in her book. I thought it was so funny. A writer can be so insecure sometimes.

 

7. p. 16. The first useful concept is the idea of short assignments.

A good place to start with your writing.

 

8. p. 16 “... your mental illnesses arrive at the desk like your sickest, most secretive relatives. And they pull up chairs in a semicircle around the computer, and they try to be quiet but you know they are there with their weird coppery breath, leering at you behind your back.”

Lovely imagery. This quote really stuck out in my mind. A writer has these imaginary things competing with their writing. You can lose sight of your dream if you stare at them instead of working on your writing.

 

9. p. 17 “...all I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.”

A good method ­ it makes you break things down and see clearer as you write.

 

10. p. 19. “’Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”

The title quote. To me, this means tackling your writing a little at a time.

 

11. p. 21. “Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her.

Jealousy, but funny. It makes me smile, because I know that my first drafts are NOT perfect at all. It took awhile to free myself up to write them faster, too, and not be so rigid about my writing.

 

12. p. 29. “The first bites caused a ripping sensation in the back of my throat, but within minutes all the pain was gone, permanently.”

A good metaphor for being stuck in any way, especially in writing. Taken from her frozen muscles story after having her tonsils removed and being in pain.

 

13. p. 37 “Code carrots had to look machine extruded, absolutely uniform, none longer than the length of the sandwich. Your parents would sometimes send you to school with waxed-paper packets of uneven cockoo-bunny carrots, and your carrot esteem would be so low you couldn’t even risk looking at the guy against the fence. Bad juju. If you so much as glanced at him, a visible empathetic arc would stretch between you, almost like a rainbow, and link you two in the minds of your peers forever.”

From the famous “school lunches” exercise. Shows how a wonderful description comes from a small assignment ­ writing about School Lunches. This piece of her book may well outlast some other of her writing. It's hard to forget.

 

14. p. 38. “The boy against the fence appeared out of nowhere ­ I had no idea when I started writing that he was in my memory.”

This quote explains that you can have things in your subconscious that pop out of your memory when you write that you never knew were there.

 

15. p. 45 “You are probably going to have to let bad things happen to some of the characters you love or you won’t have much of a story.”

Getting real is part of telling the truth. Perfection doesn’t exist much in the real world, and you are trying to write about the truth.

 

16. p. 45 “Let there be something at stake,” Lamott says, “and then let the chips fall where they may.”

This quote tells about conflict ­ it’s part of the real world, and what can make your story readable.

 

17. p. 53. “It’s teatime, and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It’s that simple.”

A wonderful quote. Get writing, people!, Lamott is saying.

 

18. p. 62. (about Alice Adams) “A formula can be a great way to get started.”

The A-B-C method is something beginning writers can try, and it may work great. I think I'd like to try this.

 

19. p. 62 “And it feels so great finally to dive into the water; maybe you splash around and flail for a while, but at least you’re in. Then you start doing whatever stroke you can remember how to do, and you get this scared feeling inside you ­ of how hard it is and how far there is to go ­ but still you’re in, and you’re afloat, and you’re moving.”

How it feels to start writing ­ it’s scary, but you know you are making progress.

 

20. p. 64 “Suddenly people are talking and we find outselves clipping along. And we have all the pleasures of voyeurism because the characters don’t know we are listening.”

This quote tells what it’s like to read good dialogue.

 

21. p. 72 “You have to move your hand across the paper or the keyboard... a good typist listens.”

Lamott feels that stories can write themselves sometimes ­ and it’s a truthful way to write.

 

22. p. 89 “‘I am so, so sorry,’ he said, ‘but it still doesn’t work.’”.

Even writers like Lamott can fail ­ and get up and write again. This can be so helpful for beginning writers to hear.

 

23. p. 97 “Writing is learning to pay attention and to communicate what’s going on.”

A good writer keeps his or her eyes open. Plus, writing is a process ("learning").

 

24. p. 111 “You need your broccoli in order to write well.”

It just sounded good. She liked broccoli (intuition) in the 2,000-Year-Old Man routine with Mel Brooks. This is a really funny routine. Lamott's book became so much more fun to read because of her funny sections.

 

25. p. 122 “... if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know ­ people who are, in other words, not you.”

I could see myself here. I want to be the successful one ­ and who is as fantastic as I am? (note: tongue in cheek moment...) I know all writers want to be successful, and I'm sure I can be jealous at times, too.

 

26. p. 124 “And I, who am the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are (a) getting older, (b) talking about it until the fever breaks, and (c) using it as material.”

She admits to her jealousy, and that’s so refreshing.

 

27. p. 135 “The silver lining is that you’re not going to have to see any more naked pregnant pictures of Demi Moore.”

Now that’s funny. And her dying friend thought so too.

 

28. p. 139 “Wait! we older ones wanted to cry out, you haven’t poured in the lemon juice.”

... yet she couldn’t tell her Aunt. She is explaining how sometimes people have a really hard time telling the truth.

 

29. p. 156 “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it, too.”

The unvarnished truth can hurt. When you are giving feedback or critiquing someone's writing, you don't want to be so blunt that you are stabbing them with your words. Be gentle.

 

30. p. 179 “Okay, hmmm, let’s see. Dying tomorrow. What shall I do today?”

Seeing the world like it is ­ what is more important ­ your petty troubles? Or what is really important? Up to you.

 

31. p. 180 “We’re bugs struggling in the river, brightly visible to the trout below. With that fact in mind, people like me make up all these rules to give us the illusion that we are in charge. I need to say to myself, they’re not needed, hon. Just take in the buggy pleasures. Be kind to the others, grab the fleck of riverweed, notice how beautifully your bug legs scull.”

Ditto. We are not in charge in this life. I think this has meaning for writers and their writing, too. You may not be famous, no matter how hard you try. But your attitude about it is important.

 

32. p. 189 “I began to wonder if I was some sort of carrier.”

This sounds familiar. Somebody said that bad luck comes in threes. I don’t think that is true. I think she is saying that this feeling changed later.

 

33. p. 205 “’Then the boy opened his eyes and said, ‘How soon until I start to die?’”

Now this was a story about unselfish love. It made me smile, because he was so in earnest.

 

34. p. 207 “’Pain,’ she says. ‘You don’t know pain. He doesn’t call, he doesn’t write...’”

This is funny. Check out the gorilla story. I think we can have such a crazy idea of reality. She sure did. Althought it seems like these stories don't go along with Lamott's thinking and telling us about writing, they do. Life is full of stories and meaning in everything we do. Every day if we look carefully and take our eyes off ourselves we can learn so much, which we can put in our writing.

 

35. p. 234 “The society to which we belong seems to be dying or is already dead.”

Scary ­ reminds me of my Social Studies teacher in 6th grade. “We are like the Roman Empire ­ our greatest days of glory have already gone, and we are going downhill. You may see the end, I will be gone, but I must warn you...” Scary, and very apros pos to our post 9-11 world. What will happen next? She doesn't know - I don't know - and writer's shouldn't stop wondering about the world, about the future, about possibilities.

 

I think Lamott was opening our eyes to her world and letting us see how she is trying to open her eyes even wider. Her advice to us is to try to do that too.

 

The best thing about this book is that I see something new in it each time I read it. I will keep it especially for the chapters on Writer's Block, Characterization, etc. - I can use it as a Writing Library text when I get a block about a certain part of my writing. Plus, if I need a kick in the pants to get back writing, I know reading this book will help that way, too.

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEK ELEVEN

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 2:51 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 11

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Current Forum: PAPER 2 DRAFT 1 - ANONYMOUS CLASS POSTINGS

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 1:50 pm

Author: Anonymous

 

{Hi! I am going to put my comments about your Spring Break piece in these marks “{“ and “}”. I am going to put everything I think of on your critique, just as I am getting ready to do with my own. I wrote mine as a “quick draft” for the first time in my life, so I am getting ready to make a LOT of changes on mine.

 

Please don’t feel that you have to make these changes. I am only putting things on here that I thought of as I read your story. I hope they are helpful. I know I will be making even more changes on my own story.

 

I want to first tell you that this story is full of the human element. That is so important in a story. You really reached into your experience to tell about people's feelings, and not just your own feelings.

 

So many things happened that I’ll bet you never forget on your Spring Break trip. Thank you for writing it and for letting me read it. I have been only on one team myself, and that was a volleyball team (long story... Well, here goes...}

 

College spring break is always looked to with much anticipation by all students in a mid-semester rut. Some just want to go home for the week, others make extra money at their jobs, many spend the week in a drunken stupor at an exotic destination, and the dedicated participate in week-long athletic tournaments.

 

{I guess you were among the latter ­ participating in week-long athletic tournaments?}

 

I had always hoped that my very first college spring break experience would in fact be the traditional drunken stupor. It turns out that a softball scholarship requires that you be of the dedicated sort.

It had been a long season already, and it was only March.

 

{I am guessing that you were tired...}

 

My teammates and I had spent most of the year practicing and conditioning in the cold weather while raising money for the chance to play in Florida rather than Kentucky for our spring break. Fielding balls in the snow and huddling together between innings for heat was something that the seven new freshmen weren’t used to.

 

{Were you a new Freshman? Were you on the baseball team?}

 

High schools have the luxury of actually playing the bulk of their schedule in April and May, when the college season is just winding down.

 

{When do college students play the bulk of their schedule ­ in March and April? I am guessing here.}

 

We had sold signs to every business in Owensboro that was willing to associate their name with our outfield fence. I even had to promise a varicose vein specialist that if she purchased, her sign would be center field. Besides busily selling signs, we were also responsible for selling baked chickens

 

{baked chicken orders?}

 

orders around town. When the day of the “chicken sale” arrived, the people who had ordered would pick up their evening meal.

 

{Was an evening meal a chicken only? No veggies? Just curious.}

 

We had ordered extra chickens to sell to the public on the big day. We suffered together as a team and ran miles upon miles when it was discovered that we had stuffed the left over chickens from our “big sale” deep into the gutters of our field parking lot.

 

{Were you punished by running laps? I know this happens with some teams... What were you supposed to do with the chickens? Throw them away in the garbage or sell all of them?}

 

We would have gotten away with our secret mission had the awful smell not began to permeate the entire small private school campus.

The season thus far had been sprinkled with chicken mis-haps, hard practices, several devastating losses, and a few promising wins. Our young, close knit

 

{close-knit?}

 

team had already had to deal with rumors of an anorexic team member, boyfriends cheating with teammates, and a player sleeping with the coach. I really did not suspect that spring break could bring any more drama. If anything, it would be a bonding experience, and a chance for me to prove to coach once and for all that I should be his starting third baseman all of the time.

I should have known from the moment the bus arrived at 3 a.m. on that crisp March morning that there would inevitably be problems. We were traveling with the baseball team

 

{The men’s baseball team?}

 

and someone had ordered the wrong bus size.

 

{It was way too small? I am guessing here. I wonder if that is against the law!}

 

We took turns between the comfortable bus seats and lying across duffle and bat bags that filled the aisle. The chances of a safe evacuation in the case of an emergency were shot all to hell.

After the long journey from Kentucky to Florida, we were excited to see the beaches and palm trees. I looked at my close friend Amber and said, “Maybe this will turn out ok.”

 

{OK?}

 

 

“Shit. You know our luck.” was her response.

Yes, I knew our luck. And I immediately saw that Amber was probably correct. The baseball team dropped us off at our roach motel while they went off toward their beachside palace.

 

{Why did the other team get a good motel and you guys got the roach motel? Doesn’t sound fair.}

 

We were told by our coach that there would be four players to a room. Except the seniors, who would have three, and one room with five freshmen. It was interesting that the three freshmen who were not included in this week-long cramped living situation were the girl rumored to have slept with coach and her two best friends. It is equally as interesting that this was the same girl who I was continually battling with for playing time at third base. Just a note.

So, there we were, the five freshmen who had basically become family already. We had huddled together in a room on September 11th earlier in the school year and shared stories. Then regular practices and team activities had brought us even closer as we shared the same crazy freshman year experiences. Cassie and I were roommates already. And despite our differences, we had made living together an art. I didn’t even notice anymore when she walked around the room naked and she had to come to enjoy my ghetto rap music and do-rags despite her country upbringing. Amber hated her roommate, and with Cassie always out until all hours of the night, she became a part of my room as well. She would often fall asleep in Cassie’s bed and reluctantly trod down the hall back to her room when Cas kicked her out.

 

{Not sure about the kicking out part here. Can you explain more? Were you all living in the same apartment or dorm building? It sounds like that.}

 

Amber and I would stay up until all hours of the night laughing and quickly becoming best friends. Melissa lived right across the hall and soon joined our laughter. The three of us had become inseparable by the time spring break came along. With the exception of Melissa’s occasional absences because of her campus dwelling boyfriend, we were together all the time. We knew how to laugh and have fun, mostly laughing at Nikki, the fifth member of our spring break hotel room.

 

{Where was NIcki from? How did you guys meet her?}

 

She always tried so hard to fit in and we had come to love her because of it. She would always add “Me too!” to our conversations. In fact, the three of us would start conversations with the sole purpose of getting Nikki to scream out, “Me too!!”

 

{I like this part. When I read it the first time, I had the biggest smile on my face. I was almost there.}

 

We finally decided to calm down

 

{Were you guys mad about the unfair situation at first? It sounds like that. I don’t blame you.}

 

and make the best of our cramped quarters and not let it ruin the vacation we had worked so hard for. For the next three days, our team played in freezing weather. That’s right, we were in Florida and it was actually warmer in Kentucky at the time.

 

{That’s unusual!}

 

Amber, who is from snowy Michigan, was rather disappointed with her first encounter with sunny Florida.

It was also in those first three days that many of the rumors we had tried so hard to fight as a team during the early season became too apparent to deny. My first clue was when Melissa and I

 

{You may not need the word “had” here}

 

had walked to Coach’s room to ask him a question and instead found the earlier player in question lying across his bed with a beer in her hand.

 

{Whoa! What did you guys do or say then? What a moment!}

 

Rumor number one confirmed.

Once the first cat was out of the bag, the drama began to fly. It was like a fuse had been lit on our team, and it could explode at any moment.

 

{How did the drama fly? Did you guys talk about it with others? Did the coach keep the door locked then? I am SO curious about that. What a situation.}

 

The next days brought devastating losses because we had fallen apart both off and on the field. My teammates continually yelled at one another, mad that they had been so stupid to defend our softball team to the entire campus.

 

{The campus had been having rumors before then? That’s what it sounds like.}

 

The coach denied every last accusation, but the damage had been done.

 

{so the girl just HAPPENED to be there on his bed with the beer? He denied a relationship?}

 

For some reason this discovery prompted more secrets to come out. Another player finally admitted to sleeping with a teammate’s boyfriend. Rumor number two confirmed. We tried to keep the two feuding players away from each other as much as possible. It split our team into two different families, and ugly scowls were thrown from one group to another. It was presumed that when we got back to Kentucky, it would be settled one way or another.

 

{How did you think it would be settled?}

 

After the grueling week of playing and being torn apart as a family, we were all excited to receive a day of rest. Our last day in Florida contained no softball games, and the sun had actually decided to grace the beach. We divided and tried to make our last hours enjoyable. I knew at that point it would probably be the best couple hours for the rest of the season. We would all be traveling and basically living together until finals week, and the way things were looking, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

While baking in the sun and feeling a sense of peace at not hearing high pitched arguing voices, I heard the final blow approaching. One of my teammates was running down the beach motioning and screaming for all of us to come quick. One of our own was in the hospital. The girl who we had long suspected of being bulimic was in the hospital, dehydrated and lacking some serious nutrition. She had made herself throw up all morning, and the heat only added to her illness. The final rumor was confirmed.

We all anxiously waited at the hotel to hear the news. The bus had been ready for hours, but we had decided that despite everything, we would be returning home as one team. There was a brief moment when I looked around and saw the faces of fifteen other scared girls. Although most of us hated one another at that moment

 

{except your friends?}

 

, there was an understanding. We were a team.

We eventually made it home, with our sick teammate on board. The rest of the season was a disaster. We lost every game after our spring break trip to Florida. Our coach made our lives a living hell when the happenings of spring break surfaced among the administrative offices on campus.

 

{What did coach do to you guys? I am curious.}

 

And almost half of our team either transferred the next season or decided not to play. I would be lying if I said that I wished the season had never happened or that I had never decided to play at that school. Because of all of the unfortunate and absolutely absurd events of the season, I learned more about life, friends, and teams than I ever have or probably ever will in my life.

 

{Wow and double wow. What a drama fest, as you said. Are you still in touch with anyone in the group? Are you in a team now? You made me really interested in hearing about this.

 

I enjoyed hearing about what can happen on a spring break trip when you are on a team.

 

I felt sorry for you, though, that you didn’t have a “real” spring break, just a lot of work and bad things happening. I hope you got to have a “real” spring break this week!

 

Thank you for letting me hear about your experiences. I really enjoyed reading about your team and your friends. I’ll never forget your story! It was so different and unique. I felt very sympathetic to you while you told your story. I also don’t like to hear about things that are unfair, and wish that people would be more fair and honorable.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Discussion Board

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Current Forum: PAPER 2 DRAFT 1 - ANONYMOUS CLASS POSTINGS

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 2:41 pm

Author: Anonymous

 

{Hi. Thanks for letting me critique your story. How this story made me think about my own work experiences, especially my last one. It was different from yours, though, because I was laid off before other people, and the company is still there, though they have less people working there now.

 

After a long time of layoffs, I began to think that it wouldn’t happen to me. I was wrong. There are many things I could write about that experience, and many things that don’t show the company in its best light. Anyway, I really felt drawn into your story.

 

I will put my comments in-between these marks “{“ and “}”.}

 

{Please take my comments with the proverbial grain of salt. I have a completely different style of writing than you do, and you may feel that my suggestions are wrong for your piece. I am only putting things in here that I would write myself on my work. I plan to really go through mine and make a LOT of changes. I did a “rough” first draft this time and didn’t worry as much about whether things were “perfect” on it first.

 

What I am going to do to mine is cut it ruthlessly and then add more to it.}

 

 

Life after Simpsons

 

It is ten o’clock on a Thursday night. Time to go to work.

 

{You may wish to put the verb tense into past, but totally up to you here.}

 

I have been working the graveyard shift at Simpsons Plastics Incorporated for three years now. The nine years before that were spent on the three to eleven shift. Well, at least it’s Thursday night; for the graveyard shift, that’s the equivalent of Friday. Since we worked last Friday, the company can’t force us to work this weekend. This means that the Fourth of July shutdown will start in only eight working hours. I am really looking forward to spending the entire week with my family. My wife and I are taking our boys to Disney World so we are all looking forward to a good vacation.

 

{I can tell right here that something bad may be happening in your story soon... good foreshadowing here...}

 

Working second or third shift is really hard on family life. I have two sons and it seems like

 

{Do you need the “seems like” here? Up to you...}

 

I have missed them growing up. When I’m at work, they are asleep. When I’m asleep, they are at school. The only time we have to spend together is between around seven o’clock and eight-thirty when the kids have to go to bed. The time spent with my wife, Angie, is also a rare commodity.

 

{I can totally sympathise with this, my husband works night shift too, but we seem to have more time than you guys did...}

 

For the past four years, the company people at Simpsons have sounded like a broken record.

 

{A possible cliché here “broken record”... you may want to substitute another simile here}

 

“We need to make more bushings,” can be heard throughout the plant on a daily basis. “We will be working every weekend possible until we catch up,” is the second song on this broken record.

 

{Again a broken record here but I like the song metaphor ­ I wonder if you could update it?}

 

Turn the record over and you will get to hear the song “We Have To Have Better Quality, More Bushings.” The managers in the factory swear that the Simpsons R-ville plant has the lowest production and the worst quality of any Simpsons factory worldwide. The only thing that keeps the production employees from dying of shame and embarrassment because of our low production rate and even lower quality is the reports that can be seen every so often lying on the department heads’ desks. These reports paint a very different picture. The R-ville plant is noted company wide for their superior quality and their production numbers that are significantly higher than the majority of the other Simpsons factories.

 

{Sounds like you are hearing a made-up story here. Hmmmm....}

 

Technical service personnel who are frequently called from the R-ville plant to help solve problems at other Simpsons factories can often corroborate these findings. When they return from their trips, they are not aware of what the production employees have been told by management. One of the games that the production employees play when the “tech service guys” get home, is to beat the company people to them so we can get real information before the other company people tell them the proper lies to tell us. The news is almost always good. Our production numbers are higher than the one’s

 

{sp - ones}

 

they have seen while they were on their problem solving trips and our quality is always better than what they saw in other factories. Of course, all of this information changes before the next workday starts. Either the other factory’s numbers improve or our numbers fall. Either way, the R-ville factory is always the worst according to our supervisors. It’s the company’s attempt to get more work out of the production employees because everyone knows that the trouble at the R-ville factory is all the Union’s fault.

 

{Go figure. At least you guys HAD a union... I know, grumble, grumble..}

 

Well, there is no use worrying about all of this now. It’s Thursday and we don’t have to work this weekend unless we want to volunteer. As for me, I’m headed for Florida as soon as possible.

It’s ten-thirty as I drive into the parking lot. I dread having to go into this place. I tell myself to quit bitching about it and just do it. It may not be fun, but it does pay the bills. As I open the front door of the factory and pass by the gate guards, I notice they are talking under their breath instead of speaking to everyone who walks through the doors as is their usual custom.

 

{Sounds like a clue there.. scary stuff.}

 

The guards at Simpsons have a job that is even more boring than the work that the production employees do every night.

 

{I am curious ­ what do the production workers do there at the factory?}

 

They just sit at the front desk and monitor people who go through the front door. Since this is the graveyard shift, these guys see almost no one during their eight-hour shifts.

I think to myself, “What’s up with those guys.”

 

{You may want a question mark after the “guys” here}

 

As I enter the second set of double doors that lead into the factory, the smell hits me. Melted plastic and an assortment of solvents make a smell that is hard to forget. You get used to the smell after a couple of hours; if not, at least you learn to ignore it.

As I turn the corner to head toward my department, I see a sign that says, “Saturday, June 27, All Company Employees will meet at the Howard Johnsons at one o’clock. Saturday, June 27, ALL PRODUCTION EMPLOYEES will assemble at the Wolf Community Center at two o’clock. You will be paid for one hour at your normal production rate.”

My first thought is, “This is my vacation and these asses are going to make us go to a meeting on Saturday.”

Martin was the first person from my department that I saw. He walked up to me and said, “Isn’t this a bunch of crap?”

My reply was, “It don’t look good.”

Martin had a forced smile on his face when he said, “Yeah, I’ve been here for 27 years and this is the first time I’ve ever seen the entire plant empty. They want us out of here for some reason.”

 

{I wonder what the Union said about all this? I am curious here.}

 

“When I leave here in the morning, I’m going to make sure I have all of my personal belongings out of my locker. They may not let us back in after the Fourth of July shutdown,” was my reply to Martin.

At Simpsons, it is normal operating procedure for rumors to get started on a daily basis, but this sign had caused a new record for rumors in this factory. I heard rumors that ranged from we are closing down tomorrow to they

 

{You want to check this here, maybe be another sentence you were starting at “to they” area}

 

company is expanding the factory to cut down on the overtime. The truth was that no one knew for sure what was going on. Rumor had it that the union officers had the information, but they were not telling anyone. I probably would not have believed the union officers if they had told me what they knew because I didn’t trust the union officers any more than I trusted the company people.

 

{Why didn’t you trust the Union people? Can you say? I would be very interested to find out!}

 

Usually, we work pretty hard while at Simpsons, but we didn’t accomplish much that night. We were too worried about our jobs. There had already been two other factories in R-ville that had closed during the past two years. None of us at Simpsons wanted to join the people from those factories in the unemployment line.

 

{It sounds like you had a feeling about what would happen.. this sounds so familiar to me... I have been present at a company takeover and many layoffs.. you never really get used to it. Then one day it happens to you...}

 

 

When Angie got home from work that afternoon, I told her about the news, or the lack of news. She asked the same questions that I had heard the night before. “Is Simpsons closing? What are you going to do if it does close? What’s going on anyway?”

My answers to all of her questions were the same, “I don’t know.”

Finally, Saturday arrived. I really am

 

{You may want “was”, but you mix it up probably on purpose throughout, kind of like a diary. You may want it like this.}

 

expecting bad news, but anything will be better than just not knowing what is going on. As I approach the parking lot at the Wolf Community Center, I see a mob of people. Every production employee from the factory is there; many have their family with them. Before leaving home, I told Angie, “I prefer that you and the boys stay at home because if they are closing the plant, anything could happen.”

The only company employee that I saw was the plant manager. He looked like someone had just ran over his dog. He wasn’t speaking to anyone.

The International Union Representative was outside the building with a crowd around him. The local union officials were following him around like he was their mother and they were still tied to her apron strings.

 

{You may want to change the apron strings part ­ I like it, but I’ve heard it before.}

 

 

The plant manager made an announcement. “Please go inside and find a seat. You will be addressed momentarily.” More rumors flew as we made our way inside the building.

 

{What rumors did you hear?}

 

When most of us had taken seats, the plant manager walked in. I expected him to take the microphone at the front of the room and let us all in on the secret. Instead, he just sat down on the front row of chairs really close to a fire exit.

After about ten minutes, which seemed like an eternity, the plant manager got up and opened the emergency exit. Two very large men dressed in spotless suits entered the room. They were followed by another man who was overweight, the only difference was that this man had on a Rolex and several rings that most of in the room could not even dream about owning. This man was followed by two men that could have been carbon copies of the first two who entered through the emergency exit. Obviously, the man in the middle was a corporate person and the other four were security guards.

The corporate man went to the microphone. He cleared his throat and said, “Simpsons Plastics Incorporated is seriously considering closing the Bushings Factory, R-ville location. We have the legal right to do this. It is not a quality issue and it is not a production issue. The economy is such that it will not support the number of factories that Simpsons Inc. currently owns and operates.” Dropping the microphone, the overweight corporate man raced for the door with his security detail close behind him.

Jeff, one of the production employees that works in the same department as I

 

{Maybe “as I do?”}

 

, was sitting beside me. I looked at him and said, “I sure wouldn’t want to be that man. He seemed scared to death.”

“He is lucky to get out of here that easy after telling us that we are all going to be fired,” Jeff said.

The plant manager picked up the microphone. “Can I have your attention please? CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?” were his first words. He told us that he wasn’t happy with the situation either, but he had information that we needed to hear. He continued his speech. “This is not a done deal. We still have a chance to save our jobs.”

I looked at Jeff and said, “Yeah right.”

Jeff just smurked

 

{sp ­ “smirked” ­ good word here}

 

and rolled his eyes.

Kelch, the plant manager, continued to speak. “We have to work harder than ever right now. We have to show them that we can do more and do it better than anyone else they have. I’m sorry that I have not been able to tell you about this before, but I was in the dark until last night. I was not aware of this decision. I am still not convinced that Simpsons, R-ville is going to close. When I get any additional information, I personally will be the one to give it to you as soon as I can. I wish I had been the one to give you all this distressing information, but like I said earlier, I only received this information this morning.”

I looked at Jeff again and said, “A few minutes ago, didn’t he say he found out last night?”

Jeff looked surprised when he said. “Yeah, the son of a bitch did say that didn’t he?”

What a big surprise, a company person either getting their facts screwed up or just down right lying.

 

{maybe “downright”}

Kelch,

 

{You may not need the comma after “Kelch”}

 

ended his speech by saying, “Anyone who was suppose to be working today will be paid for the entire day, but for now, the plant is closed until the Fourth of July shutdown has ended. The plant will re-open one week from now, Sunday night starting with graveyard.”

After Kelch finished giving us a pep talk designed to get as many bushings as possible out of us until they locked the doors, the International Union Representative jumped in front of the microphone. “Just a minute,” he shouted, “JUST A MINUTE. I have been through fourteen of these plant closings in the last five years. They can’t do a damn thing for at least thirty days. And we’re going to fight this. It don’t look good at all, but we are going to fight.”

“If this guy raises a finger to help us, it will be the first time he has ever thought about us except for collecting union dues,” was Jeff’s comment.

 

{I understand now about the Union comment earlier ­ it’s too bad they didn’t take things more seriously.}

 

The International Union Representative, I don’t even know his name, continued with his words of wisdom.

 

{Another time you may want to change words ­ “Words of Wisdom” ­ good thought because he is obviously not wise ­ maybe you can think of another way to say this}

 

“Now we have been sending you messages for years now. Now you can see what kind of shape our economy is in. It is all politics. See what the people in Washington have done? This is their fault. We have told you how to vote to get them out of office, but did you listen? Maybe you’ll listen now. It may already be too late to save your jobs, but it is not too late to save other jobs out there. We cannot allow our jobs to be shipped off to Mexico or China or any where else.”

“I have had about enough of this, I’m going home,” I told Jeff.

“Yeah, I’m going too. My wife is waiting in the car with the kids,” Jeff replied.

By this time, many of the other people had gotten tired of listening to what’s his name, the International Union Representative. He was trying to blame the union employees at Simpsons for loosing

 

{sp ­ losing}

 

every factory job in the United States because we voted wrong in the last election.

 

{I can see that it really was not the question ­ and way off the real subject too.}

 

As Jeff and I walked out the door, I told Jeff, “That ass isn’t worried about saving our jobs, he is worried about all of the union dues that he will be missing out on.”

“That’s about it,” Jeff said.

I went to my truck and started it. The parking lot was jammed. It was a real mess. I told myself not to get into a hurry. Everyone is mad or upset right

 

{You are changing tenses here ­ you may want to keep it all past tense ­ up to you.}

 

so just sit tight until the crowd clears some. There is no use in having a wreck in the parking lot. As I started to move the truck to start the slow fight to get out of the parking lot, Jeff appeared in the passenger window of my truck. I reached over and rolled down the window. Jeff was laughing. “My wife was in the car when the corporate dudes came out. She said they looked scared to death. They left rubber all of the way out of the parking lot. Look over there.” He pointed to a double row of black marks leading to the exit.

“Those guys are probably already on their Lear Jet and half way

 

{halfway?}

 

back to Denver by now,” I told Jeff. “I wish one of the cops sitting over there would have nailed them. I know they would have us if we left out of here like they did.”

Jeff looked toward the exit. There were about ten or twelve city police and two State Police

 

{police? (no caps on second one?)}

 

sitting on the road in front of the Wolf Community Center. “I didn’t even know thCurrent Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 2:51 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 11

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Current Forum: PAPER 2 DRAFT 1 - ANONYMOUS CLASS POSTINGS

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 1:50 pm

Author: Anonymous

 

{Hi! I am going to put my comments about your Spring Break piece in these marks “{“ and “}”. I am going to put everything I think of on your critique, just as I am getting ready to do with my own. I wrote mine as a “quick draft” for the first time in my life, so I am getting ready to make a LOT of changes on mine.

 

Please don’t feel that you have to make these changes. I am only putting things on here that I thought of as I read your story. I hope they are helpful. I know I will be making even more changes on my own story.

 

I want to first tell you that this story is full of the human element. That is so important in a story. You really reached into your experience to tell about people's feelings, and not just your own feelings.

 

So many things happened that I’ll bet you never forget on your Spring Break trip. Thank you for writing it and for letting me read it. I have been only on one team myself, and that was a volleyball team (long story... Well, here goes...}

 

College spring break is always looked to with much anticipation by all students in a mid-semester rut. Some just want to go home for the week, others make extra money at their jobs, many spend the week in a drunken stupor at an exotic destination, and the dedicated participate in week-long athletic tournaments.

 

{I guess you were among the latter ­ participating in week-long athletic tournaments?}

 

I had always hoped that my very first college spring break experience would in fact be the traditional drunken stupor. It turns out that a softball scholarship requires that you be of the dedicated sort.

It had been a long season already, and it was only March.

 

{I am guessing that you were tired...}

 

My teammates and I had spent most of the year practicing and conditioning in the cold weather while raising money for the chance to play in Florida rather than Kentucky for our spring break. Fielding balls in the snow and huddling together between innings for heat was something that the seven new freshmen weren’t used to.

 

{Were you a new Freshman? Were you on the baseball team?}

 

High schools have the luxury of actually playing the bulk of their schedule in April and May, when the college season is just winding down.

 

{When do college students play the bulk of their schedule ­ in March and April? I am guessing here.}

 

We had sold signs to every business in Owensboro that was willing to associate their name with our outfield fence. I even had to promise a varicose vein specialist that if she purchased, her sign would be center field. Besides busily selling signs, we were also responsible for selling baked chickens

 

{baked chicken orders?}

 

orders around town. When the day of the “chicken sale” arrived, the people who had ordered would pick up their evening meal.

 

{Was an evening meal a chicken only? No veggies? Just curious.}

 

We had ordered extra chickens to sell to the public on the big day. We suffered together as a team and ran miles upon miles when it was discovered that we had stuffed the left over chickens from our “big sale” deep into the gutters of our field parking lot.

 

{Were you punished by running laps? I know this happens with some teams... What were you supposed to do with the chickens? Throw them away in the garbage or sell all of them?}

 

We would have gotten away with our secret mission had the awful smell not began to permeate the entire small private school campus.

The season thus far had been sprinkled with chicken mis-haps, hard practices, several devastating losses, and a few promising wins. Our young, close knit

 

{close-knit?}

 

team had already had to deal with rumors of an anorexic team member, boyfriends cheating with teammates, and a player sleeping with the coach. I really did not suspect that spring break could bring any more drama. If anything, it would be a bonding experience, and a chance for me to prove to coach once and for all that I should be his starting third baseman all of the time.

I should have known from the moment the bus arrived at 3 a.m. on that crisp March morning that there would inevitably be problems. We were traveling with the baseball team

 

{The men’s baseball team?}

 

and someone had ordered the wrong bus size.

 

{It was way too small? I am guessing here. I wonder if that is against the law!}

 

We took turns between the comfortable bus seats and lying across duffle and bat bags that filled the aisle. The chances of a safe evacuation in the case of an emergency were shot all to hell.

After the long journey from Kentucky to Florida, we were excited to see the beaches and palm trees. I looked at my close friend Amber and said, “Maybe this will turn out ok.”

 

{OK?}

 

 

“Shit. You know our luck.” was her response.

Yes, I knew our luck. And I immediately saw that Amber was probably correct. The baseball team dropped us off at our roach motel while they went off toward their beachside palace.

 

{Why did the other team get a good motel and you guys got the roach motel? Doesn’t sound fair.}

 

We were told by our coach that there would be four players to a room. Except the seniors, who would have three, and one room with five freshmen. It was interesting that the three freshmen who were not included in this week-long cramped living situation were the girl rumored to have slept with coach and her two best friends. It is equally as interesting that this was the same girl who I was continually battling with for playing time at third base. Just a note.

So, there we were, the five freshmen who had basically become family already. We had huddled together in a room on September 11th earlier in the school year and shared stories. Then regular practices and team activities had brought us even closer as we shared the same crazy freshman year experiences. Cassie and I were roommates already. And despite our differences, we had made living together an art. I didn’t even notice anymore when she walked around the room naked and she had to come to enjoy my ghetto rap music and do-rags despite her country upbringing. Amber hated her roommate, and with Cassie always out until all hours of the night, she became a part of my room as well. She would often fall asleep in Cassie’s bed and reluctantly trod down the hall back to her room when Cas kicked her out.

 

{Not sure about the kicking out part here. Can you explain more? Were you all living in the same apartment or dorm building? It sounds like that.}

 

Amber and I would stay up until all hours of the night laughing and quickly becoming best friends. Melissa lived right across the hall and soon joined our laughter. The three of us had become inseparable by the time spring break came along. With the exception of Melissa’s occasional absences because of her campus dwelling boyfriend, we were together all the time. We knew how to laugh and have fun, mostly laughing at Nikki, the fifth member of our spring break hotel room.

 

{Where was NIcki from? How did you guys meet her?}

 

She always tried so hard to fit in and we had come to love her because of it. She would always add “Me too!” to our conversations. In fact, the three of us would start conversations with the sole purpose of getting Nikki to scream out, “Me too!!”

 

{I like this part. When I read it the first time, I had the biggest smile on my face. I was almost there.}

 

We finally decided to calm down

 

{Were you guys mad about the unfair situation at first? It sounds like that. I don’t blame you.}

 

and make the best of our cramped quarters and not let it ruin the vacation we had worked so hard for. For the next three days, our team played in freezing weather. That’s right, we were in Florida and it was actually warmer in Kentucky at the time.

 

{That’s unusual!}

 

Amber, who is from snowy Michigan, was rather disappointed with her first encounter with sunny Florida.

It was also in those first three days that many of the rumors we had tried so hard to fight as a team during the early season became too apparent to deny. My first clue was when Melissa and I

 

{You may not need the word “had” here}

 

had walked to Coach’s room to ask him a question and instead found the earlier player in question lying across his bed with a beer in her hand.

 

{Whoa! What did you guys do or say then? What a moment!}

 

Rumor number one confirmed.

Once the first cat was out of the bag, the drama began to fly. It was like a fuse had been lit on our team, and it could explode at any moment.

 

{How did the drama fly? Did you guys talk about it with others? Did the coach keep the door locked then? I am SO curious about that. What a situation.}

 

The next days brought devastating losses because we had fallen apart both off and on the field. My teammates continually yelled at one another, mad that they had been so stupid to defend our softball team to the entire campus.

 

{The campus had been having rumors before then? That’s what it sounds like.}

 

The coach denied every last accusation, but the damage had been done.

 

{so the girl just HAPPENED to be there on his bed with the beer? He denied a relationship?}

 

For some reason this discovery prompted more secrets to come out. Another player finally admitted to sleeping with a teammate’s boyfriend. Rumor number two confirmed. We tried to keep the two feuding players away from each other as much as possible. It split our team into two different families, and ugly scowls were thrown from one group to another. It was presumed that when we got back to Kentucky, it would be settled one way or another.

 

{How did you think it would be settled?}

 

After the grueling week of playing and being torn apart as a family, we were all excited to receive a day of rest. Our last day in Florida contained no softball games, and the sun had actually decided to grace the beach. We divided and tried to make our last hours enjoyable. I knew at that point it would probably be the best couple hours for the rest of the season. We would all be traveling and basically living together until finals week, and the way things were looking, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

While baking in the sun and feeling a sense of peace at not hearing high pitched arguing voices, I heard the final blow approaching. One of my teammates was running down the beach motioning and screaming for all of us to come quick. One of our own was in the hospital. The girl who we had long suspected of being bulimic was in the hospital, dehydrated and lacking some serious nutrition. She had made herself throw up all morning, and the heat only added to her illness. The final rumor was confirmed.

We all anxiously waited at the hotel to hear the news. The bus had been ready for hours, but we had decided that despite everything, we would be returning home as one team. There was a brief moment when I looked around and saw the faces of fifteen other scared girls. Although most of us hated one another at that moment

 

{except your friends?}

 

, there was an understanding. We were a team.

We eventually made it home, with our sick teammate on board. The rest of the season was a disaster. We lost every game after our spring break trip to Florida. Our coach made our lives a living hell when the happenings of spring break surfaced among the administrative offices on campus.

 

{What did coach do to you guys? I am curious.}

 

And almost half of our team either transferred the next season or decided not to play. I would be lying if I said that I wished the season had never happened or that I had never decided to play at that school. Because of all of the unfortunate and absolutely absurd events of the season, I learned more about life, friends, and teams than I ever have or probably ever will in my life.

 

{Wow and double wow. What a drama fest, as you said. Are you still in touch with anyone in the group? Are you in a team now? You made me really interested in hearing about this.

 

I enjoyed hearing about what can happen on a spring break trip when you are on a team.

 

I felt sorry for you, though, that you didn’t have a “real” spring break, just a lot of work and bad things happening. I hope you got to have a “real” spring break this week!

 

Thank you for letting me hear about your experiences. I really enjoyed reading about your team and your friends. I’ll never forget your story! It was so different and unique. I felt very sympathetic to you while you told your story. I also don’t like to hear about things that are unfair, and wish that people would be more fair and honorable.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

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Current Forum: PAPER 2 DRAFT 1 - ANONYMOUS CLASS POSTINGS

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 2:41 pm

Author: Anonymous

 

{Hi. Thanks for letting me critique your story. How this story made me think about my own work experiences, especially my last one. It was different from yours, though, because I was laid off before other people, and the company is still there, though they have less people working there now.

 

After a long time of layoffs, I began to think that it wouldn’t happen to me. I was wrong. There are many things I could write about that experience, and many things that don’t show the company in its best light. Anyway, I really felt drawn into your story.

 

I will put my comments in-between these marks “{“ and “}”.}

 

{Please take my comments with the proverbial grain of salt. I have a completely different style of writing than you do, and you may feel that my suggestions are wrong for your piece. I am only putting things in here that I would write myself on my work. I plan to really go through mine and make a LOT of changes. I did a “rough” first draft this time and didn’t worry as much about whether things were “perfect” on it first.

 

What I am going to do to mine is cut it ruthlessly and then add more to it.}

 

 

Life after Simpsons

 

It is ten o’clock on a Thursday night. Time to go to work.

 

{You may wish to put the verb tense into past, but totally up to you here.}

 

I have been working the graveyard shift at Simpsons Plastics Incorporated for three years now. The nine years before that were spent on the three to eleven shift. Well, at least it’s Thursday night; for the graveyard shift, that’s the equivalent of Friday. Since we worked last

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEK THIRTEEN

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 4:08 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 13

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Current Forum: KING: ON WRITING

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 9:35 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Comments: On Writing

 

GREAT KING QUOTES

 

Here are some quotes that really stood out for me in his book “On Writing”.

 

(p. 22) “... if you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall.” (a la Dave’s Super Dooper Electromagnet experiment...) then,

“See what blows, and how far.”

 

I don’t watch television like I used to. I only have a couple of things I watch. Why? Because if I sat in front of the television all day, I would get nothing done. I sure wouldn’t get a book done, or short stories, or my homework!

 

(p. 25) “Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas, but to recognize them when they show up.”

 

(p. 28) “Don’t staple manuscripts. Loose pages plus paperclip equal correct way to submit manuscript.”

 

(p. 29) “One little thing I’ve noticed is that when you’ve had a little success, magazines are a lot less apt to use that phrase, ‘not for us’.”

 

(p. 46) “I took my fair share of English Lit classes in my two remaining years at Lisbon, and my fair share of composition, fiction, and poetry classes in college, but John Gould taught me more than any of them, and in no more than ten minutes,” King said. “Why, I wondered, didn’t English teachers ever do this?”

 

I love the part where King shows how his piece was edited.

 

Very good, too, were Gould’s remarks to King (and this is part of them):

 

(p. 47) “I only took out the bad parts, you know.”

 

(p. 47) “Gould said something else that was interesting on the day I turned in my first two pieces: write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right ­ as right as you can, anyway ­ it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it. If you’re very lucky (this is my idea, not John Gould’s, but I believe he would have subscribed to the notion), more will want to do the former than the latter.”

 

(p. 51) (About first meeting his wife, Tabitha) “I didn’t believe a college student could utter such a wonderful, unafraid laugh.”

 

He tells about his wife’s poem and notes that it mentions Augustine.

 

(p. 55) Saint Augustine, he says, is noted for the LIbertine’s Prayer:

“Lord, make me chaste...but not yet.” I thought this was funny. King laces his work with humor and with songs. I hope everyone has read at least one of his other books. They are so good. I would suggest his latest adventure featuring The Gunslinger. The Stand is also a classic. The movie is a good adaptation of it, in fact, that’s how I first found out about it. Prepare to be really scared, and surprised as well.

 

King is working at the laundry loading washers. King writes about Harry, the man with hooks instead of hands, in this chapter.

 

(p. 60) “A comedian at heart, he would sometimes duck into the bathroom and run water from the cold tap over one hook and water from the hot tap over the other. Then he’d sneak behind you while you were loading laundry and lay the steel hooks on the back of your neck.”

 

Now King is teaching English in Hampton. These thoughts scared me:

 

(p. 64) “The bigger deal was that, for the first time in my life, writing was hard. The problem was the teaching. I liked the coworkers and loved the kids ­ even the Beavis and Butt-Head types in Living with English could be interesting ­ but by most Friday afternoons I felt as if I’d spent the week with jumper cables clamped to my brain. If I ever came close to despair about my future as a writer, it was then.I could see myself thirty years on, wearing the same shabby tweed coats with patches on the elbows, potbelly rolling over my Gap khakis from too much beer. I’d have a cigarette cough from too many packs of Pall Malls, thicker glasses, more dandruff, and in my desk drawer, six or seven unfinished manuscripts which I would take out and tinker with from time to time., usually when drunk. If asked what I did in my spare time, I’d tell people I was writing a book ­ what else does any self-respecting creative-writing teacher do with his or her spare time? And of course I’d lie to myself, telling myself that there was still time, it wasn’t too late, there were novelists who didn’t get started until they were fifty, hell, even sixty. Probably plenty of them.”

 

Augh!

 

But on the good side, he had somebody who believed in him.

 

(p. 65) “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. Just believing is usually enough.”

 

(p. 69) “The writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s.”

 

He also says on page 69:

 

(p. 69) “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

 

Bill Thompson at Doubleday calls and tells King that his paperback book rights for “Carrie” have sold for a huge amount: four hundred thousand dollars. King goes to Bangor’s Main Street and the only store open is LaVerdiere’s Drug.

 

(p. 79) “ I suddenly felt that I had to buy Tabby a Mother’s Day present, something wild and extravagant. I tried, but here’s one of life’s true facts: there’s nothing really wild and extravagant for sale at LaVerdiere’s. I got her a hair-dryer.”

 

Now King’s mother gets cancer. He and his brother are there for the end at the hospital. King mentions that he feels only slightly hungover, and you can tell that he feels guilty that he is hungover at all.

 

“We could hear the pause after each rasping breath she drew getting longer and longer. Finally there were no more breaths and it was all pause.”

 

I think that he inherited some great qualities from his mother ­ such as an element of surprising humor ­ he relates how she once spilled some jello and then danced in it! I wish she were still alive too.

 

Now he gives the euology and here is how he remembers it:

 

“I think I did a pretty good job, considering how drunk I was.”

 

King realizes he is an alcoholic. He relates a story his friend told him:

 

“A friend of mine who has been through this tells an amusing story about his first tentative effort to get a grip on his increasingly slippery life. He went to a counselor and said his wife was worried that he was drinking too much.

 

“How much do you drink?’ the counselor asked.

 

My friend looked at the counselor with disbelief. “All of it,” he said, as if that should have been self-evident.

 

Here’s another confession:

 

(p. 89) “I’m still struck by disbelief when I see someone in a restaurant with a half-finished glass of wine near at hand. I want to get up, go over, and yell ‘Finish that! Why don’t you finish that?” into his or her face. I found the idea of social drinking ludicrous ­ if you didn’t want to get drunk, why not just have a Coke?”

 

(p. 92) “We all look pretty much the same when we’re puking in the gutter.”

 

King thought he would not be able to write again after he gave up booze and drugs. But

 

“once the pipes were thawed out and the electricity was turned back on, everything worked fine.”

 

King rearranges his workroom, and puts a couch and chairs where his huge desk used to be. He puts another desk under the eaves.

 

(p. 94) “I’m sitting under it now, a fifty-three-year-old man with bad eyes, a gimp leg, and no hangover. I’m doing what I know how to do, and as well as I know how to do it. I came through all the stuff I told you about (and plenty more that I didn’t), and now I’m going to tell you as much as I can about the job. As promised, it won’t take long.

 

It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”

 

(what writing is...)

 

(p. 95) “Telepathy, of course.”

 

“All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation.”

 

(p. 96) “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

 

(p. 99) “You must not come lightly to the blank page.”

 

(p. 99) “If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can’t or won’t, it’s time for you to close the book and do something else.

 

Wash the car, maybe.”

 

(p. 110) “Make a promise right now that you’ll never use “emolument” when you mean “tip” and you’ll never say John stopped long enough to perform an act of excretion when you mean John stopped long enough to take a shit.”

 

(p. 110) “Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is to use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.”

 

(p. 110) “This business of meaning is a very big deal. If you doubt it, think of all the times you’ve heard someone say ‘I just can’t describe it’or ‘That isn’t what I mean.’ Think of all the times you’ve said those things yourself, usually in a tone of mild or serious frustration. The word is only a representation of the meaning; even at its best, writing almost always falls short of full meaning. Given that, why in God’s name would you want to make things worse by choosing a word whichis only cousin to the one you really wanted to use?”

 

(p. 115) (About grammar): “You’ll be relieved and delighted, I think, to find that almost all you need is summarized on the front and back endpapers of the book.”

 

Some more good advice for writers:

 

(p. 116) “You should avoid the passive tense.”

 

and

 

(p. 117) “ The adverb is not your friend.” and (p. 118) “The road to Hell is paved with adverbs.”

 

and

 

(p. 120) “the best form of dialogue attribution is ‘said’”.

 

Jackie Bretz, my journalism professor last semester, said this too.

 

Some other good quotes:

 

(p. 121) “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

 

(p. 121) “Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.”

 

He admits that he is sometimes at fault and uses ways of writing out of habit, too.

 

(p. 122) “I will go on writing in spite of such stupid lapses as ‘You can’t be serious,’ Bill said unbelievingly.”

 

(p. 122) “All I ask,” King says, “is that you do as well as you can, and remember that, while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.”

 

(p. 123) “...the rule for forming possessives: you always add ‘s, even when the word you’re modifying ends in s ­ always write Thomas’s bike and never Thomas’ bike...”

 

That’s handy to know. Grammar has never been my forte ­ well, I’ll amend that. I can write with correct grammar, and correct somebody else’s grammar, but to label things is something I have not done for awhile.

 

(p. 125)”wandering isn’t a big deal in an informal essay, is practically de rigueur, as a matter of fact ­ but it’s a very bad habit to get into when working on more serious subjects in a formal manner.”

 

It’s possible to use fragments in a story, as long as they are well-done, King says.

 

“frags can work beautifully to streamline narration, create clear images, and create tension as well as to vary the prose-line. A series of grammatically proper sentences can stiffen that line, make it less pliable. Purists hate to hear that and will deny it to their dying breath, but it’s true.”

 

I will have to try this ­ I have used fragments a little, I think I am still “learning the beat” too.

 

King goes on to say that paragraphs have a beat, that you have to practice a long time to get the beat of them.

 

He puts good writing on a level above TV here too:

 

“Sometimes it’s beautiful and we fall in love with all that story, more than any film or TV program could ever hope to provide.”

 

He smiles on one of my personal book series favorites, The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

“A thousand pages of hobbits hasn’t been enough for three generations of post-World War II fantasy fans; even when you add in that clumsy, galumphing dirigible of an epilogue, The Silmarillion, it hasn’t been enough. Hence Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, the questing rabbits of Watership Down, and half a hundred others. The writers of these books are creating the hobbits they still love and pine for; they are trying to bring Frodo and Sam back from the Grey Havens because Tolkien is no longer around to do it for them.”

 

And for those who don’t already know this (and I think most of this class already does), he says:

 

“We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style... but as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic.”

 

Here’s a good quote,

 

(p. 135) “Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers.”

 

(1) (p. 136) “good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style) and then filling the third level of your toolbox with the right instruments.”

 

(2) (p. 136) “while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it IS possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.”

 

I like this quote:

 

(p. 139) “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

 

(p. 139) “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.”

 

(p. 141) “One learns most clearly what not to do by reading bad prose ­ one novel like Asteroid Miners (or Valley of the Dolls, Flowers in the Attic, and The Bridges of Madison County, to name just a few) is worth a semester at a good writing school, even with the superstar guest lecturers thrown in.

 

(p. 141) “A novel like the Grapes of Wrath may fill a new writer with feelings of despair and good old-fashioned jealousy...”

 

I had this experience in reading some great books this year. I wonder, will I ever be able to do something this good? I don’t know the answer to that. But Stephen King says not to worry about that, because it’s the writing that is important, not fame.

 

(p. 142) “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.”

 

(p. 147) “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”

 

(p. 149) “the first draft of a book ­ even a long one ­ should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”

 

(p. 149) “ I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.”

 

(p. 150) “The biggest aid to regular (Trolloppian?) production is working in a serene atmosphere.”

 

(p. 151) “The space can be humble (probably SHOULD be, as I think I have already suggested), and it really needs only one thing: a door you are willing to shut.”

 

(p. 153) “Don’t wait for the muse.” He or she will show up eventually, don’t worry, but first you have to show him or her that you are serious about your writing.

 

(p. 154) “It’s probably fair to assume that you will begin by writing what you love to read...”

 

(p. 156) “...book buyers want a good story to take with them on the airplane, something that will first fascinate them, then pull them in and keep them turning the pages.”

 

(p. 157) “Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work. Especially work. People love to read about work. God knows why, but they do. If you’re a plumber who enjoys science fiction, you might well consider a novel about a plumber aboard a starship or on an alien planet.”

 

(p. 160) “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”

 

(p. 160) “Plot is, I think, the good writer’s last resort and the dullard’s first choice.”

 

(p. 161) “Why worry about the ending anyway? Why be such a control freak? Sooner or later every story comes out SOMEWHERE.”

 

(p. 167) “I think it’s rare that incoherence or dull storytelling can be solved by something so minor as a second draft.”

 

(p. 171) “As I’ve said, we’ve all heard someone say, ‘Man, it was so great (or so horrible/strange/funny) ..I just can’t describe it!’ If you want to be a successful writer, you MUST be able to describe it, and in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition. If you can do this, you will be paid for your labors, and deservedly so. If you can’t, you’re going to collect a lot of rejection slips and perhaps explore a career in the fascinating world of telemarketing.”

 

I'm going to try. I haven't experienced the fascinating world of telemarketing, but I've experienced the fascinating world of graphic design, typesetting, meat packing, newspaper layout, and secretarial work. I would sometimes pick a different word, something other than "fascinating"... and I'll bet he could, too.

 

(p. 175) “When it comes to scene-setting and all sorts of description, a meal is a good as a feast.”

 

(p. 176) “The use of simile and other figurative language is one of the chief delights of fiction ­ reading it and writing it, as well. When it’s on target, a simile delights us in much the same way meeting an old friend in a crowd of strangers does.”

 

(p. 188) “If you expect it to ring true, then you must talk yourself. Even more important, you must shut up and listen to others talk.”

 

(p. 189) “The best stories [short stories] always end up being about the people rather than the event...”

 

(p. 189) “Once you get beyond the short story, though (two to four thousand words, let’s say) , I’m not much of a believer in the so-called character study; I think that in the end, the story should always be the boss.”

 

(p. 189) “In real life we each of us regard ourselves as the main character, the protagonist, the big cheese; the camera is on US, baby.”

 

(p. 194) “Sometimes villains feel self-doubt (as Greg Stillson does); sometimes they feel pity (as Annie Wilkes does);. And sometimes the good guy tries to turn away from doing the right thing, as Johnny Smith does.. as Jesus Christ himself did...”

 

(p. 194) “And if you do your job, your characters will come to life and start doing stuff on their own. I know that sounds a little creepy if you haven’t actually experienced it, but it’s terrific fun when it happens. And it will solve a lot of your problems, believe me.”

 

(p. 195) “Onomatopoeia, incremental repetition, stream of consciousness, interior dialogue, changes of verbal tense (it has become quite fashionable to tell stories, especially shorter ones, in the present tense), the sticky question of back story (how do you get it in and how much of it belongs), theme, pacing (we’ll touch on these last two), and a dozen other topics, all of which are covered ­ sometimes at exhausting length ­ in writing courses and standard writing texts.”

 

King is for anything that makes your story better and doesn’t get in the way of the story.

 

You don’t have to be experimental if you don’t want to.

 

(p. 196) “You can’t please all of the readers all of the time; you can’t please even SOME of the readers all of the time; but you really ought to try to please at least some of the readers some of the time.”

 

(p. 196) “If it works, fine. If it doesn’t, toss it. Toss it even if you love it. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch once said, ‘Murder your darlings,’ and he was right.”

 

King says, use symbolism too. He says that the symbolism can be pre-existing.

 

(p. 197) “If it IS there and if you notice it, I think you should bring it out as well as you can, polishing it out as well as you can, polishing it until it shines and then cutting it the way a jeweler would cut a precious or semiprecious stone.”

 

Symbolism can be a focusing device, but King says to always remember the story first. A writer can take symbolism too far. You can wait until you are done with your manuscript and then see if symbolism “or the potential for it” exists.

 

(p. 198) “...if it’s clearly a part of the fossil you’re working to unearth ­ go for it. Enhance it. You’re a monkey if you don’t.”

 

On Writing Two ­ Chapters 10-12

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

Theme is “no big deal,” King says.

 

You rewrite your draft after the first draft, trying to make your book ABOUT something.

 

King talks about how his “The Stand” came to a block and he figured out how to continue it and even finish it.

 

(p. 204) “If there is any one thing I love about writing more than the rest, it’s that sudden flash of insight when you see how everything connects.”

 

(p. 209) “Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme; it almost never begins with theme and progresses to story.”

 

(p. 209) “But once your basic story is on paper, you need to think about what it means and enrich your following drafts with your conclusions. To do less is to rob your work (and eventually your readers) of the vision that makes each tale you write uniquely your own.”

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

Revising your work.

 

(p. 209) “For me the answer has always been two drafts and a polish (with the advent of word-processing technology, my polishes have become closer to a third draft). You should realize that I’m only talking about my own personal mode of writing here; in actual practice, rewriting varies greatly from writer to writer.”

 

King says to write the first draft with no help from anyone, and write it as fast as possible.

 

When you are done, celebrate. Take a couple of days off, then start on something else that is a lot different or a different length.

 

Let the book rest for at least six weeks. Then take it up and make spelling corrections and fixing inconsistencies. You can see the holes in your book better then. Don’t be angry with yourself if you have some mess-ups.

 

Check for pronouns with unclear antecedents, add clarifying phrases, delete all the adverbs you can.

 

This is when you want to make your work coherent ­ to find the theme. This is when you try to unify everything.

 

Then give it to 9 people to read if you can. You want people that will be honest but not mean.

 

And you will care what your spouse or whoever your most important reader thinks about your work.

 

(p. 222) “The truth is that most writers ARE needy. Especially between the first draft and the second, when the study door swings open and the light of the world shines in.”

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

 

Pace is important in your book. You need a fast pace, but not too fast.

 

Sometimes it’s good to go slow too (Like the Far Pavilions... ) King liked the Far Pavilions! I think it’s great too.

 

An author needs to cut their wordiness down.

 

(p. 224) “Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: ‘not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft ­ 10%. Good Luck.’”

 

Back story

 

Sometimes you just have to put in some back story. King says you should do this very carefully.

 

(p. 229) “The most important things to remember about back story is that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don’t get carried away with the rest. Long life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour or so before closing time, and if you are buying.”

 

On Writing Two ­ Chapters 13-15

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

About Research:

 

Don’t put research into the front of your story. There are some writers who have done this (Arthur Hailey and James Michener), but King doesn’t.

 

(p. 230) “Tom Clancy and Patricia Cornwell deliver large (and sometimes hard to digest) dollops of factual information along with the melodrama.”

 

(p. 230) “On the whole, I think story belongs in front, but some research is inevitable; you shirk it at your peril.”

 

(p. 233) “...enough details ­ always assuming they are the correct ones ­ can stem the tide of letters from picky-ass readers who apparently live to tell writers that they messed up (the tone of these letters is unvaryingly gleeful).”

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 

Stephen King says you can write without creative writing classes.

 

(p. 234) “As for myself, I’m doubtful about writing classes, but not entirely against them.”

 

(p. 238) “There are thousands of talented writers at work in America, and only a few of them (I think the number might be as low as five per cent) can support their families and themselves with their work.”

 

(p. 240) “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself. These lessons almost always occur with the study door closed.”

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 

How to get an agent:

 

(p. 241) “...agents, publishers, and editors are all looking for the next hot writer who can sell a lot of books and make a lot of money.”

 

(p. 242) “You SHOULD have an agent, and if your work is saleable, you will have only a moderate amount of trouble finding one.”

 

(p. 243) “As a beginning writer, you’ll be most interested in the “little magazines,” if you’re writing short stories. If you’re writing or have written a novel, you’ll want to note the lists of literary agents in the writing magazines and in Writer’s Market.”

 

(p. 248) “When you send your story out, there ought to be a very brief cover letter on top of the script, telling the editor where you’ve published other stories, and just a line or two on what thie one’s about. And you should close by thanking him for the reading. That’s especially important. You should submit on a good grade of white bond paper ­ none of that slippery eraseable stuff. Your copy should be double-spaced, and on the first page you should put your address on the upper lefthand corner ­ it doesn’t hurt to include your telephone number, too. In the righthand corner, put an approximate word-count.” (and don’t cheat...)

 

You can get an agent pretty easily after you’ve had some things published, but be careful of agents that charge you.

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

 

Don’t do writing for the money.

 

(p. 253) “I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

 

(p. 254) “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

 

And Furthermore, Part I

 

Door Shut, Door Open

 

This is a most informative section about how to write and re-write a story.

 

I will be looking at this again.

 

 

And furthermore, Part II

 

A Booklist

 

Let’s see how many of these I’ve already read:

 

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness

 

Golding, William: Lord of the Flies

 

Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Rowling, J.K.: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

Well, that’s it. Darn.

 

On Living, a Postscript

 

This is about the accident. He almost died. And recently the person that ran Stephen King over died. I guess he’d lived too hard a life. Stephen King said that this person’s death saddened him.

 

I remember when it happened ­ it scared me so badly. It would have affected me as much as the death of John Lennon if Stephen King had died. And you know, he used this in another of his books, in the Gunslinger series. On one world where Stephen King lived, he was hit by a van and died.

 

Stephen King hurt like hell. But his wife Tabitha convinced him to start writing again.

 

(p. 274) “The scariest moment is always just before you start.

After that, things can only get better.”

 

(p. 275) “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, OK? Some of this book ­ perhaps too much ­ has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it ­ and perhaps the best of it ­ is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, YOU WILL. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.

Drink and be filled up.”

 

Everything Stephen King says I take to heart, because he is my hero. He is an author I respect immensely. I have been his fan for many years. I even am in the Stephen King Fan Club online ­ plus I’m in the newsgroup “Stephen THE King...” so by that you can get a pretty good idea of how much I respect this writer.

Post response

 

EXTRA CREDIT - WEEK FOURTEEN

 

Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 4:08 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 14

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Extra readings:

Current Forum: GROUP 2

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 3:52 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Re: GROUP: Wk. 14: 4 G Rd. 3- Pope (Essay)

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Teacher Training ­ by Mary Elizabeth Pope

 

I was eager to read this article because I am myself in a Teacher Training program at Western. I am first going for my English and Allied Arts certification. I’d also like to add Art to this, but will see if that is possible. It may not be, and if it is, will be a study in How To Do the Impossible, surely, because the art curriculum is loaded with out-of-class work, much more than the 15 hours required by some Teacher Ed classes.

 

She is doing her essay like a montage! This is great because I just read about montages in the last reading by Root, about writing segmented essays.

 

This essay is segmented and is about the author’s first day in class as a graduate assistant. It is also about her fifth grade classroom experience as a student. They mesh together because they have the same theme, only in one she’s at a desk as a new student, and the other as a new teacher.

 

She is very reflective, as a teacher is taught to be. She recognizes the nervousness of the students and realizes that she, too, is apprehensive.

 

She relates how her old teacher hurt her feelings by not commenting on her report, and not helping her improve her work. How careful we teachers must be not to single students out for ridicule. These students may have done their very best! Plus, every student has feelings, and her old teacher didn’t seem to care about that. She doesn’t write any comments on her paper, only a check that said she had read it. That was so disappointing to Pope.

 

It reminded me of fifth grade all over again... my teacher didn’t accept my writing as belonging to me. It really hurt my feelings to think that she actually thought I copied somebody else’s words. It wasn’t true. Every word was my own. Perhaps if she had believed me after she had proof that I had not copied... but she never would admit her mistake. This made me so sad. I loved writing, but this hurt me a lot.

 

She likens her bad experiences in fifth grade to how some students in her class must feel with spelling or comma problems. She now takes the time to write personal comments to the students, remembering what the lack of those comments once meant to her. She goes on to explain,

 

(p. 453) “And regardless of whether or not he uses the dictionary or spellcheck, regardless of whether the exercises with commas that I will cover with him improve his writing, I know that he will leave my office feeling that he is a good writer who needs a little brushing up, rather than feeling he is a bad writer who is hopeless. He will leave knowing he is capable of doing better, and hopefully this will drive him to improve on his next paper.”

 

She is there for her students. She doesn’t “crush them” for not understanding an assignment. She allows them to improve.

 

This reminds me of a couple of teachers at Western who have helped me when I didn’t understand an assignment. They could have crashed down on me just simply because they could, or singled me out because I was older and “should have known better.” In fact, I don’t know any more than the other students. I’ve been stuck in a secretarial-type job for years, well away from academia. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when you first start back to school. For instance, I used to put all my assignments in plastic holders ­ I thought this was how I should do it. I finally was told not to do it ­ actually, a teacher said not to even before anything was turned in. Where one teacher (in another class) singled me out and made an example of me, I felt really bad because the other students weren’t treated like that. It was as if she thought since I didn’t have as many years in which to create, I wasn’t as worthwhile as the younger students.

 

I haven’t run into this a lot, but it did happen once. Like Mrs. Crane, this teacher couldn’t recognize the gifts in all of her students. A teacher can’t expect everyone to be alike ­ they can’t expect everyone to be non-creative. I hope I can be like Pope and be a beacon to my future students, and help them all be inspired to do their very best.

 

Other teachers at Western have treated me so well and have helped me overcome all of those years away. They have helped me feel competent and worthwhile. I can’t thank them enough for making the difference for me here at Western. They let me know that I am a worthwhile person. They have inspired me to keep on and to finish my Certification program. It is so true what Pope said, that “Teacher Training” needs to focus as much on attitude and behavior as on the basics of Reading, Writing, and other subjects.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: GROUP 2

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 3:57 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Re: GROUP: Wk, 14: 4 G Rd. 4- Pope (Composing)

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Pope explains why her teacher in fifth grade eroded her self-confidence:

 

(p. 456) “She had a profound effect on my confidence as a student. Before I had her for a teacher, my other teachers always made me feel like I was really bright and put me in advanced reading groups and had given me higher level workbooks; I’d always assumed that I was one of the ‘smart kids’, I guess. Before I had her as a teacher, I’d never questioned my abilities or my intelligence; after I had her, I always questioned it, even into graduate school. Getting it out on paper gave me a sense of relief, but at the same time, there was this urgency to do something with it because I needed to make sense of it.”

 

The editors of LAJM wanted to publish her piece but they had some changes they wanted to make on it.

 

I enjoyed reading about how she wrote this piece, and I personally identified with it, both back in fifth grade and again now in college. Sometimes teachers can select a student they don’t like, and can be so unfair. I, like Pope, never want to have this happen. I will never do this to a student that I teach.

 

I liked hearing her story of how she worked on her essay. She was happy to do it, and when she read it again later, she was satisfied with it. What I think helped her, too, was the realization that her teacher was wrong. All this time, she allowed this episode to color her opinion of herself. I hope that now she can feel better about herself. After all, she’s a published writer.

 

Just now I decided to look her up on the internet. I didn’t see her there or on Amazon, but I’ll bet she has a great future as a writer. I did enjoy reading her essay a lot. It was to the point, and the pace was just right. It hooked me right from the beginning and I followed along with a sense of déjà vu.

 

Though her piece reminded me of an English teacher, it also reminded me of an art teacher I once had. I was always proud of my artwork, and had received prizes because of it too. I attended classes at the Milwaukee museum, but for some reason one art teacher in particular didn’t like my work. They would just walk by and never take an interest. That really squelched my enthusiasm. I even had one teacher who would DRAW on people’s own drawings to show them how they should do it. That is definitely a way to destroy a student’s confidence AND wreck his or her work ­ because it isn’t truly yours if somebody else draws on it.

 

See? I’m still taken with this author’s essay. Good job, Mary Elizabeth Pope!

________________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: PAPER 2 DRAFT 1 - ANONYMOUS CLASS POSTINGS

Date: Fri Apr 8 2005 10:42 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Paper 2

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Shelby

 

 

 

I really had a good time reading this story. From the beginning, I wanted to know that your dog was OK. When I found out that Shelby had been put in the wrong cargo hold, I was really worried. I felt as though I were you, on the plane, waiting to hear what the captain said. When it turned out that the plan was making a stop to check on her, I was so surprised, but happy, too. A cherished dog can mean the world to a person, and I totally understand the love you felt towards Shelby. What a story. I have never heard about this happening before. I am glad it turned out as it did. I’m glad they gave you the “red carpet treatment” too, because you and Shelby deserved it.

 

I will make my suggestions in-between these marks “{” and “}”. Please remember that these are only suggestions. I am reading your piece just as if it were mine. Plus, your writing style is different from my writing style, and you may be doing things in your story for a certain effect. So please take my comments with the proverbial “grain of salt”. I hope my comments are helpful to you, and I thank you for letting me read your piece! I had such a fun time reading it, and I loved the happy ending.

 

Last Spring,

 

{You don’t need the capital on “Spring”}

 

I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit my parents. The trip was special because I had brought along my seven-year-old dog Shelby, who had been part of my family since she was a six-month-old puppy. My parents had not seen her since I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, a year ago

 

{you may want “before” here instead of “ago” ­ but up to you...}

 

, and they were excited about seeing her again.

 

On the way back, my Father

 

{you don’t need a capital on father}

 

dropped Shelby and me at the airport. After checking in, I stayed with Shelby until an airline baggage handler came to get her. Seeing her off, I headed to the gate. When the agent announced that boarding had started, I happened to look at Shelby’s ticket and noticed that it was marked for Palm Beach instead of West Palm Beach.

 

In a panic, I went to the agent and advised her of the mistake. I wanted to know if Shelby was on my flight or on a different flight bound for Palm Beach. The agent didn’t have an answer and asked her supervisor to look into it. Five minutes later, I looked out the window and saw that a baggage handler had pulled up to the aircraft with Shelby in her crate. After seeing Shelby placed in the aircraft, I boarded the plane.

 

As I walked onto the plane, I spotted the same baggage handler at the entrance to the plane. Because I was still a little worried about Shelby being on the right plane, I asked him if he had loaded my dog on the aircraft. He said yes and assured me that I shouldn’t worry, that everything was okay. His words offered relief to me.

 

{you may want to rephrase “offered relief” here, only because it seems like something you wouldn’t normally say ­ up to you though.}

 

I started to relax. Shelby had been loaded on the correct plane and the flight crew knew I had a dog on board the plane. Because the flight was half-full, I switched to a seat in an empty row located in the back of the plane and pulled out my laptop to get some work done. One of the flight attendants noticed Shelby’s picture on my computer’s screensaver and struck up a conversation about dogs, as she also owned a dog.

 

About two hours into the flight, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was that same flight attendant. The pilot wanted to speak to me about my dog, so I followed her up to the front of the plane. I wondered what he wanted to talk to me about, and as I approached the cockpit, the captain came out to meet me.

 

He told me that head

 

{he had}

 

received a call from the dispatcher who said that Shelby had been inadvertently loaded in the wrong cargo hold. He went on to explain that the aircraft was divided into two cargo holds-forward and rear. The rear cargo hold was designated for animal cargo, as it was lighted, pressurized, and heated, while the forward cargo is not designed or used for animal cargo. Tears were feeling my eyes at this point, and I was starting to have trouble breathing.

 

{I like the way you put in how you were feeling here.}

 

{It really makes it more real to me}

 

He went on to say Shelby had been misplaced in the forward cargo hold, and since it was not properly heated, he could not be sure that Shelby was okay, especially in the freezing temperatures at thirty thousand feet.

 

I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. I started to become light headed

 

{light-headed? Maybe be OK too}

 

just imagining what has

 

{had}

 

or could be happening to my baby.

 

{again you are putting down how you are feeling. I really like your description of that.}

 

My eyes were overflowing with tears. The captain then told me that he was going to divert the plane I

 

{in}

 

order to make an unscheduled landing. Again, he cautioned that he did not know if Shelby was still alive. I was grateful that the captain was going to make an unscheduled landing, but I was furious at the mix up.

 

{Just curious, but did you say anything to them about how angry you were feeling?}

 

He went on to explain that once we landed, I could go with him to check if Shelby was alright.

 

{You may want to standardize this to all right instead of alright.}

 

As I sat down in my seat, the captain made an announcement about Shelby’s situation and his plan to fly the plane to the nearest airport in an attempt to save Shelby’s life. After the announcement, I looked around to see the passengers’ reactions, and to my amazement, there were no signs of disapproval.

 

Unfortunately,

 

{I don’t think you need the comma after Unfortunately}

 

for Shelby and me, we still had another hour to go before we could land. It was the longest hour in my life, and as I sat in my seat, I could no longer hold back the tears. I thought about Shelby in that cargo hold. I began to think of the worst. Was my baby dead? Did she freeze to death in that cold and dark cargo hold?

 

{You may want to change the second “cargo hold” to something different. Just an idea. Or bring the sentences together. Up to you, of course.}

 

{Were the people noticing that you were crying? Just curious.}

 

I stared out the window and reminisced about my life with Shelby, from the time she was a six-month-old puppy through all that we had gone through together over the last year.

 

{You have used “through” twice but I can’t think of how to rephrase right now. You may want to juggle with this sentence some. I really like the reminiscing part of this story too. It makes it more real ­ and highlights how important Shelby was to you and your family.}

 

I recalled the times when I was sad, when she was always there to cheer me up. She never let me mope around and stay in bed. If I was upset and started crying, she would just give me this look like

 

{You may want to put this in quotes too, where the dog is “talking” here. I like the way you have the dog talk, it goes together with the “our our our”.}

 

get over it. Life goes on; now take me out to play. She kept me from staying depressed. She showed me how much she loved me at night right before we went to bed by saying “I love you.” It actually came out “our our our.” It freaked people out when she talked.

 

{You may want to combine the sentence before “The way that she made sounds” with the previous sentence to make a complete sentence here.}

 

The way that she made sounds that were similar to the word our. They would say that when they were alone with her and she did that they looked around to see who else was in the room. What if I never heard her say “our our our” again? I wanted to run up to the Captain

 

{you don’t need a capital “C” on captain here}

 

and tell him to let me go down to the cargo as they do in those movies.

 

{do you have some movies in mind when you are thinking this? Just curious again.}

 

The more I thought about Shelby, the more I started to wonder if, maybe, she was still alive. I thought about how resourceful she was. If anyone could survive, it would be her. I wanted to call my Dad and see what he thought. My Dad

 

{again Dad ­ you may want “he”}

 

is a veterinarian. I didn’t know if he would know or not

 

{You may want a comma after “not” here}

 

but I wanted to talk to someone who knew Shelby, and could reassure me that she would be OK. By the time we approached this little airport that we were going to stop at

 

{maybe “by the time we reached the emergency airport ­ up to you though}

 

, I began to think positive. Shelby was going to be alive.

 

When we landed, I looked out the window and saw the ground crew waiting for us at the gate. As soon as the plane stopped, I could hear the ground crew

 

{again ground crew ­ you may want to say “them” for the second part ­ up to you}

 

opening the cargo hold door. Immediately, I unbuckled my seat belt and ran to the front of the plane. My heart was pounding in anticipation. As the captain exited the cockpit, we made eye contact, and I could tell that he had good news. With a smile, he told me that he had received a thumbs-up sign from the ground crew. My baby was still alive. I wanted to see her now.

 

{or “right then” or “right away”?}

 

We both exited the plane and hurried down the stairs. When I reached the ground, what I saw amazed me. Shelby’s crate had been unloaded from the plane and placed on the tarmac. The ground crew was in a semicircle around Shelby’s crate. As I approached the crate, I could see Shelby sitting and looking out the wired door. Immediately I opened the door and took her out. She was very cold and shaking. While I was holding her, the ground crew was also excited that Shelby had survived, and they began to pet her. My Shelby was alive and back in my arms!

 

When it was time for me to put Shelby back into her crate, I couldn’t do it. It was too cruel. How could I put her back into the aircraft’s cargo hold after all she had been through?

 

I then asked the captain and the supervisor who had greeted us on the tarmac if I could bring Shelby on the plane. I reminded him that the plane was only half-full and that I had three seats to myself. The supervisor said that it was against the rules and Shelby would have to go back into the cargo hold. The captain then interjected, indicating that since they make exceptions for Seeing Eye

 

{You may not need the caps for seeing eye dogs}

 

dogs, they could also make an exception in this case. The supervisor relented, and to my joy, I was able to bring Shelby on the plane with me.

 

I picked up Shelby and carried her up the stairs and into the plane. As I entered the plane with Shelby in my arms, the passengers clapped and cheered. While I walked down the aisle to my seat, some of the passengers reached out in an effort to pet Shelby. I realized that they also cared and were excited that Shelby had made it.

 

{I kept thinking she’d go to the bathroom. Probably just because I used to have a dog that did that a lot.}

 

Tears were flowing down my face when I realized how much everyone cared, and must have been praying from the time they found out what had happened to her that she would be OK.

 

{You may want to look at the last sentence here, it’s good, but kind of long. It may be just fine though.}

 

When I got to my seat, I placed Shelby next to me, but

 

{you may want to delete “but” because you already told us she was cold and shaking outside ­ or else use “still” maybe}

 

she was still cold and shaking. The flight attendants provided several blankets, which I used to warm her up.

 

Soon, Shelby seemed more comfortable and was able to fall asleep with her head in my lap. Throughout the flight, people got up and came over to see Shelby. They told me how happy they were that she was OK. Parents brought their children over to see Shelby.

 

{Maybe “brought their children over to see her.”}

 

For the passengers’ inconvenience, the airline offered free drinks.

 

{for the rest of the flight? I am wondering if any drink was OK}

 

When we arrived in West Palm Beach, Florida, Shelby and I were asked to follow a supervisor to his office. When we got to the supervisor’s office

 

{or maybe just “When we got there...”}

 

I saw on his desk a huge basket filled with dog treats and toys. He also had a gift basket for me with a bottle of Champaign

 

{no caps ­ and sp champagne}

 

in it, and other types of goodies. When I turned around to thank him, I saw a group of people that worked at the airport standing around the door. They all started clapping, and then the supervisor said that he needed to talk to me in private. He apologized to me for everything that happened, and then handed me a check. I asked what this was for, and he told me that they were reimbursing me for my trip due to everything that happened.

 

{yay!}

 

He then gave me a round trip ticket to fly anywhere I wanted to free.

 

{cool ­ I’m so glad that everything worked out. I hope I didn’t mark too many things. I used to be a proofreader so I’m over-zealous sometimes. I only hope it helps you some. I may have missed some things too, or marked them when you didn’t need them marked. I just put things there that I would want somebody to tell me. I think you are a good writer because I was interested in the story. It had a clear beginning, middle and end, and you narrated the story with warmth and showed your emotions too. Some people never put their emotions in their work. I think it’s good when people can do that.

 

Good luck with everything ­ and again thanks for letting me read your piece. I enjoyed it very much!

 

Signed,

 

Your Anonymous Reader.}

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

Date: Sat Apr 9 2005 10:31 pm

Author: Collins, Katresa

Subject: help

Hey guys, I was wondering if I could get some help. I have re-written my breavity piece and if anyone has time I would like your suggestions on what I should do. If you don't have time BELIEVE me I understand. Thanks

Katresa

 

{Please take my comments with the proverbial “grain of salt” because I write differently from you, and everyone has their own style. I will put everything in here that I notice, any spelling, grammar, words that you might want to change, etc.

 

I tend to say everything I think, but I always do this to everyone, including myself. I used to be a proofreader, and now I think about sentences and words a lot because I’m going to be an English teacher and/or an Art teacher. Please just do the things you think you need to (like the spelling corrections) and leave the others if you want to.

 

I would notice these things if it were my paper, and, like I said, these are what I notice in my papers too. It’s hard to see things from the reader’s point of view always.

 

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. I also hope you don’t mind that I wrote so much on it.

 

I really enjoyed going to the game with you and being on the bus as well. AND I’m so glad that the team won. What a great feeling that must have been. I have written my comments and questions down about your piece. On the questions, I have put them there because 1) I was curious and 2) you may want to jot down a little about this, to enrich the story. These are just ideas, and you may take them or not, whatever you feel is right for your story.

 

It must be an exciting life to be a coach. You are on the move so much, and the players depend on you like they would a mother, I’ll bet.

 

What do you like best about being a coach? Do you enjoy the interaction? Do you ever miss being a player? These are questions I felt after reading your brevity piece, because if I were a coach, I think this is how the job would be, for part of the time anyway.

 

And bus rides must be a very big part of that.

 

I will put everything in-between these marks ­ “{“ and }” so you can tell. When I put “sp” it means I have caught a spelling error.}

 

The Yellow Ride

 

I sit in the back

 

{maybe “of the yellow bus” here?}

 

with my feet stretched out in front of me. My back is to the window, my hair getting caught in the metal surrounding the window. If this keeps up I will be bald before we get there. In the mist

 

{midst ­ sp}

 

of all the noise I carry on a conversation with the occupant of the seat in front of me about something, anything, that happened earlier at school. Was it good? Was it bad? My memory is failing on that aspect. My mind wonders from the conversation, although the seat

 

{the speaker continues to talk}

 

continues to talk, to the situation ahead. “Are we ready for tonight?” I ask myself. I want to win! Oh, I hope I don’t foul out.

 

I sit in the front, half-way

 

{halfway}

 

out of my seat because I must share with another person. My partner, who like me is not vertically challenged,

 

{you are missing some sentence here or part of the sentence ­ fragment here}

 

{It could be: My partner, who like me is not vertically challenged, is also a bit cramped.}

 

and therefore we are both cramped a bit. We both laugh at the situation and let our minds drift off. I begin to think about the situation ahead, because as a coach

 

{I missed this the first time ­ I thought you were a player ­ is this something you do today? I’ll bet it is exciting!}

 

it is my duty to focus on the game, but the background noise grabs my attention. The windows squeak like arguing chipmunks

 

{this is my favorite part ­ I love the way you describe the bus. You have such a natural talent for description. I was taken with the chipmunk noises so much, and the child whining ­ a bus DOES sound like that ­ and I never put the two things together! I think that was SO original and applaud you for it. I thank you again in a couple of paragraphs down too... I would have erased it but I knew you’d like to hear it again so I left it.}

 

and the wind whistles through the door as if to say, “You’re not concentrating”. I gauge our speed by the reverberation of the motor. It whines like a weary child when the driver beckons her on with a push of the accelerator and gives a sigh of relief as we slow for the numerous curves we face. The road is coiled like a snake.

 

{I like the way you describe the bus with sounds and the road too “like a snake” ­ at first I thought it was foreshadowing ­ but it turns out you win. I guess I had a sense of foreboding because I don’t like snakes. I can really hear the bus when you describe it, you really did such a great job with that! I could use some of your descriptive skill.}

 

Once again in the back I shout above the noise to the driver to turn on the heat. I am naturally cold and the drafty bus makes it just a little worse. My teammates look in my direction and shake their head as if to say “Here we go again”. There is about a 10 degree difference in their comfort zone and mine.

 

{This reminds me of my job ­ I was always 10 degrees hotter than everyone else. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about everyone saying “here we go again...” ­ because that’s the face they used to give me! That part of your story really connected with me.}

 

As a blanket comes at me from out of nowhere, I wrap up kike

 

{oops ­ I missed this the first time through ­ sp ­ like}

 

an Eskimo and give my full attention back to the conversation. It has shifted from who is seeing whom at school, to the team we are about to face. No one can remember playing this team before and questions begin to bounce around like the ball inside a pinball machine. “How big are they?” “Are they quick?” “When was the last time we played them?” The answers come slowly as we bounce up and down, these shocks are not for comfort. “Yeah, I think they are fast”, the point guard replies. “Best I remember, they’ve only got one girl as tall as I am”, the center states. “Guys”, I start, “we played them two weeks ago at home. Doesn’t anyone remember?”

 

{Now I get it. You are the coach, so that’s why you remember everything so well. And I can tell you get sort of exasperated at the team sometimes. }

 

If this is our state, it will be a long night indeed.

 

{for a minute I thought you were talking about the “State of Kentucky” because you were on the road. You may want to change that sentence to prevent people like me from being confused.}

 

I am in the front now. I am less of a conversationalist these days, so I sit quietly and listen to the conversations of my fellow coaches, today’s players, and of course, the cheerleaders. Keep in mind that I am not joining in

 

{You mean “being quiet” instead of “joining in” here, I think ­ because you are listening instead of speaking}

 

because I’m shy or because I don’t understand the topics, I know I can learn so much from listening.

 

{good point here. I totally agree with you about that.}

 

It is amazing what players, cheerleaders, and even some coaches discuss on the way to a basketball game. It doesn’t take long for me to realize I’m not the only one witnessing

 

{or really listening ­ or getting the jist of things ­ or paying attention ­ because sometimes witnessing has a little different meaning}

 

the stories around me, because the unwanted cackling of the cheerleaders wins them an un-approving look by almost everyone on the bus. Our yellow bird was not built for sound control. Once the moment has passed, normal voices take over. By tactfully listening I learn that the number one team in the state was handed its’

 

{sp ­ its}

 

first loss of the season. Unexpected, to say the least. The cheerleading coaches’ voice rises above the others as she replays the argument she had with her son before school on why he couldn’t wear his blue Power Rangers outfit. I’m telling ya,

 

{slang ­ but may be OK ­ if you want to change it, you would use “you”, the formal you, because the rest of the time you are speaking standard English.}

 

you can learn a lot on the way to a game.

 

I shift positions in my thinly padded seat. “Are you warm yet?”, my teammates beg.

 

{you may want the simple “say” here}

 

As someone pleads with the diver to turn off the heat, we begin discussing the game plan for the night. At first the only plan we draw up is win!

 

{to win?}

 

As the yellow limousine rolls on at Current Forum: Hirst Sheppard, Betsy

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 4:08 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth <elizabeth.hirstsheppard@wku.edu>

Subject: Extra Credit - week 14

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Extra readings:

Current Forum: GROUP 2

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 3:52 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Re: GROUP: Wk. 14: 4 G Rd. 3- Pope (Essay)

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Teacher Training ­ by Mary Elizabeth Pope

 

I was eager to read this article because I am myself in a Teacher Training program at Western. I am first going for my English and Allied Arts certification. I’d also like to add Art to this, but will see if that is possible. It may not be, and if it is, will be a study in How To Do the Impossible, surely, because the art curriculum is loaded with out-of-class work, much more than the 15 hours required by some Teacher Ed classes.

 

She is doing her essay like a montage! This is great because I just read about montages in the last reading by Root, about writing segmented essays.

 

This essay is segmented and is about the author’s first day in class as a graduate assistant. It is also about her fifth grade classroom experience as a student. They mesh together because they have the same theme, only in one she’s at a desk as a new student, and the other as a new teacher.

 

She is very reflective, as a teacher is taught to be. She recognizes the nervousness of the students and realizes that she, too, is apprehensive.

 

She relates how her old teacher hurt her feelings by not commenting on her report, and not helping her improve her work. How careful we teachers must be not to single students out for ridicule. These students may have done their very best! Plus, every student has feelings, and her old teacher didn’t seem to care about that. She doesn’t write any comments on her paper, only a check that said she had read it. That was so disappointing to Pope.

 

It reminded me of fifth grade all over again... my teacher didn’t accept my writing as belonging to me. It really hurt my feelings to think that she actually thought I copied somebody else’s words. It wasn’t true. Every word was my own. Perhaps if she had believed me after she had proof that I had not copied... but she never would admit her mistake. This made me so sad. I loved writing, but this hurt me a lot.

 

She likens her bad experiences in fifth grade to how some students in her class must feel with spelling or comma problems. She now takes the time to write personal comments to the students, remembering what the lack of those comments once meant to her. She goes on to explain,

 

(p. 453) “And regardless of whether or not he uses the dictionary or spellcheck, regardless of whether the exercises with commas that I will cover with him improve his writing, I know that he will leave my office feeling that he is a good writer who needs a little brushing up, rather than feeling he is a bad writer who is hopeless. He will leave knowing he is capable of doing better, and hopefully this will drive him to improve on his next paper.”

 

She is there for her students. She doesn’t “crush them” for not understanding an assignment. She allows them to improve.

 

This reminds me of a couple of teachers at Western who have helped me when I didn’t understand an assignment. They could have crashed down on me just simply because they could, or singled me out because I was older and “should have known better.” In fact, I don’t know any more than the other students. I’ve been stuck in a secretarial-type job for years, well away from academia. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when you first start back to school. For instance, I used to put all my assignments in plastic holders ­ I thought this was how I should do it. I finally was told not to do it ­ actually, a teacher said not to even before anything was turned in. Where one teacher (in another class) singled me out and made an example of me, I felt really bad because the other students weren’t treated like that. It was as if she thought since I didn’t have as many years in which to create, I wasn’t as worthwhile as the younger students.

 

I haven’t run into this a lot, but it did happen once. Like Mrs. Crane, this teacher couldn’t recognize the gifts in all of her students. A teacher can’t expect everyone to be alike ­ they can’t expect everyone to be non-creative. I hope I can be like Pope and be a beacon to my future students, and help them all be inspired to do their very best.

 

Other teachers at Western have treated me so well and have helped me overcome all of those years away. They have helped me feel competent and worthwhile. I can’t thank them enough for making the difference for me here at Western. They let me know that I am a worthwhile person. They have inspired me to keep on and to finish my Certification program. It is so true what Pope said, that “Teacher Training” needs to focus as much on attitude and behavior as on the basics of Reading, Writing, and other subjects.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Current Forum: GROUP 2

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 3:57 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Re: GROUP: Wk, 14: 4 G Rd. 4- Pope (Composing)

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Pope explains why her teacher in fifth grade eroded her self-confidence:

 

(p. 456) “She had a profound effect on my confidence as a student. Before I had her for a teacher, my other teachers always made me feel like I was really bright and put me in advanced reading groups and had given me higher level workbooks; I’d always assumed that I was one of the ‘smart kids’, I guess. Before I had her as a teacher, I’d never questioned my abilities or my intelligence; after I had her, I always questioned it, even into graduate school. Getting it out on paper gave me a sense of relief, but at the same time, there was this urgency to do something with it because I needed to make sense of it.”

 

The editors of LAJM wanted to publish her piece but they had some changes they wanted to make on it.

 

I enjoyed reading about how she wrote this piece, and I personally identified with it, both back in fifth grade and again now in college. Sometimes teachers can select a student they don’t like, and can be so unfair. I, like Pope, never want to have this happen. I will never do this to a student that I teach.

 

I liked hearing her story of how she worked on her essay. She was happy to do it, and when she read it again later, she was satisfied with it. What I think helped her, too, was the realization that her teacher was wrong. All this time, she allowed this episode to color her opinion of herself. I hope that now she can feel better about herself. After all, she’s a published writer.

 

Just now I decided to look her up on the internet. I didn’t see her there or on Amazon, but I’ll bet she has a great future as a writer. I did enjoy reading her essay a lot. It was to the point, and the pace was just right. It hooked me right from the beginning and I followed along with a sense of déjà vu.

 

Though her piece reminded me of an English teacher, it also reminded me of an art teacher I once had. I was always proud of my artwork, and had received prizes because of it too. I attended classes at the Milwaukee museum, but for some reason one art teacher in particular didn’t like my work. They would just walk by and never take an interest. That really squelched my enthusiasm. I even had one teacher who would DRAW on people’s own drawings to show them how they should do it. That is definitely a way to destroy a student’s confidence AND wreck his or her work ­ because it isn’t truly yours if somebody else draws on it.

 

See? I’m still taken with this author’s essay. Good job, Mary Elizabeth Pope!

________________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: PAPER 2 DRAFT 1 - ANONYMOUS CLASS POSTINGS

Date: Fri Apr 8 2005 10:42 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Re: Paper 2

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Shelby

 

 

 

I really had a good time reading this story. From the beginning, I wanted to know that your dog was OK. When I found out that Shelby had been put in the wrong cargo hold, I was really worried. I felt as though I were you, on the plane, waiting to hear what the captain said. When it turned out that the plan was making a stop to check on her, I was so surprised, but happy, too. A cherished dog can mean the world to a person, and I totally understand the love you felt towards Shelby. What a story. I have never heard about this happening before. I am glad it turned out as it did. I’m glad they gave you the “red carpet treatment” too, because you and Shelby deserved it.

 

I will make my suggestions in-between these marks “{” and “}”. Please remember that these are only suggestions. I am reading your piece just as if it were mine. Plus, your writing style is different from my writing style, and you may be doing things in your story for a certain effect. So please take my comments with the proverbial “grain of salt”. I hope my comments are helpful to you, and I thank you for letting me read your piece! I had such a fun time reading it, and I loved the happy ending.

 

Last Spring,

 

{You don’t need the capital on “Spring”}

 

I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit my parents. The trip was special because I had brought along my seven-year-old dog Shelby, who had been part of my family since she was a six-month-old puppy. My parents had not seen her since I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, a year ago

 

{you may want “before” here instead of “ago” ­ but up to you...}

 

, and they were excited about seeing her again.

 

On the way back, my Father

 

{you don’t need a capital on father}

 

dropped Shelby and me at the airport. After checking in, I stayed with Shelby until an airline baggage handler came to get her. Seeing her off, I headed to the gate. When the agent announced that boarding had started, I happened to look at Shelby’s ticket and noticed that it was marked for Palm Beach instead of West Palm Beach.

 

In a panic, I went to the agent and advised her of the mistake. I wanted to know if Shelby was on my flight or on a different flight bound for Palm Beach. The agent didn’t have an answer and asked her supervisor to look into it. Five minutes later, I looked out the window and saw that a baggage handler had pulled up to the aircraft with Shelby in her crate. After seeing Shelby placed in the aircraft, I boarded the plane.

 

As I walked onto the plane, I spotted the same baggage handler at the entrance to the plane. Because I was still a little worried about Shelby being on the right plane, I asked him if he had loaded my dog on the aircraft. He said yes and assured me that I shouldn’t worry, that everything was okay. His words offered relief to me.

 

{you may want to rephrase “offered relief” here, only because it seems like something you wouldn’t normally say ­ up to you though.}

 

I started to relax. Shelby had been loaded on the correct plane and the flight crew knew I had a dog on board the plane. Because the flight was half-full, I switched to a seat in an empty row located in the back of the plane and pulled out my laptop to get some work done. One of the flight attendants noticed Shelby’s picture on my computer’s screensaver and struck up a conversation about dogs, as she also owned a dog.

 

About two hours into the flight, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was that same flight attendant. The pilot wanted to speak to me about my dog, so I followed her up to the front of the plane. I wondered what he wanted to talk to me about, and as I approached the cockpit, the captain came out to meet me.

 

He told me that head

 

{he had}

 

received a call from the dispatcher who said that Shelby had been inadvertently loaded in the wrong cargo hold. He went on to explain that the aircraft was divided into two cargo holds-forward and rear. The rear cargo hold was designated for animal cargo, as it was lighted, pressurized, and heated, while the forward cargo is not designed or used for animal cargo. Tears were feeling my eyes at this point, and I was starting to have trouble breathing.

 

{I like the way you put in how you were feeling here.}

 

{It really makes it more real to me}

 

He went on to say Shelby had been misplaced in the forward cargo hold, and since it was not properly heated, he could not be sure that Shelby was okay, especially in the freezing temperatures at thirty thousand feet.

 

I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. I started to become light headed

 

{light-headed? Maybe be OK too}

 

just imagining what has

 

{had}

 

or could be happening to my baby.

 

{again you are putting down how you are feeling. I really like your description of that.}

 

My eyes were overflowing with tears. The captain then told me that he was going to divert the plane I

 

{in}

 

order to make an unscheduled landing. Again, he cautioned that he did not know if Shelby was still alive. I was grateful that the captain was going to make an unscheduled landing, but I was furious at the mix up.

 

{Just curious, but did you say anything to them about how angry you were feeling?}

 

He went on to explain that once we landed, I could go with him to check if Shelby was alright.

 

{You may want to standardize this to all right instead of alright.}

 

As I sat down in my seat, the captain made an announcement about Shelby’s situation and his plan to fly the plane to the nearest airport in an attempt to save Shelby’s life. After the announcement, I looked around to see the passengers’ reactions, and to my amazement, there were no signs of disapproval.

 

Unfortunately,

 

{I don’t think you need the comma after Unfortunately}

 

for Shelby and me, we still had another hour to go before we could land. It was the longest hour in my life, and as I sat in my seat, I could no longer hold back the tears. I thought about Shelby in that cargo hold. I began to think of the worst. Was my baby dead? Did she freeze to death in that cold and dark cargo hold?

 

{You may want to change the second “cargo hold” to something different. Just an idea. Or bring the sentences together. Up to you, of course.}

 

{Were the people noticing that you were crying? Just curious.}

 

I stared out the window and reminisced about my life with Shelby, from the time she was a six-month-old puppy through all that we had gone through together over the last year.

 

{You have used “through” twice but I can’t think of how to rephrase right now. You may want to juggle with this sentence some. I really like the reminiscing part of this story too. It makes it more real ­ and highlights how important Shelby was to you and your family.}

 

I recalled the times when I was sad, when she was always there to cheer me up. She never let me mope around and stay in bed. If I was upset and started crying, she would just give me this look like

 

{You may want to put this in quotes too, where the dog is “talking” here. I like the way you have the dog talk, it goes together with the “our our our”.}

 

get over it. Life goes on; now take me out to play. She kept me from staying depressed. She showed me how much she loved me at night right before we went to bed by saying “I love you.” It actually came out “our our our.” It freaked people out when she talked.

 

{You may want to combine the sentence before “The way that she made sounds” with the previous sentence to make a complete sentence here.}

 

The way that she made sounds that were similar to the word our. They would say that when they were alone with her and she did that they looked around to see who else was in the room. What if I never heard her say “our our our” again? I wanted to run up to the Captain

 

{you don’t need a capital “C” on captain here}

 

and tell him to let me go down to the cargo as they do in those movies.

 

{do you have some movies in mind when you are thinking this? Just curious again.}

 

The more I thought about Shelby, the more I started to wonder if, maybe, she was still alive. I thought about how resourceful she was. If anyone could survive, it would be her. I wanted to call my Dad and see what he thought. My Dad

 

{again Dad ­ you may want “he”}

 

is a veterinarian. I didn’t know if he would know or not

 

{You may want a comma after “not” here}

 

but I wanted to talk to someone who knew Shelby, and could reassure me that she would be OK. By the time we approached this little airport that we were going to stop at

 

{maybe “by the time we reached the emergency airport ­ up to you though}

 

, I began to think positive. Shelby was going to be alive.

 

When we landed, I looked out the window and saw the ground crew waiting for us at the gate. As soon as the plane stopped, I could hear the ground crew

 

{again ground crew ­ you may want to say “them” for the second part ­ up to you}

 

opening the cargo hold door. Immediately, I unbuckled my seat belt and ran to the front of the plane. My heart was pounding in anticipation. As the captain exited the cockpit, we made eye contact, and I could tell that he had good news. With a smile, he told me that he had received a thumbs-up sign from the ground crew. My baby was still alive. I wanted to see her now.

 

{or “right then” or “right away”?}

 

We both exited the plane and hurried down the stairs. When I reached the ground, what I saw amazed me. Shelby’s crate had been unloaded from the plane and placed on the tarmac. The ground crew was in a semicircle around Shelby’s crate. As I approached the crate, I could see Shelby sitting and looking out the wired door. Immediately I opened the door and took her out. She was very cold and shaking. While I was holding her, the ground crew was also excited that Shelby had survived, and they began to pet her. My Shelby was alive and back in my arms!

 

When it was time for me to put Shelby back into her crate, I couldn’t do it. It was too cruel. How could I put her back into the aircraft’s cargo hold after all she had been through?

 

I then asked the captain and the supervisor who had greeted us on the tarmac if I could bring Shelby on the plane. I reminded him that the plane was only half-full and that I had three seats to myself. The supervisor said that it was against the rules and Shelby would have to go back into the cargo hold. The captain then interjected, indicating that since they make exceptions for Seeing Eye

 

{You may not need the caps for seeing eye dogs}

 

dogs, they could also make an exception in this case. The supervisor relented, and to my joy, I was able to bring Shelby on the plane with me.

 

I picked up Shelby and carried her up the stairs and into the plane. As I entered the plane with Shelby in my arms, the passengers clapped and cheered. While I walked down the aisle to my seat, some of the passengers reached out in an effort to pet Shelby. I realized that they also cared and were excited that Shelby had made it.

 

{I kept thinking she’d go to the bathroom. Probably just because I used to have a dog that did that a lot.}

 

Tears were flowing down my face when I realized how much everyone cared, and must have been praying from the time they found out what had happened to her that she would be OK.

 

{You may want to look at the last sentence here, it’s good, but kind of long. It may be just fine though.}

 

When I got to my seat, I placed Shelby next to me, but

 

{you may want to delete “but” because you already told us she was cold and shaking outside ­ or else use “still” maybe}

 

she was still cold and shaking. The flight attendants provided several blankets, which I used to warm her up.

 

Soon, Shelby seemed more comfortable and was able to fall asleep with her head in my lap. Throughout the flight, people got up and came over to see Shelby. They told me how happy they were that she was OK. Parents brought their children over to see Shelby.

 

{Maybe “brought their children over to see her.”}

 

For the passengers’ inconvenience, the airline offered free drinks.

 

{for the rest of the flight? I am wondering if any drink was OK}

 

When we arrived in West Palm Beach, Florida, Shelby and I were asked to follow a supervisor to his office. When we got to the supervisor’s office

 

{or maybe just “When we got there...”}

 

I saw on his desk a huge basket filled with dog treats and toys. He also had a gift basket for me with a bottle of Champaign

 

{no caps ­ and sp champagne}

 

in it, and other types of goodies. When I turned around to thank him, I saw a group of people that worked at the airport standing around the door. They all started clapping, and then the supervisor said that he needed to talk to me in private. He apologized to me for everything that happened, and then handed me a check. I asked what this was for, and he told me that they were reimbursing me for my trip due to everything that happened.

 

{yay!}

 

He then gave me a round trip ticket to fly anywhere I wanted to free.

 

{cool ­ I’m so glad that everything worked out. I hope I didn’t mark too many things. I used to be a proofreader so I’m over-zealous sometimes. I only hope it helps you some. I may have missed some things too, or marked them when you didn’t need them marked. I just put things there that I would want somebody to tell me. I think you are a good writer because I was interested in the story. It had a clear beginning, middle and end, and you narrated the story with warmth and showed your emotions too. Some people never put their emotions in their work. I think it’s good when people can do that.

 

Good luck with everything ­ and again thanks for letting me read your piece. I enjoyed it very much!

 

Signed,

 

Your Anonymous Reader.}

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Current Forum: QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

Date: Sat Apr 9 2005 10:31 pm

Author: Collins, Katresa

Subject: help

Hey guys, I was wondering if I could get some help. I have re-written my breavity piece and if anyone has time I would like your suggestions on what I should do. If you don't have time BELIEVE me I understand. Thanks

Katresa

 

{Please take my comments with the proverbial “grain of salt” because I write differently from you, and everyone has their own style. I will put everything in here that I notice, any spelling, grammar, words that you might want to change, etc.

 

I tend to say everything I think, but I always do this to everyone, including myself. I used to be a proofreader, and now I think about sentences and words a lot because I’m going to be an English teacher and/or an Art teacher. Please just do the things you think you need to (like the spelling corrections) and leave the others if you want to.

 

I would notice these things if it were my paper, and, like I said, these are what I notice in my papers too. It’s hard to see things from the reader’s point of view always.

 

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. I also hope you don’t mind that I wrote so much on it.

 

I really enjoyed going to the game with you and being on the bus as well. AND I’m so glad that the team won. What a great feeling that must have been. I have written my comments and questions down about your piece. On the questions, I have put them there because 1) I was curious and 2) you may want to jot down a little about this, to enrich the story. These are just ideas, and you may take them or not, whatever you feel is right for your story.

 

It must be an exciting life to be a coach. You are on the move so much, and the players depend on you like they would a mother, I’ll bet.

 

What do you like best about being a coach? Do you enjoy the interaction? Do you ever miss being a player? These are questions I felt after reading your brevity piece, because if I were a coach, I think this is how the job would be, for part of the time anyway.

 

And bus rides must be a very big part of that.

 

I will put everything in-between these marks ­ “{“ and }” so you can tell. When I put “sp” it means I have caught a spelling error.}

 

The Yellow Ride

 

I sit in the back

 

{maybe “of the yellow bus” here?}

 

with my feet stretched out in front of me. My back is to the window, my hair getting caught in the metal surrounding the window. If this keeps up I will be bald before we get there. In the mist

 

{midst ­ sp}

 

of all the noise I carry on a conversation with the occupant of the seat in front of me about something, anything, that happened earlier at school. Was it good? Was it bad? My memory is failing on that aspect. My mind wonders from the conversation, although the seat

 

{the speaker continues to talk}

 

continues to talk, to the situation ahead. “Are we ready for tonight?” I ask myself. I want to win! Oh, I hope I don’t foul out.

 

I sit in the front, half-way

 

{halfway}

 

out of my seat because I must share with another person. My partner, who like me is not vertically challenged,

 

{you are missing some sentence here or part of the sentence ­ fragment here}

 

{It could be: My partner, who like me is not vertically challenged, is also a bit cramped.}

 

and therefore we are both cramped a bit. We both laugh at the situation and let our minds drift off. I begin to think about the situation ahead, because as a coach

 

{I missed this the first time ­ I thought you were a player ­ is this something you do today? I’ll bet it is exciting!}

 

it is my duty to focus on the game, but the background noise grabs my attention. The windows squeak like arguing chipmunks

 

{this is my favorite part ­ I love the way you describe the bus. You have such a natural talent for description. I was taken with the chipmunk noises so much, and the child whining ­ a bus DOES sound like that ­ and I never put the two things together! I think that was SO original and applaud you for it. I thank you again in a couple of paragraphs down too... I would have erased it but I knew you’d like to hear it again so I left it.}

 

and the wind whistles through the door as if to say, “You’re not concentrating”. I gauge our speed by the reverberation of the motor. It whines like a weary child when the driver beckons her on with a push of the accelerator and gives a sigh of relief as we slow for the numerous curves we face. The road is coiled like a snake.

 

{I like the way you describe the bus with sounds and the road too “like a snake” ­ at first I thought it was foreshadowing ­ but it turns out you win. I guess I had a sense of foreboding because I don’t like snakes. I can really hear the bus when you describe it, you really did such a great job with that! I could use some of your descriptive skill.}

 

Once again in the back I shout above the noise to the driver to turn on the heat. I am naturally cold and the drafty bus makes it just a little worse. My teammates look in my direction and shake their head as if to say “Here we go again”. There is about a 10 degree difference in their comfort zone and mine.

 

{This reminds me of my job ­ I was always 10 degrees hotter than everyone else. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about everyone saying “here we go again...” ­ because that’s the face they used to give me! That part of your story really connected with me.}

 

As a blanket comes at me from out of nowhere, I wrap up kike

 

{oops ­ I missed this the first time through ­ sp ­ like}

 

an Eskimo and give my full attention back to the conversation. It has shifted from who is seeing whom at school, to the team we are about to face. No one can remember playing this team before and questions begin to bounce around like the ball inside a pinball machine. “How big are they?” “Are they quick?” “When was the last time we played them?” The answers come slowly as we bounce up and down, these shocks are not for comfort. “Yeah, I think they are fast”, the point guard replies. “Best I remember, they’ve only got one girl as tall as I am”, the center states. “Guys”, I start, “we played them two weeks ago at home. Doesn’t anyone remember?”

 

{Now I get it. You are the coach, so that’s why you remember everything so well. And I can tell you get sort of exasperated at the team sometimes. }

 

If this is our state, it will be a long night indeed.

 

{for a minute I thought you were talking about the “State of Kentucky” because you were on the road. You may want to change that sentence to prevent people like me from being confused.}

 

I am in the front now. I am less of a conversationalist these days, so I sit quietly and listen to the conversations of my fellow coaches, today’s players, and of course, the cheerleaders. Keep in mind that I am not joining in

 

{You mean “being quiet” instead of “joining in” here, I think ­ because you are listening instead of speaking}

 

because I’m shy or because I don’t understand the topics, I know I can learn so much from listening.

 

{good point here. I totally agree with you about that.}

 

It is amazing what players, cheerleaders, and even some coaches discuss on the way to a basketball game. It doesn’t take long for me to realize I’m not the only one witnessing

 

{or really listening ­ or getting the jist of things ­ or paying attention ­ because sometimes witnessing has a little different meaning}

 

the stories around me, because the unwanted cackling of the cheerleaders wins them an un-approving look by almost everyone on the bus. Our yellow bird was not built for sound control. Once the moment has passed, normal voices take over. By tactfully listening I learn that the number one team in the state was handed its’

 

{sp ­ its}

 

first loss of the season. Unexpected, to say the least. The cheerleading coaches’ voice rises above the others as she replays the argument she had with her son before school on why he couldn’t wear his blue Power Rangers outfit. I’m telling ya,

 

{slang ­ but may be OK ­ if you want to change it, you would use “you”, the formal you, because the rest of the time you are speaking standard English.}

 

you can learn a lot on the way to a game.

 

I shift positions in my thinly padded seat. “Are you warm yet?”, my teammates beg.

 

{you may want the simple “say” here}

 

As someone pleads with the diver to turn off the heat, we begin discussing the game plan for the night. At first the only plan we draw up is win!

 

{to win?}

 

As the yellow limousine rolls on at a snails

 

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screen
resolution stats

 

 

{snail’s ­ sp ­ add an apostrophe here}

 

pace we begin to get restless. The excitement of the game ahead could contribute greatly to our inability to sit still. However, instead of admitting for one second we were nervous, we chicken out and claim that there has to be a better way to travel and we are getting tired of the 70’s brown decorating the bus has received.

 

{You may want to change the sentence’s passive tense “has received” to an active sentence to make it more exciting}

 

“I better stretch good,” I think to myself. “I am so stiff I won’t make it two trips down the court.”

 

{You will be running as a coach to see everything while the players go back and forth? That would make sense. I guess I’m ignorant about what coaches do.}

 

Just 20 more miles to victory, I hope. Someone has the nerve to make the very obvious comment that if we were traveling in cars that we would already be there. Isn’t it just like a freshman to complain?

 

As I pretend to listen to a fellow coach, I think the irony of the situation is unreal. I vowed to stay off a bus, any bus, after May 1998 (graduation), yet here I am 7 years later on a yellow bird to another basketball game. Although I know better, it still feels like even the closest counties have magically shifted further away when traveling by bus. I also know the trip is worth the trouble. Very cliché, huh!

 

{Not sure here ­ are you speaking to the teacher or to your audience? I think you could say it without using a cliché here and then you wouldn’t have to say the short sentence “Very cliché, huh?”}

 

As well

 

{we?}

 

roll up to the gym doors, we all reach for our ball bags and stretch like cats as we enter the premises.

 

{Do you want to say “premises” or do you want to be more conversational? Up to you, of course.}

 

Once we are dressed, ankles get taped, and hair put up,

 

{and}

 

we step on to the court in a foreign gym to prove our worth.

 

{I am wondering if it looks any different from the home gym. Are we talking Western players and you are a Western coach? I am curious to find out.}

 

Tonight would be different! Tonight we will not fall! On their home court we fully intend to walk out the victors. You see, in tournament play, winning IS everything!

 

{I wonder what it will be like if you lose vs. if you win. This might be an interesting “aside” for the story.}

 

The bus ride is only a memory now and there has been no real damage done.

 

{Did you think there was damage done? Maybe the girls said something wrong? Or maybe they got their spirits down and it might interfere with their concentration? I am curious here.}

 

The focus now lies with five girls, 3 referees, 2 coaches, and 32 minutes of basketball.

 

As I set at the front of the bench, 7 years wiser (well, at least older), I watch the seconds slowly tick off the clock. Can we do it? The underlying question arises.

 

{Question: what is the underlying question? I am a little vague here. You might want to add the question. Not being a ball player, maybe it is obvious to the players, but not to the reader. Or you might want to say (if it’s about the “Can we do it...”)

 

The question is, can we do it?}

 

Deja vu takes place.

 

{or... I feel a ___(descriptive word)___ feeling of déjà vu. }

 

The same gym encloses me now as it did seven years ago

 

{when you were someplace else? What was the important game that took place seven years ago? Were you on a championship team then as a player? That would be interesting to hear about and add to the story too.}

 

and I begin to wonder if a win tonight would be as meaningful as it was seven years ago. Will it be as important from a coaches’ perspective.

 

{do you want a question mark here on these questions?} {after “ago” and “perspective”?}

 

The pains of the trip linger longer, will the feelings of the game do the same.

 

{another question here ­ will the feelings of the game do the same?

 

Do you want to remember this game? Maybe you want the great feeling to go on and on... to last a long time ­ you could go into this if you want to.}

 

As the final buzzer sounds and the score favors us, I realize that the agony of the trip on a school bus is only a drop in the bucket

 

{cliché ­ you may want to change the phrase “a drop in the bucket” to another phrase}

 

to the overwhelming joy of beating an arch rival at tournament time.

 

Be it now, or in the past, the win is beyond words.

 

{You may want to find some words here like ­ “the win is __________ and _________” - some suggestions ­ stupendous, colossal, magnificent, etc. and you could talk about your emotions too, like if you had tears come to your eyes or you felt proud or stunned or other feelings.}

 

As I hold a piece of the net in my hand, I drift back to the net I held seven years ago.

 

{When I helped win the tournament? Or game?}

 

The joy is different, but still very noticeable. Once again I do something I thought I would never do; I say a silent thank you to the inventor of the long yellow car. Without public transportation I could not have felt the thrill of

Current Forum: GROUP 2

Date: Tue Apr 5 2005 3:57 pm

Author: Hirst Sheppard, Elizabeth

Subject: Re: GROUP: Wk, 14: 4 G Rd. 4- Pope (Composing)

Modify Forum Remove Forum

Pope explains why her teacher in fifth grade eroded her self-confidence:

 

(p. 456) “She had a profound effect on my confidence as a student. Before I had her for a teacher, my other teachers always made me feel like I was really bright and put me in advanced reading groups and had given me higher level workbooks; I’d always assumed that I was one of the ‘smart kids’, I guess. Before I had her as a teacher, I’d never questioned my abilities or my intelligence; after I had her, I always questioned it, even into graduate school. Getting it out on paper gave me a sense of relief, but at the same time, there was this urgency to do something with it because I needed to make sense of it.”

 

The editors of LAJM wanted to publish her piece but they had some changes they wanted to make on it.

 

I enjoyed reading about how she wrote this piece, and I personally identified with it, both back in fifth grade and again now in college. Sometimes teachers can select a student they don’t like, and can be so unfair. I, like Pope, never want to have this happen. I will never do this to a student that I teach.

 

I liked hearing her story of how she worked

 

 

WEEK 15 EXTRA CREDIT ­ reviewed for “Feedback on Revised Drafts” area.  I reviewed 2 stories and gave useful feedback for each.

 

#1

Current Forum: FEEDBACK ON REVISED DRAFTS PLEASE!

Date: Sat Apr 16 2005 2:40 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: Shelby

Shelby

 

I will write my comments in ALL CAPS. AND FEEL FREE NOT TO USE MY SUGGESTIONS TOO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO. THANKS FOR LETTING ME READ YOUR STORY AGAIN. :-)

 

Last spring, I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit my parents. The trip was special because I had brought along my seven-year-old dog Shelby, who had been part of my family since she was a six-month-old puppy. My parents had not seen her since I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, a year before, and they were excited about seeing her again.

 

On the way back, my father dropped Shelby and me at the airport. After checking in, I stayed with Shelby until an airline baggage handler came to get her. Seeing her off, I headed to the gate. When the agent announced that boarding had started, I happened to look at Shelby’s ticket and noticed that it was marked for Palm Beach instead of West Palm Beach.

 

In a panic, I went to the agent and advised her of the mistake. I wanted to know if Shelby was on my flight or on a different flight bound for Palm Beach. The agent didn’t have an answer and asked her supervisor to look into it. Five minutes later, I looked out the window and saw that a baggage handler had pulled up to the aircraft with Shelby in her crate. After seeing Shelby placed in the aircraft, I boarded the plane.

 

As I walked onto the plane, I spotted the same baggage handler at the entrance to the plane. Because I was still a little worried about Shelby being on the right plane, I asked him if he had loaded my dog on the aircraft. He said yes and assured me that I shouldn’t worry, that everything was okay. His words made me feel better.

 

I started to relax. Shelby had been loaded on the correct plane and the flight crew knew I had a dog on board the plane

 

YOU MAY NOT NEED “THE PLANE” HERE.

 

Because the flight was half-full

 

YOU MAY BE OK WITH  “HALF FULL” INSTEAD OF HALF-FULL”

 

, I switched to a seat in an empty row located in the back of the plane and pulled out my laptop to get some work

 

YOU NEED A SPACE  HERE  BETWEEN  “SOME”  AND  “WORK”

 

 done. One of the flight attendants noticed Shelby’s picture on my computer’s screensaver and struck up a conversation about dogs, as she also owned a dog.

 

About two hours into the flight, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was that same flight attendant. The pilot wanted to speak to me about my dog, so I followed her up to the front of the plane. I wondered what he wanted to talk to me about, and as I approached the cockpit, the captain came out to meet me.

 

He told me that he had received a call from the dispatcher who said that Shelby had been inadvertently loaded in the wrong cargo hold. He went on to explain that the aircraft was divided into two cargo holds-forward and rear. The rear cargo hold was designated for animal cargo, as it was lighted, pressurized, and heated, while the forward cargo is not designed or used for animal cargo. Tears were feeling my eyes at this point, and I was starting to have trouble breathing. He went on to say Shelby had been misplaced in the forward cargo hold, and since it was not properly heated, he could not be sure that Shelby was okay, especially in the freezing temperatures at thirty thousand feet.

 

I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. I started to become light-headed just imagining what has

 

HAD INSTEAD OF HAS

 

 or could be happening to my baby. My eyes were overflowing with tears. The captain then told me that he was going to divert the plane in order to make an unscheduled landing. Again, he cautioned that he did not know if Shelby was still alive. I was grateful that the captain was going to make an unscheduled landing, but I was furious at the mix up. He went on to explain that once we landed, I could go with him to check if Shelby was all right.

 

As I sat down in my seat, the captain made an announcement about Shelby’s situation and his plan to fly the plane to the nearest airport in an attempt to save Shelby’s life. After the announcement, I looked around to see the passengers’ reactions, and to my amazement, there were no signs of disapproval.

 

Unfortunately, for Shelby and me, we still had another hour to go before we could land. It was the longest hour in my life, and as I sat in my seat, I could no longer hold back the tears. I thought about Shelby in that cargo hold. I began to think of the worst. Was my baby dead? Did she freeze to death in that cold and dark cargo hold?

 

I stared out the window and reminisced about my life with Shelby, from the time she was a six-month-old puppy through all that we had gone through together over the last year. I recalled the times when I was sad, when she was always there to cheer me up. She never let me mope around and stay in bed. If I was upset and started crying, she would just give me this look like “get over it, life goes on; now take me out to play.” She kept me from staying depressed. She showed me how much she loved me at night right before we went to bed by saying “I love you.” It actually came out “our our our.” It freaked people out when she talked. The way that she made sounds that were similar to the word our

 

INCOMPLETE SENTENCE HERE ­ YOU MAY WANT TO SAY “IT FREAKED PEOPLE OUT WHEN SHE TALKED ­ THE WAY ....”

 

. They would say that when they were alone with her and she did that they looked around to see who else was in the room. What if I never heard her say “our our our” again? I wanted to run up to the captain and tell him to let me go down to the cargo as they do in the movies.

 

The more I thought about Shelby, the more I started to wonder if, maybe, she was still alive. I thought about how resourceful she was. If anyone could survive, it would be her. I wanted to call my Dad and see what he thought. He is a veterinarian. I didn’t know if he would know

 

KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU? ALSO: WERE THERE PHONES ON THE PLANE?

 

or not, but I wanted to talk to someone who knew Shelby, and could reassure me that she would be OK. By the time we reached this little airport that we were going to stop at, I began to think positive. Shelby was going to be alive.

 

When we landed, I looked out the window and saw the ground crew waiting for us at the gate. As soon as the plane stopped, I could hear them opening the cargo hold door. Immediately, I unbuckled my seat belt and ran to the front of the plane. My heart was pounding in anticipation. As the captain exited the cockpit, we made eye contact, and I could tell that he had good news. With a smile, he told me that he had received a thumbs-up sign from the ground crew. My baby was still alive. I wanted to see her right then.

 

We both exited the plane and hurried down the stairs. When I reached the ground, what I saw amazed me. Shelby’s crate had been unloaded from the plane and placed on the tarmac. The ground crew was in a semicircle around Shelby’s crate. As I approached the crate, I could see Shelby sitting and looking out the wired door. Immediately I opened the door and took her out. She was very cold and shaking. While I was holding her, the ground crew was also excited that Shelby had survived, and they began to pet her. My Shelby was alive and back in my arms!

 

When it was time for me to put Shelby back into her crate, I couldn’t do it. It was too cruel. How could I put her back into the aircraft’s cargo hold after all she had been through? I was not getting back on the plane if they didn’t let Shelby on the plane with me.

 

I then asked the captain and the airport supervisor who had greeted us on the tarmac if I could bring Shelby on the plane. The supervisor said that it was against the rules and Shelby would have to go back into the cargo hold. The captain then interjected, indicating that since they make exceptions for Seeing Eye dogs, they could also make an exception in this case. The supervisor relented, and to my joy, I was able to bring Shelby on the plane with me.

 

I picked up Shelby and she wanted down right away to pee. I couldn’t get her to poop because she refuses to do job number two in front of people, and people were everywhere. I then picked her back up and carried her up the stairs and into the plane. As I entered the plane with Shelby in my arms, the passengers clapped and cheered. While I walked down the aisle to my seat, some of the passengers reached out in an effort to pet Shelby. I realized that they also cared and were excited that Shelby had made it.

 

Tears were flowing down my face when I realized how much everyone cared. I realized how they must have been praying for Shelby to be OK.

 

When I got to my seat, I placed Shelby next to me. She was still shaking so the flight attendant provided several blankets, which I used to warm her up.

 

Soon, Shelby seemed more comfortable and was able to fall asleep with her head in my lap. Throughout the flight, people got up and came over to see Shelby. They told me how happy they were that she was OK. Parents brought their children over to see her.

 

For the passengers’ inconvenience, the airline offered two free alcoholic drinks to passengers over the age of twenty-one. There were only about nine adults over the age of twenty-one.

 

When we arrived in West Palm Beach, Florida, Shelby and I were asked to follow a supervisor to his office. When we got there, I saw on his desk a huge basket filled with dog treats and toys. He also had a gift basket for me with a bottle of champagne in it, and other types of goodies. When I turned around to thank him, I saw a group of people that worked at the airport standing around the door. They all started clapping, and then the supervisor said that he needed to talk to me in private. He apologized to me for everything that happened, and then handed me a check. I asked what this was for, and he told me that they were reimbursing me for my trip due to everything that happened. He then gave me a round trip ticket to fly anywhere I wanted to free.

 

I HOPE I WASN’T TOO PICKY ­ I LIKED YOUR STORY ­ AND WAS SO GLAD THAT SHELBY WAS O.K. WHAT WOULD BE COOL WOULD BE A PICTURE OF SHELBY!

 

WHAT A NEAT ENDING. I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS. I hope I helped some. I can tell that you made some changes on it since I read it last. Signed, ­Anonymous Reader

 

 

#2

 

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Current Forum: FEEDBACK ON REVISED DRAFTS PLEASE!

Date: Sat Apr 16 2005 7:51 pm

Author: Anonymous

Subject: The Yellow Ride

The Yellow Ride

 

I WILL DO MY COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS WHEN I SEE SOMETHING I NOTICE. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE MY COMMENTS OR NOT TO USE THEM.

 

I sit in the back with my feet stretched out in front of me. My back is to the window, my hair getting caught in the metal surrounding the window. If this keeps up I will be bald before we get there. In the mist

 

SPELLING ­ MIDST

 

of all the noise I carry on a conversation with the occupant of the seat in front of me about something, anything, that happened earlier at school. Was it good? Was it bad? My memory is failing on that aspect. My mind wonders from the conversation, although the seat

 

OR THE OCCUPANT OF THE SEAT?

 

continues to talk, to the situation ahead. “Are we ready for tonight?” I ask myself. I want to win! Oh, I hope I don’t foul out.

 

I sit in the front, half-way

 

 out of my seat because I must share with another person. My partner, who like me is not vertically challenged, and therefore we are both cramped a bit.

 

GRAMMAR NOT CORRECT HERE ­ YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE

 

We both laugh at the situation and let our minds drift off. I begin to think about the situation ahead, because as a coach it is my duty to focus on the game, but the background noise grabs my attention. The windows squeak like arguing chipmunks and the wind whistles through the door as if to say, “You’re not concentrating”. I gauge our speed by the reverberation of the motor. It whines like a weary child when the driver beckons her on with a push of the accelerator and gives a sigh of relief as we slow for the numerous curves we face. The road is coiled like a snake.

 

Once again in the back I shout above the noise to the driver to turn on the heat. I am naturally cold and the drafty bus makes it just a little worse. My teammates look in my direction and shake their head as if to say “Here we go again”. There is about a 10 degree difference in

 

OR BETWEEN

 

 their comfort zone and mine. As a blanket comes at me from out of nowhere, I wrap up kike

 

SPELLING ERROR ­ “LIKE”

 

 an Eskimo and give my full attention back to the conversation. It has shifted from who is seeing whom at school, to the team we are about to face. No one can remember playing this team before and questions begin to bounce around like the ball inside a pinball machine. “How big are they?” “Are they quick?” “When was the last time we played them?” The answers come slowly as we bounce up and down, these shocks are not for comfort. “Yeah, I think they are fast”, the point guard replies. “Best I remember, they’ve only got one girl as tall as I am”, the center states. “Guys”, I start, “we played them two weeks ago at home. Doesn’t anyone remember?” If this is our state, it will be a long night indeed.

 

I am in the front now. I am less of a conversationalist these days, so I sit quietly and listen to the conversations of my fellow coaches, today’s players, and of course, the cheerleaders. Keep in mind that I am not joining in because I’m shy or because I don’t understand the topics, I know I can learn so much from listening. It is amazing what players, cheerleaders, and even some coaches discuss on the way to a basketball game. It doesn’t take long for me to realize I’m not the only one witnessing the stories around me, because the unwanted cackling of the cheerleaders wins them an un-approving

 

DISAPPROVING?

 

 look by almost everyone on the bus. Our yellow bird was not built for sound control. Once the moment has passed, normal voices take over. By tactfully listening I learn that the number one team in the state was handed its’

 

ITS

 

 first loss of the season. Unexpected, to say the least. The cheerleading coaches’ voice rises above the others as she replays the argument she had with her son before school on why he couldn’t wear his blue Power Rangers outfit. I’m telling ya, you can learn a lot on the way to a game.

 

I shift positions in my thinly padded seat. “Are you warm yet?”, my teammates beg. As someone pleads with the diver to turn off the heat, we begin discussing the game plan for the night. At first the only plan we draw up is win! As the yellow limousine rolls on at a snails

 

SNAIL’S ­ ALSO A CLICHÉ IF YOU CAN THINK OF A DIFFERENT SAYING

 

 pace we begin to get restless. The excitement of the game ahead could contribute greatly to our inability to sit still. However, instead of admitting for one second we were nervous, we chicken out and claim that there has to be a better way to travel and we are getting tired of the 70’s brown decorating the bus has received. “I better stretch good,” I think to myself. “I am so stiff I won’t make it two trips down the court.” Just 20 more miles to victory, I hope. Someone has the nerve to make the very obvious comment that if we were traveling in cars that we would already be there. Isn’t it just like a freshman to complain?

 

As I pretend to listen to a fellow coach, I think the irony of the situation is unreal. I vowed to stay off a bus, any bus, after May 1998 (graduation), yet here I am 7 years later on a yellow bird to another basketball game. Although I know better, it still feels like even the closest counties have magically shifted further away when traveling by bus. I also know the trip is worth the trouble. Very cliché, huh!

 

As well

 

WE

 

 roll up to the gym doors, we all reach for our ball bags and stretch like cats as we enter the premises. Once we are dressed, ankles get taped, and hair put up, we step on to the court in a foreign gym to prove our worth. Tonight would be different! Tonight we will not fall! On their home court we fully intend to walk out the victors. You see, in tournament play, winning IS everything! The bus ride is only a memory now and there has been no real damage done. The focus now lies with five girls, 3 referees, 2 coaches, and 32 minutes of basketball.

 

As I set at the front of the bench, 7 years wiser (well, at least older), I watch the seconds slowly tick off the clock. Can we do it? The underlying question arises. Deja vu takes place. The same gym encloses me now as it did seven years ago and I begin to wonder if a win tonight would be as meaningful as it was seven years ago. Will it be as important from a coaches’ perspective. The pains of the trip linger longer, will the feelings of the game do the same. As the final buzzer sounds and the score favors us, I realize that the agony of the trip on a school bus is only a drop in the bucket to the overwhelming joy of beating an arch rival at tournament time.

 

Be it now, or in the past, the win is beyond words. As I hold a piece of the net in my hand, I drift back to the net I held seven years ago. The joy is different, but still very noticeable. Once again I do something I thought I would never do; I say a silent thank you to the inventor of the long yellow car. Without public transportation I could not have felt the thrill of victory in either decade.

 

WHAT FUN TO READ A STORY ABOUT THE BUS RIDE AND THE GAME. THIS STORY MAKES ME WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR CAREER AND OTHER GAMES. I LIKED YOUR STORY. Sorry if I was too picky last time. I have read it once, and made some other suggestions, so didn’t mention the others because you have re-written already. I know it’s SO helpful for me right now to get feedback before final posting, so since there wasn’t any feedback here yet I thought I’d do it for you again. THANK YOU so much for letting me read your story again, and hope I made some helpful comments for you.

 

 

MY WEB PAGE

 

Additional Extra Credit: I made a web page and posted all my evidence on there, using Microsoft Word and Dreamweaver, to make reviewing my stories and other evidence more fun. I also added Dr. Szerdahelyi’s web area. I learned a lot from doing this ­ and found out that Microsoft Word will do web pages that are more than one page. It puts an arrow on the top so that the reader can turn the pages. I also put the web page online so that others can see it. I plan to add poetry and more stories (including a novel!) to this page this summer.

 

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