What I’m Into: January 2014

 

 

January was a big month.

For me, it wasn’t just a month to kick off 2014, but a rapid paced, do all the things, read all things while everything is fresh and new and I have energy kind of a month. One Word

I began January with a new semester, new students, and teaching online for the first time. And because I’m an all in kind of person, I’m teaching four college online courses. What I’m noticing is how much I really do enjoy teaching in my pajamas, searching for cool interactive tools to teach literature, but I also miss the classroom, its hodge-podge of students brought together, the in person community of learners.

Of course, it never hurts to be able to read Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Alice Munro for work and GET paid to do so. Although, I could have left William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” off the reading list because that story creeps me out. Every. Time. I. Read. It.

But January did bring some exciting news…

My short story, Three Tapes,  was published in Quaint Magazine! You can read it here.

For any writer, being published is one of the best feelings ever. Someone else loved your work and wants it. Of course, money sweetens the deal too. And it also helps that I adore the premise behind Quaint Magazine, a publication that focuses on female identifying writers.  You should read the first issue because it is amazing.  cupcake driveway

In book related nerdness:

I read four books in January. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like a whole, but I also teach literature courses which mean plenty of my reading time is taken up by research and literary criticism.

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Any time a novel breaks the rules like telling who murdered whom in the first chapter, then I’m on board. The middle of this very long book felt a bit too sluggish for me, but I really did like the overall plot lines.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple: Quirky, very quirky. Not entirely sure how I feel about the unusual presentation of the story, but I found myself thinking about long after I finished reading it.
  • Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach: I love food memoirs. I love food memoirs with recipes. I love reading food memoirs with recipes that aren’t overly hard and I might be able to cook.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth:  My closet genre of choice, my real love will always be Young Adult Dystopian novels. Please, please don’t judge. I loved the premise of the book, and its kick ass female protagonist, but it lost me somewhat when she needed a cute, brooding guy.

If you want more of my thoughts on books I’m reading or have read or want to read, you may follow me on GoodReads.

In TV watching land,

I should point out that I don’t watch a lot of television. We gave up cable a long time ago for Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I don’t miss the bazillion channels with nothing on. But I do have a few favorites:

  • The Big Bang Theory: This month’s episode with James Earl Jones was the funniest ever. It may even eclipse the episode when Sheldon becomes the crazy cat lady.
  • Game of Thrones: I’m late to the party, but damn…my favorite characters are dying left and right and I have only made it through season 1.
  • The Taste (both US and UK versions): While I don’t do reality TV, I love watching Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, and Chef Ludo bicker over food. This go around, I’m siding with Team Ludo because Team Nigella was all crazy, Bourdain’s team isn’t as exciting as it was last year, and Marcus’s team could be feisty too.

In blog land,

I have been relatively quiet on the blog, but this year, I am going to be making a effort to be more consistent with my content. I did write about my OneWord365 and how it is really hard to live out. I took pictures of my dogs when it snowed because we don’t get a lot of snow in the South and we enjoy it to the fullest.

So, what did January 2014 have for you? Share in the comments section below. Then go check out all of the other submission for Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into Link-up.

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If I Tell You Where I’ve Been

If I tell you where I’ve been… OneWord2013_Ignite

I’ve been hiding behind piles of student essays pondering how one teaches writing. Some days, I have no idea why the words I string together like beads on a necklace create something beautiful; or why some days, I can’t write a coherent sentence to save my life(or use cliches for that matter). Yet, I taught my writing courses anyway.

This is the one strange quirk of being a teacher–I will never know how well or how much of a “difference” I made. Perhaps, none at all save the assignments which allowed said students to pass a required course. I hope for more than simply that, but I know the teacher who first walked into those classrooms is not the same one who walked out. I’m changed. I learned. I hope they did as well.

If I tell you where I’ve been…

I’ve been hiding behind my computer screen clicking-clacking keys into letters and ideas until they form stories and characters and plot lines. Rolling around behind my eyeballs, stories of Southern life and its quirky, beautiful people keep coming like bowling balls down the lane until I must write them down on lose those stories to another writer. Slowly, I’m forming my mish-mash stories into a collection that I will finish by the end of summer (someone hold me to this, okay?).

I’ve labored through drafts and classes and characters who won’t shut up until I finish their story, or sometimes, those characters sigh and step into the shadows for awhile. One of the odd quirks of writing fiction really, I can’t force my characters to speak or show me something knew when they want to nap or sip sweet tea on the front porch. So, I wait too. When they are ready, I put their lives on the page as they would have wished to known to this world.

If I tell you where I’ve been…

I’ve been reading and writing and cooking and living and remembering. This is where I’ve been for the past four months, and now, my words are here again. Thank you for your patience.