Tuesday Slice #SOL18

Yesterday afternoon I received some disappointing news. It isn’t anything I can control but upsetting just the same. Life is full of ups and downs I know. I have to choose to focus on the positive.

On a positive note, I had a few great spots in my day including a great lunch with my son.

The week that I have had off has been wonderful. I have been able to catch up on sleep, read, and achieve some writing goals. I have made some connections with some wonderful writers as well.

Today is full of baseball, running, and reading!

Read and Reflect: Magic For Beginners

Image result for magic for beginners

One of my favorite short story authors is Kelly Link. One of her collections is Magic for Beginners and this week I read the story of the same title.

Here are some of my favorite lines and reflections from that text.

Page 210: When you get tired of having a secret, you tell Amy. Understand: Amy isn’t that much stupider than anyone else in this story. It’s just that she thinks out loud.

I love how the author talks directly to the reader. These lines are an explanation of the character of Amy who represents that one friend that everyone has. The one that when you are tired of keeping a secret the person you know will spread it. The last piece of this excerpt is a concise explanation that makes sense. It’s not her fault. It is just the way she is…loud. 😃

Page 211: Elizabeth’s family has a large and distracting selection of shampoos.

This is one of the odd lines that I find endearing and funny. I can visualize the plethora of shampoos in the shower. The character in this story showers at friend’s houses because his dad is weird about timing him.

Page 211: Talis is, famously, a loner. She doesn’t listen to music as far as anyone knows, she doesn’t wear significant amounts of black, she isn’t particularly good (or bad) at math or English, and she doesn’t drink, debate, knit, or refuse to eat meat. If she keeps a blog, she’s never admitted it to anyone.

I love the description of this character – and her name. It makes me like the character even more than I did before these lines. The mix of descriptors in the list are odd and quirky and makes me pay attention as a reader.

Page 212: I’m not allowed to tell you what they fought about.

As a writer, I love this line. It progresses the story along and also ups the intrigue. There is an underlying issue with the parents. You know this but get the feeling from the son when he utters this line – again to the reader.

Page 212: They imagine that life will always be like this— like a television show in eternal syndication— that they will always have each other.

This line makes the connection to the reader of the real-life people to the tv show that is a character in the story as well. It is not certain whether the show is real, or where it is even filmed in the story. There are multiple actors that play different characters. It also plays to the naive idea that the friends you have in school are the ones that you will have in adult life. That the group of influence will not change and you will always be close.

Page 212: Velveeta- and- pickle (a reference to a type of sandwich being made – ewwwwww)

Page 212: There is something dreamlike about the way that she makes a sandwich. As if she is really making something that isn’t a sandwich at all; as if she’s making something far more meaningful and mysterious. Or as if soon he will wake up and realize that there are no such things as sandwiches.

So many ideas and items in life have multiple meanings. The fight is not really about the fight… it is often about an underlying issue. Short stories are multilayered and these lines exemplify this idea for me. There is a melody to these lines I enjoy reading, even if it is just about a sandwich…and something more.

Page 214: once spent eight thousand dollars on a Japanese singing toilet.

The ridiculousness of this line made me laugh. The dad is a shoplifter, a writer, and a cook.

Link is known for not always tying up her stories in a nice bow. Sometimes there are large pieces that are left hanging for reader interpertation. There is a relationship that is unique between the story and the reader and the author and the reader. Knowing this before you read her work is incredibly helpful.

One of the other favorites of her stories is the Fairey Handbag.

Happy Reading!

Summer Tuesday #SOL

A cold nose to my leg woke me today rather than an alarm. The German Shepard is more impatient than cell phones. It is my first day of summer break. I will read, write, and exercise today.

June is a month of transitions for me. A place I do not like to be in honestly. There is lots to do and prepare for.

The morning is a bit dreary with a light rain and cloudy start. Perfect for a midmorning nap.

Lists will be made later of actions that need to take place including books to read and places to send stories. Some of the lists have to be fun!

The lists will help keep me centered. Illusion of control is sometimes needed.

House Hockey

My husband and I bought plastic hockey sticks at the resale shop last week in anticipation of this weekend. We moved all the furniture and had one on one and two on two hockey games. It was super fun and super competitive. Best $8 we’ve spent in a long time.

The goals are corning ware bowls so when the puck hits them there is a ding! Everyone had to wear shoes because it hurt your toes if the puck hit it!

It is added to the repertoire of games. House hockey is right up there with crazy hot potato!

Dreams #sol18

I used to remember vivid dreams with no problem. Now, it seems I dream but as soon as I wake the story is gone.

Past dreams I have written down have become stories. I used to dream of roller coasters and driving all the time. Weird trip sequences too.

The question of the day is…Do you remember your dreams?

The Emotional Bank Account

db4de-slice-of-life_individualI believe strongly in the emotional bank account.

Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) uses the metaphor of Emotional Bank Account to describe “the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship” (p. 188).

Covey describes 6 ways to make a deposit:

– Understanding the individual;
– Attending to little things;
– Keeping commitments;
– Clarifying expectations;
– Showing personal integrity; and
– Apologizing sincerely when you make a “withdrawal”

When I first started teaching I had the honor of working with Dr. Rita Brodnax who exposed me to researchers and learning that became part of who I am at the core of being a teacher. One of the workshops she brought to the corporation was Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

The concept stuck with me and connects to all the relationships – students and adults. The emotional bank account works like a checking account. You make deposits and you make withdrawals.

Deposits are the things that are listed above. Withdrawals are when you hurt someone’s feelings, forget an appointment, don’t answer, break a confidence, don’t keep your word, lie, etc

If you have a relationship built with someone over a year and most of the interactions are deposits then you are in the black even if the other person hurts you in a minor way. Your relationship is ok.

If you haven’t known the person long and there hasn’t been many depsostis, then a few withdrawals can deplete the account quickly. A large betrayal could deplete the account all together.

Then you have to decide if you are going to close the account and therefore the relationship. Overdrafting your emotional bank account suffers penalities.

This works in marriage. My husband has a simple explanation of a happy marriage: You take care of my needs , I take care of your needs. Simple to say,  not always simple to deploy.

It works in a classroom. The classroom culture is a relationship. You have to give and take for it to work.  There is the relationship between you and your students and there are the relationships between the students themselves. As the teacher, we often have to manage both to a certain extent.

Deposits are important and can as simple as knowing everyone’s names. My goal is always to make more deposits than withdrawals!