Friday, December 29, 2017

I wanna really write

I've spent the last several months engrossed in a plethora of lesson plans and graduate assignments. It's been hectic to say the least. I never thought I'd even attend graduate school much less do it while managing a full and a part time job. But things tend to work out the way they are supposed to. I'm making it. I have only a few more months to go before I complete my graduate degree, and then I can breathe some.

On top of that, though, I can begin writing again. Like really writing.

Like not a research paper or assignment guidelines or class announcements or syllabi or anything else that is writing but not really writing.

Really writing. Like draw you in to examine a character's humanity and therefore all of humanity with a situation that pulls you in and keeps you reading. Like a conflict that leaves you satisfied that it has resolved but that conjures more questions upon reflection. That kind of writing.

I cannot wait for that again. I'm getting this antsy feeling inside me, the same antsy-ness I get every time I go without this type of writing for a period of time. I've had readers asking about when the next Barrier will be out. It's been a few years since the last Barrier emerged, leaving readers wondering how the war will progress. I've also been asked when The Influence will be re-released. I recognized about a year or so ago that my first novel needed some major revisions, so I pulled it until I can accomplish that goal. I've also been asked about a sequel to Future Past. I kind of just left Herrick out there to cause chaos while Dayel took the throne.

While I know that I'm going to tackle these things and more upon my return to "really writing," I'm also struggling with a concept that is not new to other writers. I'm trying to decide if I want to strictly go the self-publishing route as I move forward or if I want to continue submitting to traditional markets. I need to reexamine what my goals are and weigh my options. If you have insights on this, please comment. I'd love to read them.

In the meantime, I am pushing forward and will be back to "really writing" very soon. I'm about to push into another semester of constant work, so it will be a while before y'all hear from me again. Until next time...

Peace, love, and goals,


Monday, July 31, 2017

I'm employed!!!!!

Advice is just that. Advice. Sometimes it's spot on, sometimes it's not. More often than not, advice is simply experience-based guessing.

My heart is singing at present because a couple of weeks ago, I finally got that full-time job. I've been on the hunt for over a year, and I've been on many, many interviews. I've sought the advice from seasoned veterans which generally goes something like this:

"Substitute in the schools you want to be in. That will get your foot in the door."

"Take your resume to the school itself, even if you applied online. Talk to that principal."

Well, the job I got was at a school where I'd never subbed. I also didn't go to the school and turn in a resume. I didn't know anyone at that school and never talked to anyone before the phone call to schedule my interview.

Ironic that I put in hours at other schools and tried to kick that door open with all of them... only to be rejected over and over and over and over... then I saw the job posting for a school I'd never been in. At that point, I already felt defeated and thought I was about to start another school year barely employed. I hit that submit button to turn in my application, and I never gave it another thought.

Then I was called for an interview. Less than a week later, my placement was approved. I'm now doing the teacher shuffle; I'm getting my classroom ready, going to meetings and PD, and planning my lessons. I'm thankful and ecstatic, and I'm looking forward to meeting my students next week.

Sooooo, in the interim, while I'm completing my graduate degree, teaching full-time high school and part-time college, I will very likely be unable to devote any time to anything else. I still have various writings floating around the marketplace, but new material will have to wait. That's okay, though. I'm learning, I'm loving life, and I'm moving forward.

See you all very soon!

Peace, love, and teaching,


Saturday, June 17, 2017

I want to write a new post, but not quite sure where to start.

I always tell my students that even when you're not sure what to write about, just start writing and it should lead somewhere. So here I am. Writing. Blogging. Something I don't do near enough of anymore.

Time is an obvious factor in my inability to blog lately. I feel like I've been in school for 68.2 years and that it will never end. I'm in graduate school now, and I sometimes feel like I'm drowning in a sea of academia with little emotion in the material with which I am immersed. It sounds like I'm complaining, and maybe I am a little. The thing with creative types, the thing with passionate types, (the thing with INFJs), is that I want to feel useful, and I want to feel like what I'm doing has meaning. I've been making it through, but I have yet (even one year later) to find a full-time job in teaching. I absolutely LOVE what I am doing with the local college classes that I am teaching, and when I finish my graduate degree, I'll be qualified to teach a variety of college English courses, but secondary schools in my area just aren't hiring me. I've had some wonderful interviews and not so wonderful interviews. I've followed up. I've asked for feedback. I've planted my big tail in offices and waited sometimes for an hour or more for a principal to finish whatever task he or she was on. But it's not working. It's hard not to be discouraged.

Other than my lack of experience, I'm not sure what else to improve upon. I could probably go to another location in a more populated area, like Huntsville or Madison, and teach easily (they always seem to have positions posted), but I have two children in different grade school levels, and I'm the only one who can get them to and from school. So until everyone can be in the same building, it's not going to happen. But it is what it is, and I'm trying to not let it get to me. In the meantime, come fall semester, I get to teach my developmental college classes again, and my heart sings at the thought of getting back into it. I love those students so much and their success makes me immensely happy. (On a side note, this is a part-time position with part-time pay and no benefits, so before I get more comments about making big college bucks... um, no. It doesn't work that way.)

In the meantime, I keep on. With what, I'm not sure. In less than a month, secondary teachers will be heading back into the classroom, and I... well, I'll still be struggling to make ends meet. I'm going to pick up some tutoring this fall, and that's about all I can do.

Peace, love, and endurance,


Thursday, March 9, 2017

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Monday, March 6, 2017

I'm not crazy. I'm just INFJ.

Hi y'all. I don't often share something online unless I'm impressed by it. I realize that this is going to sound like marketing, but I promise that I was not paid to share this or write about it in any way. I was browsing through one of my editing groups on Facebook today and came across a personality test. I usually don't think much about these things because most quiz apps that connect to Facebook  are just looking to highjack information. This one is not associated with Facebook, it was just a link, and when I shared it on social media, immediately several people confirmed that it was, in fact, legit.

There's a good chance that you've heard about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality inventory that can tell you more about... well, yourself. I took the quiz on and when I finished, I was rather astonished at the initial accuracy.

Over the course of a handful of pages, this personality profile detailed my mannerisms and behavior as an INFJ, and was so on-point that I am still rather in awe of it. And here's why I'm so taken with it:

I have often felt so out of place with friends, family, ANYONE. I often feel terribly isolated, even within a room full of people. I wonder sometimes if I'm the only person who can ever see logic, who can look into veiled manipulation and call it out, and who cares about issues that are important. When I read the profile, though, it was a relief to know that I'm not out there on my own. I somehow needed that relief today. I've been horribly stressed under the weight of job hunting, graduate school, and just the general venom of politics that seems to swarm wherever I look. And it doesn't help that I usually don't have much, if any, daily conversation time with any like-minded individuals.

This was a nice respite. I'm looking forward to learning more about the INFJ personality and learning more about myself. I hope you get something out of it as well. :)

Peace, love, and INFJ,


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Foggy Woods

Click picture to see enlarged version.

Smoky Mountains: still as beautiful as ever.

Click picture to see enlarged version.

My family and I headed out to Gatlinburg last week; we'd had reservations long before the fire. We saw many, many signs of the fire that had passed through, but I wanted to share this pic because it conveys the beauty that still rests there. The scene was amazing really; have you ever seen a place devastated by tornados? Have you ever felt the awe that comes with seeing a patch of destruction here and there, but right next to that destruction are buildings and trees intact? This is how the park felt at Gatlinburg. We saw charred areas, but next to those charred areas were places that were completely untouched. Those burnt scenes came with a sense of renewal and new growth. It also came with a sense of humility; the power that passed through is humbling, and is a reminder of life's short wick.

Peace, love, and gratefulness,