“Striving to ‘Stay Positive’ While Studying for the GACE”
- Take 3 slow breaths. (begin everything by breathing).
- Enter code into link to begin practice test.
- Quickly click through 7 pages of information and tutorial–this, unfortunately, isn’t your first rodeo with standardized tests.
- Hope they ask you about cliches on the test tomorrow, because you’ve got that in the bag.
- Click “begin”
- Watch the page freeze.
- Breathe some more.
- Read through first excerpt and prompt and exclaim confusion.
- Mark the question and speed through the next 15.
- Wait for page to load on question 17.
- Get distracted by game on phone while waiting.
- Refresh after waiting for 30 minutes.
- Notice that the timer, in spite of the page not loading had been running.
- Realize you have an hour left to answer the remaining 60 questions.
- Argue with every 4 questions — that is not the definition of orthography.
- Realize you have 10 minutes to answer the constructed responses. Remind yourself it’s not Finnegan’s Wake, keep it short and simple.
- Wonder why they didn’t ask any questions about James Joyce.
- Submit your answers
- Argue with every other question that you got wrong.
- Spend 5 minutes trying to do math and speculate what score you need to get to pass, and to pass professional.
- Exclaim “I don’t care! This is all nonsense! Standardized tests were created for the privileged, and doesn’t take any considerations about class, various school experiences–who even studied suffixes anyway?! English is complex enough language without having to learn an entirely new vocabulary for conventions. NO ONE SAYS PARTICIPIAL CLAUSE.”
- Slam your laptop shut, sighing, “I’m going to kill it, but it’s still stupid.”
I remember an evening laying with you,
Backs down on the top deck of the Sands’ pier.
It was late, though sleep never touched our eyes
And we wandered aimlessly–morphing cumuli across the islands.
We were a living young adult novel:
Two best friends swapping secret dreams under a candid sky,
Planning for futures, for obstacles, for premature deaths
that have now long since passed.
We were like that,
Skipping from one backdrop to another,
On the brink of adulthood, invincible but perpetually fragile;
Lingering away from home each night, testing boundaries,
Blatantly symbolizing our teenage freedom.
You patted my hand and pointed at a cluster of clouds
Inching towards the moon.
“Hand of God” you murmured.
As the appendage stretched to grasp the moon in its clutches,
I responded, “Seize it! Seize it!”
My own hand reaching up too.
I’ve begun writing everyday.
Ok for 3 days.
They are 100 word pieces like I have been submitting on here (off and on) for the past couple of years.
In case you are looking for the prompt, I downloaded the Webster dictionary app and have been writing pieces based off of the “Word of the Day”. Perhaps it’s not complicated enough, but it saves me having to randomly point to words in a dictionary or find inspiration in the same environments I am exposed to everyday.
There is also much that has changed in my life since the last post. Mostly good, some bad, some merely products of time.
I’m still struggling, but I’m still fighting.
Hoping you, too,are persisting.
How often you have turned face-open to the sun
only to hang heavy-headed
at the end of day,
seed-full and ready for reaping.
Blame it on the state of things, but we haven’t been on a holiday in 12 years. Hell, I haven’t been on an airplane in 10, and he finds no problem in remaining here while I watch his waist gain ground across the couch frame.
“We can see the world right here, hun. We got cable and internet for days.”
I spend more time in the garden, relaying pails of dirt and water to cover seeds and watch them grow. As they raise up, I know that birds, breeze, even rain will scatter the blooms—helping them travel more than I ever will. I didn’t know I could envy a plant that depends on me to even exist, but there you have it.
As for him, he may or not move any time soon—but come fall, I’ll uproot and find some new ground.
Well, a new month has rolled around and with the coming of May comes Short Story Month. Amazingly I have actually written something both today and yesterday. I’m sharing today because it’s short, and kind of surprising in how I managed to take 12 “fourth grade spelling list words” and turn it into a story comprising multiple themes that I had floating in my thesis. It’s not astounding literature by any means, but I did pat my back on a couple of creative problem solving to get a couple of those words in.
Here’s the list if you want to write your own:
And here is the website if you want to do your own challenge: Storyaday
I was so excited about this month; about writing and sharing the good and bad product of the NaPoWriMo challenge with you all. I mean, I’ve been involved in it for the past 3 years, off and on this blog. Unfortunately, I came across a few too many obstacles in no specific order:
- I started traveling at the beginning of the month to visit with family and friends–some of whom I had not seen in over two years. So the voyage was necessary, but also wore me out. Especially after factoring in the time I spent actually travelling from place to place throughout SC. And obligatory as it was, my routine has been completely thrown off–and even a week after returning to the farm I am still struggling to hit my stride again.
- I’ve also spent the past several weeks searching for a teaching job. This has required a lot of research, and (because I’m me) a lot of OCD spreadsheet-making before I was even ready to begin actually applying/sending out resumes and honing cover letters for specific schools. I’m actually still waiting to begin on the last part, due to procrastination, fear of rejection and a general sense of doubt now that I’m in the thick of it.
- Whether it’s because of the job anxiety, or the traveling/major extroversion, or loss of routine, I’ve found myself floating above the abyss that I call depression. I’ve dipped into it momentarily a few times in the past month, but so far, each day I get up and try again. Obviously, I don’t want to abandon myself to it, and I also really don’t have time for it–but the struggle definitely leaves me exhausted and lacking in major focus. Focus, which I need for job applications as much as for writing. And, honestly, I hoped that the writing exercise could jump start the job exercise–since, if I do get a job, most of my creativity will be geared towards teaching instead of my own personal explorations, simply because of time constraints, for the next couple of years.
- For the first ten days or so of NaPoWriMo I also didn’t find myself that inspired by the prompts. Perhaps because I was anticipating more form prompts instead of these abstract/idea prompts. Or maybe because the “Curse of the Thesis” still has a hold on me and I’m still trying to move on from that project but haven’t gathered enough space yet to generate enough creativity. Or I have sapped my reserves in trying to craft a various amount of gifts for the people I went to visit (they all received belated christmas/birthday/housewarming/marriage/baby gifts). However, as I’ve gone through the past few days and their prompts, and as I try to resume my walks to regulate my routine and my cognitive function, I’ve seen some options that have sparked an idea, and have had time to think about a prompt and begin to develop something in my mind. So we’ll see if anything can come from it, with only 10 days left of the challenge.
So, that’s some of what’s going on in my headspace and why I have not been able to fulfill my promise to myself and to you, those who do read and enjoy what I put forth. There was actually a previous version of this post, and chances are it was either whinier or at the very least had a less logical voice–having written it last night at 1am, after losing an entire questionnaire I had typed up for a job due to an app crash on my iPad. And then losing a completed blog post after another app crashed on my Ipad. Suffice it to say, I gave up and went to bed to try again today on a more reliable source. And while, today I’m not where I want to be, I am a little bit closer, and I know tomorrow, I’ll be another step ahead. So I hope something creative will come from that, as much as something productive in regards to my other duties at present.
Hoping that if you are struggling through something that it gets resolved soon, or that the struggle becomes easier to manage with each day.
Day 1 of NaPoWriMo calls for a “Lune” poem, essentially a 5-3-5 haiku style, following either the rule of syllables per line, or number of words per line. I ended up doing the latter for this specific exercise. Not that this needs much background, but I am currently on a Friend Pilgrimage, and I ended up doing a Thai Chi/Yoga class with a friend before I left to travel to another city. After I told her about the poem a day prompt, she told me to write about the class. I figured why not, and this is the result. I’m not convinced that this piece is finished, or perfect, but it’s the first day of the challenge, and the second thing I’ve written in the past 4 months since completing my MFA–so rusty gears and all that. Without further ado:
Firm footing on anxious ground;
expire weakness, extend focus. Repeat.
Hello readers, writers, movers and shakers:
It’s that time of the year again, where I drum up content by participating in NAPOWRIMO!
That’s all I really have to say. I’m in the midst of traveling and job applications, so I’ll most likely write the poems and either forget to post them, or post them in large clumps. Either way, they are coming, and hopefully soon I can really delve into my monthly 100 word stories, which I believe I promised myself that I would start at the beginning of January.
What can you do, you create a list of 5 things you want to accomplish in 2016, and you make good on 4 out of 5 of those promises before April. I feel like you should call that a success.
At any rate, I hope this message finds you well, creative, and healthful.
Stay curious. Stay eager.
P.S. For any who are interested in participating/are looking for prompts/wondering about the upcoming hyperlinks under NAPOWRIMO, should check out www.napowrimo.net.
We are not yet ready to share a suitcase.
I pack too many shirts, and you too much underwear.
You cannot part with your 24 oz doubt, and that leaves no room for my travel size anxiety.
We can organize, re stack and re fold, but TSA will not allow our combined fear in one bag.
So for now, you’ll check one bag, and I’ll check two : the third for misplaced apprehension and imagined scenarios. We’ll each keep a bag apart as we travel, for our secret and reoccurring pasts.
*From the prompt: “(Add 3+2 – me and you)”
I know I haven’t posted anything in quite a few months, but I must admit it is for a very good reason.
I have been working feverishly and trying to stay extremely positive (with great effort, I will admit) towards finishing up my thesis and my MFA.
I am elated to say, though, that last Monday I defended my thesis for an hour and a half and somehow it was passed. And today, after getting all of my signatures and making edits, I submitted my thesis Stranger Things Have Happened: A Collection for binding and submission to the university. So, I guess I’m officially done!
My director is pushing me to start submitting things, but I think she will also forgive me if I let the pages sit for a little bit before going back to them. After all, I have to start looking for income now!
I thought maybe I wanted to spend a moment in reflection about the MFA and the process, but I don’t want to color it rosy and act like it was a wonderful experience, because it really wasn’t–and for many different reasons. However, I am thankful for some of the things I had the chance to do, and for some of the people I would have never met or had the guts to meet if I hadn’t enrolled in the program. And especially because of the writing that I may never have written if I hadn’t been forced to because of a due date.
But of course, there is still much to do, so wander off now I probably will.
I hope to resume the 100 words pieces if not weekly, bi-monthly as well as some sporadic musings and sketches.
Hoping that whomever this reaches is having a happy holiday, and that they meet the new year with bright eyes and kind hearts.