Writing & Publishing

Do Not Pass Go, Please Return to First Grade

It happens every semester. It seems to alternate between professors and students. Someone posts something, sends an email, or posts on a discussion board, and I lose my $h!+.

Last semester I had a professor for psychology, who holds a Masters Degree, and sent an email misusing YOUR and YOU’RE.

I freaked out. You need to know how this works before you leave third grade, let alone, before you have a Master’s Degree bestowed upon you!!!

I know my grammar and spelling needs work. The entire reason I’m working on this Professional Writing Certificate is to improve these things. Even if your overall goal is a degree in something else completely, you need to care about the work you turn in to your professor.

An assignment for my Creative Writing class asks us to “Show instead of tell” something. The person to first respond turned in work with the following:

  • NO capitalization
  • Quotation marks only at the END of each sentence
  • Spelled college with an “a” to write “collage”… (This isn’t art class, honey)
  • I think she meant remember when she wrote “rember”
  • The use of God was lowercase…”god”
  • I believe “gauys” means “guys”
  • Food was spelled foood
  • Casserole became “casterole”
  • And of course she used “your” instead of “you’re”

This is not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mistakes on this 250 assignment. Yes, it was only 250 words.

I spoke with my father earlier today, and we had a frank conversation about children and technology. It blows my mind to see parents stick NEWBORN children in front of iPads and cell phones. (Go to any restaurant and look around). They know nothing but staring at a screen all day. They don’t understand proper grammar or even the English language in general.

Friends of my step-mother came over with children who were about eight or nine, and my father could not even get them to tell him how they were that day, because they sat at his kitchen table tuned into their tablets. We are RUINING our children by putting all these electronics in front of them for babysitters. Trust me when I tell you Talia will NOT be getting a tablet until she’s ready to leave for college!

Parents have become lazy and they are only ruining their children! Our future depends on these children, and they can’t even write “I’m” (this girl in my class wrote “i” or “i’m.”)

Why become a parent if you’re not going to facilitate their education? It’s not the job of the education system to raise your children!

Part of me wants to write the professor (whom I adore as a writer) and ask her just how she can accept this work in a college level class? Part of me wants to blast the student and call her out on her piss-poor excuse for homework. The rest of me is just shaking my head and wondering where the USA will be in 20 years when no one can carry on an intelligent conversation, let alone read or write a book, run a political office, or enlist in our military to protect this country.

I’m so disappointed in parenting today (or lack thereof) and can only find solace in the fact Talia will be so far advanced when measured against her peers!

Do you see this as you go through life? Do you notice electronics as babysitters? What are your thoughts on this? Maybe I’m being an @$$hole for calling people out on this, but someone has to do it!

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Writing & Publishing

Emily Dickinson – Literary Crazy

As I work on my book proposal (no, I have not finished it yet…) I am still trying to squeeze in homework and, well…… life, I had an interesting assignment in my English Lit class. Because I am working so hard at getting this book proposal finished, I’m using every opportunity I can, to turn school assignments into something related to my book. For my Technical Writing class, for example, I am using the “fake” grant proposal assignment to work on an actual request for a grant for my writing. If you’re just tuning in, I’m working on a non-fiction book where I explore mental illness and creativity, specifically in famous authors.

My sample chapter for the book proposal is on Emily Dickinson. It is believed she suffered from Bipolar Disorder. The assignment (exam) for English Lit, was to write a poem using the style of Beowulf (which is a VERY long poem) about a “hero.” I wrote the following poem. The professor sent me a audio clip of her feedback (I attend online this semester since the baby is coming and it is easier to fit into my crazy life). She really seemed to love the poem, so I thought I would share it with you. Poetry is really not my thing….meaning, I’d rather write prose. Either way, I scored a 100 on the exam and am one step closer to being done with this semester and earning my Professional Writing Certificate!

The poem had to include certain things such as alliteration (those are in italics), kennings (compressed metaphors in bold, with the explanation in parentheses), and imagery.

I would love to hear what you think. Be sure to leave comments!!

Emily Dickinson – Literary Crazy

Your prose demands attention / Famous you now are

Though fame was not welcomed by you in life / Death it seems, fits you

How appropriate given your talent / Your obsession with death

Deep, dark, dank, developed / Prose full of meaning

Situated in the macabre / Death looming in the background

It is full of mystery / No one can put down

Your room a hide away from the world / Like a personal cave

Your quill-hand (pen in hand) always writing / So many poems you leave us to read

I admire your ability to write / Even when one is depressed as you must have been

Over 1,800 poems / Packed with your brain-juice (intelligence/creativity)

You must have desired to hide away / Rather than sit up and write

How your depression made you appear crazy / To all who knew you

Your legacy lives in light / Despite the darkness you word-drew (imagery writing)

Visitors you would not receive / As you stowed away in your parents’ home

A depressed life it seemed / Like a black crow dying in the field

I admire your bravery / Like a front line solider in battle

Though you never saw the outcome / Your world famous status

You took something so painful / And expressed yourself brilliantly

Though to you I’m sure it felt like pain / Expression came through writing

How you pulled through / I’ll never know

I can only imagine the pain / With no modern day medicine

Though your depression might have been your driving force

It made you the literary crazy hero you are today

Loved around the world / If only you could have seen

How everyone knows you / And acknowledges your brilliant mind

Through they may never understand your driving force

I see the brilliance in your writing / The bereavement-attention brings us life (focus on death)

Sincerely, forever fallen in favor / With your brilliant crazy mind

Life · Writing & Publishing

Write Like Hemingway…..Promise!

Who wouldn’t love to write like Hemingway?

The notion is a popular one, so much so, Brad Paisley has a line in his former hit “Alcohol” which (spoken from the point of view of the alcohol, no less) reads….

“I’ve influenced kings and world leaders
I helped Hemingway write like he did” (Click on lyrics to hear the full song and watch the video!)

Now thanks to Danish beer lovers, The Problem Solver beer is now being brewed to help creativity.

Marketing agency CP+B Copenhagen worked with Rocket Brewing to engineer a beer that claims to enable the average person to reach the desired 0.075%.

Apparently, (and I’m upset I was not a part of this research!) scientists in Chicago (Illinois, USA) have discovered the perfect amount of alcohol needed in the system to help with creativity. To be sure you consume just the right amount of alcohol for optimum problem solving, a graph on the back helps you drink the right amount for your body weight.

The beer is an American IPA and requires about two pints to get the average person to optimum creativity.

Sadly, the beer is not yet available here in the United States (which is actually okay given my current pregnant state!) I will be sure though, as soon as I’m able, to test this out and let you know how it goes, though I probably won’t use it to write anything I”m actually submitting to an editor or professor!

That said, today is back to school day! The spring semester started at midnight and I’ve already logged into all my classes. Lucky for me, all my classes this semester are ENGLISH! Wahoo!

Last night I finished my book proposal to send off to my English professor from last semester, who was willing to look it over before I send it off! I’ll be heading out to campus to drop it off to him later today!

Ciao for now!