Saturday, February 28, 2009

So, are YOU a superhero?

Pin It I recently caught wind of this great little site. A friend pointed me there which in turn had me Holding out for a Hero…

Z Man.

So, I pose the all-searching question: Would you join me in a quest for my fellow heroes in the “Hall of Justice”?

“How I do go about it?” I can almost hear you ask.

Good question.

Simply go to THE HERO FACTORY, create a superhero version of yourself, give them a name, and post the ‘heroed’ version of yourself on your blog. Don’t forget to come back and post a URL to your blog where this fabulous superhero is stationed so we can all check you and your bad self out…

Or good self, that is.

I hope you’ll join me in this worthy cause. Tell your friends, after all, there’s a superhero in each one of us.

If you don't mind, I'd like to copy each of your heroes and add them to the bottom of this post...don't worry, I'll keep your secret identity safe (if needed...).



Moments with Joey – Inappropriateness

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MORNING, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The teacher is standing at the front of the class; he is pointing out a series of vocabulary words written on the dry erase board. Students are giving the definition and are using the said words correctly in either an example or sentence.

Now, whose word is ‘rallied’?

[A hand shoots in the air. The teacher indicates the student who promptly replies.]

STUDENT 1: It means to come together as a group.

TEACHER: Excellent! Would you please give me an example using your word?

[Student thinks for a moment before answering.]

STUDENT 1: The class rallied together at the assembly in the gym.

TEACHER: Fantastic! Whose word is this?

[Teacher points at the word ‘deadline’. Another student raises her hand and responds with the correct definition.]

TEACHER: Would you please give me an example of ‘deadline’?

STUDENT 1: Our literature responses are due on Monday; that’s the deadline.

TEACHER: Wonderful!

[The teacher points to one of the final words on the board. The word is ‘inappropriate.’ A boy’s hand punches the air.]

TEACHER: Would you please tell me the definition of the word, ‘inappropriate’?

JOEY: To do something not socially acceptable for where you are.

TEACHER: Would you please give me an example of ‘inappropriate’?

[Joey pauses, thinking.]

JOEY: Yeah, pooping in your pants during class.

[General laughter percolates the classroom as the teacher stands, speechless. He nervously glances about the room, unsure of just how to proceed at this point. After an uncomfortable beat he continues.]

TEACHER: Right, Joey. That would be inappropriate.

JOEY: [Spoken quietly] That’s why I’ll never do it.

Fade to black.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Evening falls...II

Pin It Last night was a great night to stay late at work, too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Pin It I love that word.

So deep. So cavernous. So full of meaning.

Delving is also a word I find captivating.

So, what do these words have to do with tonight’s blog post?

To surmise, I have decided to take part in the ‘six files in and six photos down’ thing which currently seems to be sweeping the Blogger scene. I will be honest, I feel much better about something of this nature rather than the ‘tagged’ epidemic, which seems to happen quite too often.

Six down.


And so I share a photo on my external hard drive with the world. However, it would not do to share a photo and not explain just why it is important because, to the untrained eye, it is simply a hallway.

To the learned observer, it is the story of a story—in the making.

And so I expound…

A score of years ago I had an idea for a book. This was during the time I was working at the Newport Cinemas. When an idea could come, I would write on paper towels, old movie schedules, and just about anything I could lay my hands on. After all, I was going to be a great writer, and would need to keep all of these ideas for future award-winning novels.

This particular idea was about a boy with a brother who never talked. He’d talked a few years before, but then something happened which caused him to stop.

I had nearly the whole story worked out, and had even started to write it when everything came to a grinding halt. The story wasn’t going anywhere, and it soon came to rest in a box I have…it’s a medium-sized box. It’s white. It’s filled with page after page of notes, unfinished stories, and ideas. They’re all in that box…a lifetime of ideas which have filled my head since I was 12 or 13 years old.

In that box it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

The years trudged on, and the little story was all but forgotten, lost amongst the remnants of narrative accounts, vague characters, and remitted thought.

It was several years later that I stumbled again across that box.

I removed the lid and peered inside, seeing all of these literary treasures which many others would undoubtedly label as trash. As I pulled out napkins and scratch paper, the ideas which had percolated in my brain years before came rushing back to me like a burst of summer wind.

The story, “My Brother, the Mystic” emerged from the box…all the tattered pieces.

As I read over what I’d written years before, I found myself laughing at my writing style. So many characters dealing with the issues of growing up and life…in a way it was pathetic.

Yet as I made to toss the manuscript back into the box, the idea simmered once again, like steam rising from a mug of coffee. In this manuscript there was a story yet to be told, to be written.

I turned on my computer and, looking at my old notes, I began to write.

However, there was a problem. How could I send a character off to a new life at a new school across the United States where I myself had never been?

I couldn’t.

It wasn’t long afterward that I planned a trip to Jefferson City, Missouri and decided to do a little ‘field research’ for my story.

I found South Elementary School which had a specialized deaf unit. It was from here that I began to scour the neighborhoods to find Kevin’s ‘home.’ I talked with a group in charge of a particular neighborhood where immigrants had come to the area. It was a perfect setting. I soon found the house in which the main character lived, and explored every nook and cranny, writing copious notes from which I could write my story later.

I learned about the butler’s staircase and about transoms. I learned about the molding framing the rooms, and the vaulted ceilings. There used to be a tree in the backyard. It had long-since been cut down; however, in my story, it would live yet again.

Across the road was the battered, old elementary school. Now housing contracting offices and other businesses. It looked like a prison.

This would also be in the story.

The notes and photographs took up pages and pages. I explored where Kevin would go to be alone, the cemetery next to his elementary school, and soda fountain where he’d go on a special outing.

All of these notes would be carefully used for writing my final masterpiece.

And so it is now later. The story, practically nothing like it was so many years ago, sits on a hard drive. It is currently waiting for me on chapter 6. That’s as far as I got out of the 11 planned chapters. Each of the sections is carefully planned, but still unwritten.

Yet it sits, in the depths of my hard drive…waiting for me.

It is not six files down…but farther, nestled in a cluster of microchips and sophisticated microcircuitry.

So this is the photo of which I share; the hallway of Kevin’s school. A school where he finds himself questioning the love of his parents, the concern of a teacher, and most terribly, the love he has for a brother who has caused him to be uprooted from the life he once knew.

For you who’ve read this far and have not gone away just yet, I share with you the ‘blurb’ which I had planned to garnish the back cover:

As I sat on the bench I pushed away Ryan’s hand as he tapped me, trying to get my attention. I instead turned away and tried to ignore him, but the more that I tried the harder he tried, too. Finally, I blew out a breath and stared at him. “What do you want?” I demanded, as though saying the words would do any good.

Ryan told me he was thirsty and pointed at a drinking fountain across the park. “Fine,” I motioned for him to go.

Ryan grinned that silly grin of his and ran across the park, detouring from his path long enough to chase a few seagulls picking through an old Wendy’s bag someone had left on the ground. The birds took to flight and Ryan paused to watch them for a minute before continuing on to get his drink.

Watching Ryan run through the park he seemed no different than any other six year-old. He got mad when I took his things or wouldn’t pay attention to him, he liked watching cartoons and would laugh when the characters would do funny things, like get smashed into a wall and then look like their body were an accordion. He hated brussel sprouts and hated to take a bath as well.

Ryan finished his drink and wiped away the water which had run down his chin. He began to run back to me with his arms outstretched like he was flying. As he neared me I stood from the bench and signed to him that it was time to go home. Ryan nodded and then tried to take my hand—I shook his hand away and thrust my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t have to talk to him or hold his hand either. You see, Ryan, was deaf.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Evening Falls...

Pin It I step outside, shoulders laden down with bags and backpacks.

Another day has come to an end.

I breathe in the evening air—warm despite the fact that it’s February.

The light of the setting sun is stretching over the open landscape, and kissing the eastern mountains, soaking them in subdued ocher and cream.

My destination should be home, yet it is not.

Somewhere, something is ceaselessly calling my name; beckoning me down a pitted, rutted road, waterlogged with mire.

The final breaths of light reach out to me; gently caressing my skin as evening begins to fall.

I raise the lens to my eye, and capture what is there, never to be repeated.

Home can wait.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Music of the soul

Pin It There come moments in my life when I find music which speaks. It is louder than the incessant call of the telephone, or the students who pepper me with questions throughout the day. It is a thing which I cherish and love.

Though I have known about this group and their music for quite some time, I recently ‘rediscovered’ them, and the wonder their voices evoke. I find that as I listen to “Sanctus II” that it lifts my soul and makes me feel the presence of something bigger than myself.

This is what this music is for me…and it’s appropriate for Sunday, too.


Though I love Sanctus, I really do love Sanctus II a bit more...

I don't only like the Libera Boychoir, but also The St. Phillip's Boychoir.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Life is like...

Pin It On Valentine’s Day last week one of my students gave me one of those ‘Whitman Sampler’ boxes of chocolates. You know the type, it’s the one that comes in a heart-shaped box, and there’s no safety map included so as to guide you.

So, while some may think that a box of this nature is an adventure in every bite, for me it is more of a minefield of the possible disgusting. There’s just no telling what it is you might find in that box…coconut, that nasty, raspberry divinity-type filling, or even dark chocolate.

To be honest, I was tempted to just give the box away—or even throw it away—but that’s when another idea occurred to me…It was actually the words of my dear friend and previous boss, Cindy.

“Life is too short to eat disgusting chocolate.”

Thinking of this, I took the lid off of the sampler box and then began to sample. What was good was eaten, the rest was left behind.

It was the best box of Whitman’s Chocolates I’d ever received…after all, I kind of liked three of them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Glasses - Photo essay

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