Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Thirteen

On Monday, I had one of the best days I have had in quite some time. I had lunch with my former high school math teacher, Tina Weiner. We met at Hollywood's, a local restaurant near Hollins University, and we had a blast talking and catching up. While we were eating, one of my Hollins professors, Jeanne Larsen, came in, and she invited me to stop by her office after lunch for a chat, which I did. Since I am a new adjunct instructor at the local community college, I had a new common interest I could discuss with both of these friends that we'd not really talked about before. Along with a zillion other things, of course.

So here are 13 things that I discussed with these two wonderful people.

1. The state of teaching today, including lack of funding, lack of respect, and the changing attitudes of the student body. How do you teach in the age of cellphones?

2. Books, books, books. What to read, what not to read. How do I read some of the things I do, and what books do we have in common?

3. Publishing, particularly self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Where is the industry going? What does it to do to your reputation if you self-publish? Will traditional publishers snub you for that action? Where do e-books fit in?

4. Algebra I, Algebra II, and Trig. Thankfully Tina and I only briefly touched on these subjects and more in the way of remembering I had Tina for those classes. I can't remember much of any of that kind of math, X+Y= 2+(Z-17). Yikes. That looks scary just to make up. And I can't solve it even though I just made it up!

5. Trying to find an agent. What is a girl to do when the agents won't write back? Do you send out a query to 10 agents at a time? What if some agent wants an exclusive "review"? How long do you give her before you decide she doesn't want you? It's a tough world out there in the publishing biz.

6. What to write. What does a writer write when the writer can't write the words. (How much wood does a woodchuck chuck ...) The struggle to find a topic, theme, genre. The process of writing, how to go about it.

7. Friends. Old friends and new friends, good friends who stick by you.

8. Performance Art. As in, the effort it takes to stand up in front of a room of people and be the object of their eyes, also called the instructor. It takes a lot of effort! Teachers are way underpaid. Go be one for a semester if you don't believe me.

9. Turning 50. Yikes. This is my big birthday year. It is bothering the hell out of me. I don't want to be that old. I don't like the zero at the end. I haven't done everything yet. I can't be AARP eligible! I'm not ready to be an old crone. How to celebrate that feat (the age, not the crone thing). Tina told me to throw myself a party.

10. Writing to art. Jeanne's last book of poetry, Why We Make Gardens, was written partly in response to the artwork of Hollins artist Jan Knipe, and partly in response to walks through the gardens of famous writers.

11. Vitamin D and how necessary it is to the body. Not only does it build bones, but it helps mood, too! Core exercises, how important it is to stay healthy in order to be creative. Not to mention hit that big 5-0 number.

12. Journaling as a creative exercise, using journaling to unblock yourself, using journaling for self-expression and life building. That's part of the course I am teaching at the college. How to incorporate it as a daily routine.

13. The weather. Of course we talked about the weather, that's the ice breaker. It's been cold, it's been warm, we're so glad it's spring! Whatever would we talk about if we didn't get to start with the weather?

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 286th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.   


  1. wonderful don't ever lose the past ever

  2. I love your new header with the lovely images of Spring and it sounds like you had an awesome time with your friends. Friends are such a blessing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more about getting/staying healthy - I find myself much more productive when I'm taking care of myself. Or maybe it's just that I'm cramming more work into the time I have left after taking care of the house and exercising? LOL!

    Happy TT!

  4. I gave up on traditional publishers years ago. The only 2 successes I ever had with them was when a colleague gave me a nod and wink. The system hasn't worked for decades. But it's always good to talk about it.

  5. sounds like a great conversation. and you definitely should throw yourself a party! fill the place, wall to wall!

  6. A friend and I were just talking weather, books and education last night. At center of the conversation was how vastly different the attitude of my 8-yr-old niece, eager to learn and excited about school, was to her 18-yr-old sister, who hates school and is on the verge of failing her senior year.

  7. Oh, I'm so glad you had such a good day with your friends and colleagues, Anita! It really is so energizing and exciting to be around kindred spirits with whom you can talk so freely. I'm also glad you're a teacher now. I have a feeling you'd be a good one.

  8. 2, and 3 sound like what my friends and I talk about when we get together.

    And AARP has been sending me stuff since I was 30.

  9. Sounds very stimulating. I usually lie about my age for one year so I can have some buffering time. Joe turned 50 in December.

  10. Don't know how I passed Algebra; managed to keep my nostrils above water with Trig though. Students who have good teachers in difficult subjects are blessed.

  11. Your conversations go pretty much the same as mine, except I'd never discuss algebra. Never :)


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