Friday, September 28, 2012

Loving the tire toy

Just about every toy Bailey receives, he destroys. This past spring I ordered a Buffalo whose advertisement claimed, "Indestructible." That Buffalo met his maker within the day. Frisbees, balls, squeaky toys, even some heavy-duty machine that distributed treats... all annihilated.

However, Bailey may have met his match with a BIG rubber tire that he received last summer as a gift from the Jensen Family. This hunk of rubber is massive... good luck with this one Bailey Tuckerman!

"This is a tough mothah!"

"I know I can chew this rainbow thing to pieces."

"I ain't giving up... I'm just taking a breather!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Glimpse of an old dog

On most Mondays and Tuesdays Bailey stays with Sharon at daycare. There, he goes for long walks, hangs out with other pups in the backyard, and plays with a happy-go-lucky Golden down the street. He's got the run of the house, and even sleeps in Sharon's and Mike's bedroom. He's one lucky mutt.

This last visit, Bailey got bossed around by a nippy little dog overly protective of his food bowl. That anxiety, coupled with extended walks and rough housing with the Golden, tuckered out poor Bailey...

When I picked him up on Tuesday afternoon, his entire body wagging, I figured he could handle my 45-minute run on Black Mountain's cross-country ski trails. Not so.

Right from the get-go Bailey had little interest in what is usually an all-out sniff fest. He climbed out of the car, sat down in the parking lot, and stared.

"Come on, Bailey! Wanna treat?" I held up an Iams lo-fat biscuit and he unwrapped himself from the pavement. Nonetheless, the whole run would be pretty much the same: I'd run, he'd sit, and then finally, as I disappeared from sight, he'd follow reluctantly.

About 30 minutes into the run, Bailey lay down in the tall grass and watched as I headed up the trail. As I rounded the corner, disappearing from sight, he stayed put. Usually, when I disappear, he finds me. Not this time.

Over the next five minutes while running a small hill, I kept turning back and hollering "Bailey!" Finally, after hearing dogs barking in the distance, I ran back down the trail. No Bailey.

I jogged the half mile back to the parking lot calling his name. I didn't hear the barking dogs and that gave me an uneasy feeling. But once I got in sight of the lodge, there, hunkered down beside the Subaru, lay Bailey. When I got about 100 meters from the car, he crawled to his feet and walked toward me, tail wagging... another glimpse of the old dog that Bailey will be.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Teaching writing

An English teacher friend and former graduate student wrote on Facebook today:

to which I responded....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The next project

My Sunday morning assistant. Click on picture to enlarge. 
When I moved back to Weld/Rumford in 1979, I dreamed about being published on a regular basis. Now, that dream is reality.

This morning I sat on the side porch with my assistant as I tried to focus in on the next project.  I found myself getting a bit frustrated with the many choices I have.... but then I thought of the privilege I have in my writing life. After 30+ years in the writer's room, I have earned a say, and that feels pretty good.

Time to write.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Look at sunsets and talk about the Patriots

Sunset over Stevens Hall, September 10, 2012
During class this evening, the sun began to shimmer in the clouds out beyond Stevens Hall. I turned my head back to the class conversation. A moment later I saw a student's eyes widen as she looked out the window.

"I'm sorry," I said, "but---LOOK!"

My cell phone's camera may not have captured the beauty of the moment, but each of us in class had.

"Thanks for taking the time," said Denise, a K-6 literacy coach.

Three minutes later the sky turned dull gray without the slightest hint of what had just occurred.

Earlier in ERL 540 Writing and the Teaching of Writing a student said something like, "This morning, one of my students started to talk about the Patriots. A dozen hands shot up, each student desperate to talk about New England's victory. But, there was no time in the schedule ... I had to move on with the day's plan." She felt guilty.

RTI, CCSS, NCLB.... Vivian Gussin Paley said, "The first order of reality in a classroom is the student's point of view."

In other words, look at sunsets and talk about the Patriots.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ry-Ry's medical school essay: We write to discover what we don't know about what we know.

Jesum crowbars! 

Ryan is applying to medical school after 5 years at Stanford. He asked if I could help him with his "Why do you want to be a doctor? essay. Naturally I said yes. But holy flying cows... it's difficult! This whole writing and revising deal is time consuming and messy... and when it's with a person you care deeply about...? Someone help me!

A few days later, we'd gone back and forth a couple of times. I ended up writing a revised version of his opening paragraph and Ryan wrote, "Jeezum, that paragraph is exactly what I want to say but for some reason when I try to put it on paper it keeps getting more and more complicated." 

Boy, didn't I understand that! So I wrote back on Facebook:

    • Sometimes my own editor Anne writes a paragraph or two for me to help me get on track. I have the idea but I can't find the exact words. So she gives me a few and then away I go. Do you remember ever watching the movie Finding Forester? City basketball player meets a reclusive writer? The writer gives the kid the opening paragraph and away the young kid goes. Interesting scene... pretty true.

      Getting this on paper is about living with it for a while and learning what it is you really believe.

      We write to discover what we don't know about what we know.

  • Thursday
    Ryan Kent
    • I'm quickly finding that last statement to be very true.

      I don't get off work until about 10pm EST. Maybe I'll step out of work for a while tomorrow morning, are you free around noon? Or I can call whenever this weekend. Thanks again.