Monthly Archives: March 2007

Googling an Old Acquaintance

I don’t know why but I did something strange last night. I introduced a character in Chapter 2 of my novel but I named her after an old acquaintance of mine. I typed both her first and last name and she became a character in my novel (but it wasn’t really her, it was a fictional character.) I knew I should’ve changed the character’s name right away but I didn’t. I don’t know why. I went to bed, happy with what I had written and where my story has gone so far.

In the morning, I was troubled about naming this character after a girl I had a crush on in high school. I knew as soon as I woke up that I would need to change the character’s name. I decided to go online and Google her name. I had to see what would happen. I thought that for sure she would be married by now and I probably wouldn’t find her in cyberspace. I was wrong. I found her.

I found a newspaper article on her. It was a slice of life article in the Hamilton Spectator, the local newspaper. The article was only one year old. It was interesting to read where she has ended up in life. I was never really close to her. We weren’t even really friends. We had one class together in high school and worked together on a group project once. That was about it.

I think it is absolutely amazing how you can type a name into a search engine and find out something about that person. It’s almost scary. But it does give us a way to catch up, especially if it is a person you couldn’t just call out of the blue.

It turns out that this girl still has the same name. She isn’t married. The article interviews her about the struggles of being a single mother. It was kind of sad to read that she didn’t end up living her dream, not that she can’t mind you. She’s the same age as me, and we are both still young.

So now I know more about someone I just randomly thought about last night. I still really like the sound of her name and did a further Google search to find that her last name is common. So my character got a new first name but will share my old acquaintance’s last name. I hope she doesn’t mind.

Male Teacher

I teach children. Not a lot of males do this for some reason. I see most male teachers gravitate toward middle school or high school. I teach Grade 4. I enjoy it a lot. I remember that my first male teacher was in Grade 4 and I responded really well to him. I also had a male teacher for Grade 5 and Grade 8. Three years of my elementary school saw me being taught by men. That is 3/9 of my primary education. I didn’t go to junior kindergarten. I wonder how many kids go through school without ever having a male teacher until high school. Does it matter? I don’t know. There have been studies done about boys responding better to male teachers but who knows. What do studies really prove?

I don’t like to think in terms of gender and race. It doesn’t really matter as long as the person knows what is important. The desire to teach and to reach the students is what is important. Without that a teacher is just there for the pay cheque and probably won’t ever feel the energizing sensation I wrote about yesterday. Then it will feel wrong to the teacher and the student and everyone loses out.

Am I a good teacher? I’d like to think so. Am I a great teacher? I don’t know. It is so easy to second-guess yourself. It is so easy to see a new resource, or a new method, or different style of doing something that you begin to have doubts whether or not you presented the material in a way to engage the students to maximize their learning. Every year I learn from my students probably as much as they learn from me. And every class brings new challenges. It is an adventure that I am happy to be on. The adventure continues.

Meant to Be

Where I am right now and how I got here just feels right. It’s a feeling that I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. It’s hard to explain. And it would take pages and pages to explain exactly how I got here. It’s a long story that I don’t want to tell. I’d rather tell my fictional stories than my autobiography, so I’m not going to tell it. Sorry.

I know that a vast majority of writers need to hold down a day job to survive. I have a day job but it is a career in which I feel at home in. I think I was meant to be a teacher. It feels comfortable and natural. There is never a day that I go into work and just dread it. That is not to say that there are days that I would rather stay home. It’s just that when I get there and get into the zone, I forget about any troubles I have outside of the classroom. I become a teacher like an actor takes on the role they play. The role overcomes me and fills me with energy. I am able to get through even the toughest day in the cocoon of my classroom. I know this may sound strange. I don’t know how else to explain it, other than my work energizes me. Most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like work.

And sometimes, when I get home from a long day at school, and yes they are long days, I fall onto the couch exhausted. Task done, energy depleted. It may take me some time to recharge before I want to move again. Teaching can really tire you out. Some nights I take just to recharge. Some nights, the energy of the day stays with me and I write, write, write, or clean, or do housework. You know how it is.

My day job doesn’t feel like a day job. My writing career may never take off but I enjoy doing both and will continue to do so no matter what. I should stop writing this and go back to writing my novel. I am half way through Chapter 2 now. I will update you about it soon. Keep reading and I’ll keep writing! Thanks.

Unresponsive

I got a new watch last month. It’s a digital wonder this watch. It holds time information for three different time zones. It has three alarms, a stopwatch, a countdown timer and an occasion reminder. I use some of these features everyday. I wake up to the beeping alarm. I time my students in class during their daily timed drills in math. I time myself when I go for runs. And, of course, I keep myself on schedule all day with the normal time mode. It’s a very useful device.

Today, my watch suddenly became unresponsive. The time ticks on and remains correct but none of the buttons work anymore. I tried to switch to the countdown timer in math class today and pushed the mode button as usual – nothing happened. I pushed the buttons to see the different times zones – nothing. I tried to reset the time – nothing. I tried to use the light – nothing. None of the buttons will produce any response. After only one month of use, I am a little pissed off about this.

It’s amazing how much of a tool this small device on my wrist has become. I don’t know what I would do without a watch. I think I’d be lost. I don’t even think about it until there is a problem. Last month, I finally caved in and bought a new watch after about a month of it resetting on me almost daily. These things are not meant to last, it seems. That’s fine with me. I got ten years out of that old one, which was the same type of watch I replaced it with, although it didn’t have as many features. I don’t mind buying a watch every ten years. I can live with that. But this watch is only a month old and it is technically still working, it is just unresponsive.

Come to think of it, my class was unresponsive today too. Could this be a coincidence? (Writers don’t believe in coincidence.) Maybe if they have a better day tomorrow and are more receptive, maybe my watch will be too. Maybe there is some strange link between my class and my watch. Then again, maybe not. I guess we will just have to watch and see what happens.

Five Year Mission

Today I embark on my five-year mission. I think that it is important to set goals and work to achieve them. I have been writing for years but have just recently decided to get serious about it. I launched a website and purchased my name as a dot com address for a five year term. So my five year mission is to write, write, write, and to get something published.

I think this is an achievable goal for me. This year I completed a screenplay and a verse novel and I am currently working on a junior novel. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head for a few books after I finish this new project too. I even have an idea for a non-fiction work that I hope to write someday.

So after years of writing a personal journal, I am now ready to start sharing my words in a variety of genres and formats. I am excited about this journey. And just like Star Trek, you can come along for the ride with me, every week as I update my blog. You can check my website for more information on my writing projects and samples as well.

I look forward to an excellent journey. And who knows, this might be longer than a five-year mission. With any luck, it will be the start of a promising writing career. And if it isn’t, I will continue to enjoy what I am doing and write just like I always have. Writing for writing’s pleasure. With that said, it is time to embark.