Monday, March 26, 2012

Which Road Do You Travel?

An opportunity has presented itself to me and I must decide to either take on a new task or pass. This isn't an easy decision. There are benefits to doing it and benefits to saying not now. But which is the right one? How do you make decisions?

I've gone over the list of the reasons to say "Yes!" There are many. I'll grow as a person. I'll learn more about something I already have a great love of. It will help me with future plans to help kids build their self-esteem. Oh, the list goes on. Then there's the reasons to say, "not now or maybe ever." It will intrude on my writing time. (That's a big one.) But, it might help my writing too. (Note the confusion.) What will I do with it when I'm done?

I try to feel around inside myself for that buzzing in my gut that says, "yes, do this." I don't notice it, but does that mean fear has numbed the sensation? Or is the buzzing absent because the answer should be no? I don't want to miss out on an opportunity if the Universe is trying to tell me something, but I don't want to drown myself in good intentions.

So, tell us. How do you go about deciding on which road to take in your life?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Middle School Writing

I speak at middle schools about creative writing. That means I know a few sixth graders and recently I learned not all writing programs are created equal. Why was I surprised?

One of my sixth grade friends asked for help with a paper. The writing was pretty good, but there was a problem. The thoughts were not cohesive. My friend was more concerned with making sure his paragraphs started with First, then, then, etc and a rhetorical question following the first sentence than he was worried about anything else. His teacher would take points off if he didn't follow the rules.

What? Who's teaching this stuff? These kids aren't learning how to string a thought together if they're worried about where the rhetorical goes over making a point clearly. Ideas have to flow like a river running down hill.

What do we do? First, you can have me come in and talk to your students. (I started my sentence with "first!" Maybe my sixth grade teacher is still at work. Just kidding. No one panic.)

Seriously, tell me your ideas on fixing the problems with the way young people write. I have a few of my own.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How Do You Deal With Difficult People?

At the start of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge has the market cornered on difficult. You agree? Of course you do. And in the fashion of fiction, by the end he's the sweet, rich uncle we all long to have.

I'm in the middle of dealing with some really difficult people. They are a little different from Uncle Ebenezer. I don't know how stingy they are with their money, but they definitely have the attitude it's their way or the highway. Unreasonable. Single Minded. It makes my heart wrestles around my rib cage and my lungs expand at such a rapid rate I can't get any air in.

How do I deal with this? Writing this blog post is one way. I can get the feelings off my chest just enough to quiet my mind and wait for the answers to come. I won't be able to hear what to do with all the noisy thoughts clanking around in my head like Jacob Marley's chains. But what else can I do? (I'm a doer. I have to do stuff.)

I can't make them see things my way. It's their choice how to view their world. I have to control myself, which isn't such an easy thing to do. (Though I am actually doing something.) How will I get control? It's a beautiful day out. The world outside is filled with an abundance of grace. I can sit with nature and remind myself I have everything I need in this moment. My life is full and at peace. The Universe will provide the answers on how to deal with my Ebenezer replicas. There is no sense in fighting them. "What you resist, persists." I'll know what to do when the time is right.

How would you deal with difficult people?