Monday, April 15, 2019

The Weeks

I've had a rough couple of weeks with the writing. You know how sometimes things just flow, and then how other times it feels like a massive grind just to type a sentence or two?

I've been in a grind phase now for a couple of weeks, the exact weeks, as it happens, that I've been back in school from spring break. Luckily, there are a few strategies that we can use to press ever onward:

First of all, we can remember that almost all writers hate writing from time to time. You can find any number of quotes from famous and lauded writers about how awful it can be to write. I just found one from Anne Tyler, who is inarguably brilliant and has written 22 novels: "If I waited till I felt like writing, I'd never write at all." See? Even she just has to make herself do it.

Second of all, we can set a timer and just promise to work for a very short interval. I recommend something less than twenty minutes. I go for 15 first in the morning, and then I switch to 10. In between the intervals, I can do something else like make tea or do the New York Times mini crossword. Incidentally, if you like the NYTIMES mini crossword, could you let me know? We could be leaderboard friends. You know how I love a good leaderboard.

Third of all, we can remember that the first draft is always just objectively terrible. Write the worst thing you can possibly think of. That's how it's supposed to be. Jodi Picoult, author of 25 novels, says, "I may write garbage, but you can always edit garbage. You can't edit a blank page."

I literally repeat these things to myself every morning. Things like, "Just do it," and "Write badly!" Someday soon, I hope the writing comes more smoothly again. It probably will, and then it will inevitably get worse again. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Anti-Thrill List

Well, we're having a winter storm event. It's mid-April and these things happen here in Minnesota, but I'll admit I'm not thrilled. Other things that don't thrill me:


  • Kids kicking other kids. I did tell the kicked kid that there is some danger in crawling under tables pretending to be a cat, but still, we all know we shouldn't kick.
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. This condition causes water retention and discomfort. It's tough being an athlete in one's forties.
  • Homework. One of my kids sometimes requires vigilance and assistance in homework completion. Let's just all skip it, shall we?
  • Rhubarb. There was a rhubarb-based dessert in the cafeteria the other day, and while I enjoy most foods, I just don't care for rhubarb. Next time, let's hit the fruit-based dessert with a little apple flavor. Maybe some peach.
Thanks for carefully considering this list.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Water Club

The other day, Lee wrote about conflicts in third grade.

I'd also like to tell you about something that's happening in third grade. That something is called Water Club. If you're in Water Club, what you do is, every time you walk past a water fountain, you try to put as much water from the fountain as you can on top of your head.

How stupid, right?

A couple of people have taken Water Club to the max by going into the bathroom and getting drenched in the sink. I think we can all agree that this Club doesn't maximize learning. I think we can all see that making a different choice besides the one to be in Water Club might be preferable. I think we can all understand why I'm going to have to ban Water Club. That's right. Water Club is going the way of Rolling Around on the Rug Club and Scream in the Hallway Club.

I'm putting my foot down.