I had it all worked out. And then it didn’t.
I was working as a *teacher’s assistant, applying for jobs elsewhere. The teaching thing wasn’t going well: my student was a nightmare. I dreaded going to work every day, and then —
A reporting job came available. It was at a small paper twenty miles away, and it was perfect. The staff was small; the paper, bi-weekly. I didn’t have a lot of experience, but, surely I stood a chance here.
I had an interview; it went well. Wrote a test article; it went went well, too. And then I waited. And waited. The editor had had a few more interviews to do, so . . . Continue reading
A year ago today, a friend sent me a message. He sent it to my email. Those of you who’ve ever contacted me through my blog know I am not always good at checking my email: I got his message after several days. Here is what it said:
Thought for the day, and week, and month, I suppose, at the rate I’ve been blogging:
If you want children to write, teach them to read. If you want them to read, show them reading is fun. As a kid, I was a bookworm, but it wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized how much reading had impacted my understanding of the structure of the English language. No one cares about adverbs and subjects and predicates and helping verbs. No 8-year-old wants to break that stuff down. What they want are action and adventure and ideas. What they want are the things of life.
Except for that one student. If you really think “will” + “not” = “willn’t,” we may have a problem . . . Except that, there, the study of grammar failed you, too. You wouldn’t have said “willn’t” in day-to-day speech. You were following a pattern, and “won’t” breaks all the rules.
— Miss Jess
Every time I write a poem, it starts with the first two lines. Maybe I’m experiencing an emotion and the words come tumbling out.
The tears do tumble down my face,
the one who doesn’t cry.
Or perhaps I’m riding my bike on a cool summer evening, or walking beneath the stars.
Empty streets, and she awake,
the one who walks alone.
Maybe I’m in the supermarket, or listening to birds outside.
Little birdie out my window,
chirping, calling, “Come and play!”
Whatever it is, those first two lines are the key to the rest of the poem. They will either make or break it… Continue reading
Little birdie out my window,
Chirping, calling, “Come and play!”
Can’t you see I want to join you—
Work, I must, this day away!
But when I’m through, I promise you:
Nothing here could make me stay.
I will find you through and through,
We will play the day away!
I’m reaching and falling.
I’m hemming and hawing.
I’m trying and failing.
I’m rowing, now bailing.
(Never give up.)
My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. — Anais Nin
It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. Perhaps you might think I’ve not been disciplined enough, not been writing enough. And, while it may be true that I am not always disciplined, it would be inaccurate to say that I haven’t been writing. I have been writing. A lot. Just not for this blog!
You see, I’ve been working on graduate school applications. I spent all day today touching up my Personal History Statement and Statement of Purpose for U.C. Berkeley‘s Graduate School of Journalism . . . Honestly, I hesitate to tell you that. Berkeley is incredibly competitive; I’ve already applied once and failed to get in. But that was before Asia, before I really knew what I was doing . . . Ha. Does anyone ever really know what they’re doing?
I’m rambling. My point is, I might not get in, but at least I can say I tried. I am also going to apply for creative nonfiction writing programs around the country. Creative nonfiction is what I love to write, anyway.
But, for those of you who don’t know me very well, I thought you might find (part of) my Personal History Statement interesting. It is the most concise statement of have of what has brought me to this point—the point of being the author of a crazy blog called “Shift.”
Here it is:
Jess Cy’s Personal History Statement