This has been one of the hardest things as a teacher. One of my former students was a cop in Memphis; he is responsible for Tyre’s death.
No. I could not watch the video. My sister Twyla (who taught him for 7th grade) did and she told me not to. I always heed her advice.
I feel like one of the folks on the “IamtheMainCharacter” subreddit. This event has absolutelyl nothing to do with me and no one should pay attention to me at this time. I am emotionally involved and nothing good can come from discussion.
What I can tell everyone on this planet is that he was a good kid when I taught hin in the 8th grade. He was my class clown, but he was also one of those kids that if you give them a job, they will rise and perform. If memory serves me, he was my “emergency” line leader. Every month at the middle school, we would have a fire drill. They planned them so that every period and every time slot was covered (since kids are all throughout the school during the day, they need to know for each location they go).
My emergency bag was HEAVY. It had a gallon of water, puzzles, clipboards, pens, games, and rolls. Each period had a designatied “emergency” line leader. That person’s job was to get the emergency bag and then get to the head of the line and lead everyone in class to our safe zone in the parking lot.
He was that kind of kid; he was a helper. He also made me smile and laugh. I have not been able to watch the nightly news since I discovered he was involved as one of the cops. My only question is what happened to change him?
I have a funny feeling Memphis happened. Memphis is a rough place to live, and without the right resources, I can see how Memphis would actually be hell on Earth for a lot of folks. It is one of the most violent places I have ever worked and lived (well, next to Newport News).
I’m sorry, former student; I failed you. You were a good kid, but that city took it out of you and made you hard. It was the only way for you to survive; I get it. I still love you for that beautiful child that was in my classroom and who I know is still living deep down inside. Make peace, baby. Make your peace.
Last week is going to stay in the books as weird.
The writing business is starting to take off. I'm seeing some twenty-dollar days, and it's a terrifying ball of excitement and trepidation. I want to be a writer and do my writing thing full time. Right now, it won't pay the bills so I'm still building my business and my business model.
I reached out to some folks who specialize in short story publication and they have told me that with this recent success (two number-one books in a sub-genre) I should:
Now to figure out if I'm smart enough to execute the advice and continue to grow this business. Since I'm booked for the Spring with Olli, I will have time this spring to hopefully work on writing and publishing a dark sub-genre romance. That's the big leagues and I wanna be there.
I wanted to have a number one story in my subgenre by the end of the year. Looks like that goal will was attained last Saturday around 10 am.
The other main goal was to make 100 dollars before July. I'm on track to fulfill that in January as well.
The main question is what to do next? I feel like I did what I said I would do and all, but I also feel like 100 dollars a month is nothing to sneeze at in terms of being unemployed right now.
I'm not sure what is beyond the goals I made earlier, so I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best.
ITime again for resolutions and goals.
I usually do these in August along with my job cycle. This August was so vastly different, I never got around to it. I did, however, embark on a journey last year and am ready to continue that journey to whatever end I might find. Like Douglas Adams famously claimed: "I may not have gone where I intended, but I think I ended up where I needed to be."
The publishing is going well.
My most recent efforts ended the day at number #32. It started dropping again after that, but I'm hoping that this means my story may have some staying power. I'm also super happy I'm getting reviewed now. No one has left any comments, but I really like the stars, especially since the other series was only evaluated twice and one was at 3 stars and the other was 1 star.
I’m averaging about a dollar a day, but hey, that’s money I didn’t have before. I actually was able to withdraw 20 dollars from my publishing account and buy myself some breakfast while in New Orleans. Weird that I ran into a collared submissive while at the cafe. O_o.
As far as professional work, I am looking toward to teaching again at the University of Southern Mississippi with their OLLI program. It should be a hoot to work in a conventional classroom setting again. I’ll be posting those lesson plans as I create them here. It’s an exciting layout because I was able to convince the leadership to give us one hour of lecture and follow it with one hour of lab.
The idea being, folks can come to class and get some basic information lecture style, and then for the next hour we can work together to solve any issues they are specifically having all the while using the time as a springboard for discussion topics and future lessons. It’s a big idea, and one that will require me to organize lessons on the fly, but I’m hoping it can give us a better “service” nature to the classes.
I’d love to start teaching remotely (or on campus) for the University, but I know they have a list of applicants a mile long. To that end, I have my Mississippi teaching license in hand now, so hopefully some more lucrative work will be coming up in the near future.
The old body is hanging tough. Still experiencing some pain from the surgery. And I was lucky enough to avoid Covid during the holiday travels, but exchanged all that luck for a head cold that is sapping my strength for the moment. The good news is that if I keep the fluids up, this thing is just a head cold. I should be able to kick it by this weekend (famous last words).
Doug has been doing okay. We are still wrestling with his diagnosis. Had super big struggles this holiday with moods and regulation. I really need to focus on meditation and nutrition to keep myself strong for when the family needs me.
That brings me to my goals for this year!
Writing: 2K a day. That’s it. Hell or high water. 2K a day
Money: Sub at least five days before June—stomp the next OLLI class with the best curriculum they've ever seen.
Love: Work to strengthen my marriage by framing Doug’s mood swings in his diagnosis and giving myself the space I need to find my caregiving balance with him.
Publishing: At least one short a week for Kindle Unlimited. Gotta get those page reads!
Until next time :-)
I am just stuck. I don’t want to write and I’m feeling discouraged. It’s soo hard to focus when my body is acting like a little bitch. My surgery on the first is healing slowly, but it has absolutely devastated me physically and mentally. Like, if I sit up too much, I’m in pain type of devastation. It is so limiting that I’m running out of ways to distract myself.
If I watch a movie, I feel lazy. If I sit up and write, I feel like I’m not doing anything (I also don’t know what to write about. Or how to start).
I keep telling myself I need to write 2k words a day. I can’t even make it to 1k because I’m having trouble descending into scenes. I think the reason for that is the lack of the outline phase the do the bigger (40-80 page) stories.
Maybe if had an outline for a one-hour romance. I really need to read a few to figure out the formula, but when I do, I just feel all icky. Like I don’t want to read. I think I’m just fussy right now. I’ve got a heating pad on my stomach and it helps, I just hate it. It is so much work being sick.
I have been missing Dorian so badly lately. Oh, sis. Where are ya?
When I get into my crying jags, is see her in my mind’s eye giving me a hug–coming from my left side. Like I’m sitting and she just leans over me and covers me with her arms and snuggles my hair and face. Just like sisters do. My best friend. My other half. Gone. gone. Gone.
I think I may need to do some grief work if this is taking up so much of my time. But it’s taking up time when I’m sick. It’s like I’m choosing to kick myself in the stomach while I’m down.
Momma always tells me it’s because it’s one of the only times I’m still enough to stop and think and that my mind is overthinking because I can’t work.
That’s true. I know it. But I miss her so much it makes my bones ache. Fucking no lie. When I feel her sometimes, it actually physically hurts my body. Like my soul ripping from my body.
I want to stop doing that and be present in the love and joy of my life right now. I’m not working (super stressed about Christmas gifts this year and money in general–we have enough right now, but our cushion is gone and we need it back. I got the job at Ollie, but it is not paying enough to keep me. I’ll have to add the sub work–and I’m scared too–a new experience and all. Don’t get me wrong, those kids wouldn’t know what hit them. I’d be fine–It’s just not what I want my focus to be.
But what if my focus right now (starting off in the self-publication arena) isn’t right? I can teach. I’m good at teaching and for a large part, it if effortless. The writing game is all new and I’m not sure what the next steps to take. I’m sure the DD thing would be good on discourse. But I’m reluctant to take new things because the old things haven’t worked.
I'm reluctant because I don’t know what I want to do yet. I know I want to make money by writing–but I don’t know if I have the formula right in my head yet.
Maybe an ARC group and develop the book funnel angle.
Oh, and I need to publish the bundle-wide and then publish on different platforms.
Maybe I’ll focus there today. I wrote this bundle to get out and now it’s out. Time to tell the world. That can be enough for today and maybe I can figure out how and what to write next.
I never thought I'd be saying this, but I officially consider myself a writer now.
After publishing on September the 7th, I've made a whopping total of $41.75 as of this morning. I'm sure it's not as impressive as it feels, but here's the thing. I can see how to scale all this. I can feel how to control the stories and motivate the characters.
When I write, I feel alive, like nothing can stop me. It's causing me to spend many hours of my days writing and researching and outlining. I'm exhausted and I'm soooooo happy.
For those who are close to me and checking the blog, I'm getting ready to have major surgery tomorrow. I'm super nervous because I have to have my pelvic floor reconstructed and a sling put in. I promise you I never thought my body would be a wrought with such issues. The doctor says the reason for all this is the fact I carried my children. That's it.
Those pro-life ho's (yeah, I mean it--No, I'm not taking it back--times are too difficult for silence) never think about stuff like this either. Carrying children is freaking dangerous and not just when folks are pregnant.
Anyway, I'm going to be drunk on pills for a few weeks while I recover. I hope to be back and publishing again on the 9th of December--when I have my bundle go wide.
It's taken some getting used to things here on the farm.
We've finally gotten into a good routine. We get up, have coffee, feed dogs and horses, walk, meditate then do stuff that belongs to the world.
I'm trying to find my balance between caretaking and earning money. I'm a licensed substitute now and a licensed teacher. I just finished teaching a two-hour class for Olli at the University of Southern Mississippi (which was a BLAST), and I've signed up for another 14 hours for next semester.
But I've spent so much time on it, I've let my publishing lag. Granted. The publishing does NOT make money. I am going to attach a tentative YET to that last sentence because the feedback I'm getting from the smut is super positive with lots of views and interactions. I need to do more work for my SEO class so that I can promote those books better; however, I do think this line has potential if I can ever carve out enough time for it.
I was going to participate in a writing event to write a novel in November, but with everything still so fluid with life and money, it may be best to postpone until I do have time.
Well, that's all super basic and boring. Here are some pictures from the farm over the last few weeks.
My sister Dorian loved women. I remember when she once slept with a guy to see what it was like and came back vastly disappointed.
She loved the old iconic movie actresses like Anne Bancroft and Sophia Lauren. She once told me she would watch Anne Bancroft sit on a toilet for 8 hours--she was that enthralled by her.
When I started teaching, I remember debating what to do when kids used the term "gay" or "homo" as a slur in my room. I wondered if I should just shut it down, or make it personal. Most of my kids understood having a sibling and a large part of my classes were looking for an example of how to deal with homophobic rage from me.
My technique was simple. I would simply ask them to stop and never use those types of words of hate in my room (or "my house"). I wasn't angry; I was sympathetic and would make the situation with the words about me--not them and whatever personal drama was unfolding. I would explain that those words were a personal affront to me because my sister was gay and I really love my sister (she was super cool) and that anything said against gay people was a slight against her and my family. Nothing personal, but in this room, my sister and my love for her and my family trump all. I can remember saying to a kid in a very soft super-serious voice:
"Please don't disrespect my family in front of me."
I miss those moments.
Today at physical therapy, I had a chance to live one again.
Somehow the topic of the movie The Graduate came up. The men next to me were talking about what a great film it was. They knew Dustin Hoffman, but couldn't remember the woman.
I pipped up and said, "Anne Bancroft--my sister was totally in love with that woman her whole life."
The whole place went silent and there were only four of us. True, my therapist is devout and the two dudes had just wrapped up their in-depth discussion of Nebraska football. I may have misread the situation. And honestly, no one asked me. I get that. They were probably more shocked I was participating in the conversation.
But still, it felt so good to say her name and bring back the old "my sister is gay and just so freakin' cool" spine that lives deep inside me.
Dorian, I always got your back and I miss you so much.
P.S. If you are a friend of mine and know that I'm now writing smut, I got a new publication starting today :-) and I'm trying out Vella for the first time. Just so exciting!
I was a late reader. Like, didn't read a book until the fourth grade.
Dyslexia is a bitch.
The first book I ever read was On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was so proud that I announced it to my teacher (Ms. Winters) who informed me it was wonderful to ever read a first book, and followed that up with "this is math time, did you finish that too?" Hahahahaha, yeah, I had finished my math homework first.
From there, it was a winding journey through A Wrinkle in Time and every Trixie Beldon (poor kid's Nancy Drew) ever written to arrive here at a cliche.
I'm a 50-year-old English teacher who has self-published her own work on Amazon and gotten paid by strangers for my writing. I've made less than two dollars (my goal for the month was 1 dollar--so YAY), but it has really stoked my belief in the fact that I can write and I can write things that other people will be willing to pay for because it's what people want.
Now, that's a heck of a feeling.
It's a heck of a feeling in a sea of feelings. I'm back here in Moselle helping out on the farm. We have gotten a new horse and two new dogs. As a family, we realize we are filling Dorian's void with animals and are fine with that. The therapists all agree we are on the right track, so that's our compass.
But now that I've published and sold, what's next?
Ginseng planting and a business model for my writing.
P..S. If you would like to know what I wrote, please feel free to email or comment here and I'll get back to you. I don't want to cross those streams between professional name and pen name just yet :-).
This morning I got more bad medical news on top of the bad medical news I got earlier this week about my knee and my pelvic floor surgeries. Now, my left hand's carpal tunnel is bad to the point I'm having trouble gripping things. Unfortunately, I can't find anyone to fill the prescription for the brace that is supposed to stop the pain. It took a week to get the conductivity test scheduled and when they called me back, they can't see me until November.
And where do I put all this down? How do I carry all this? I can't work and now I will be incapacitated physically for a while. Don't get me wrong. Hopefully, this will be the end of the surgeries for a while, but damn. I miss my old house. I miss my old family. I miss my sister so much.
This morning, I described Dorian's death as someone taking a trackhoe and digging up a room in my house--foundation and all. I keep going to the room, expecting something to be there, but there is nothing but memories of how the room used to look and feel when I walked into it. I have the things from the room--her things. But not her. I went to that room during my darkest times previously. The room with my sister--where I was safe with ANY secret and I was loved and accepted no matter what. It was a room I had planned to retire to and take care of for the rest of my life. Dorian always struggled. I always figured the end of my life would be spent taking care of her and the land.
Now it's just the land and saying goodbye to my parent's earthly coil. It's like there is nothing to live forward for in my family. My family. My four person unit that stood against the world for 48 yers is down to three--and two of those three are nearing their end. I want that end to be good for them. I really do.
I just don't know where I fit into all of it. And I don't know how to rebuild my house--or if I should rebuild--maybe I should remodel--with a new floor plan.
I'm a technology curriculum facilitator, and I'm excited about integrating technology in the classroom.