Thursday, April 12, 2007

The writings

Speaking of school and Vonnegut and victories and defeats, I've let myself indulge in some personal writing lately -- mostly during spring break since I was bored beyond the ability to be productive otherwise. My two books ("the memoir" and "the young adult novel") remain in motion. The memoir is still a mess. In fact, I can't see it as ever being finished. And, as a joke on myself, it's working title is now Sepuku for Dummies. Still, it functions well as a distraction if not a future source of fame and fortune. The YA book, meanwhile, has been massively rewritten and is no longer recognizable as ever having had anything in common with the 30,000 word test-run friends were kind enough to comment on over a year ago. I'm pleased with the book's evolution, and theoretically, if I had some discipline, I could finish a complete draft by the end of the summer. Not that I'm setting that as a deadline for myself. My point is that I can really see the book now -- it's twists and turns and crooks and nannies and, most importantly, I can almost (almost!) see it's end. It would be something to finish it. Even if it sucks, it would feel good to know it was done.

You know what I just realized? As a nod to Geoff Dyer (as well as a joke on myself), the working title of my memoir should be Sepuku for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It. That's awesome. Victory!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Everything was beautiful. Nothing hurt."

Kurt Vonnegut is up in Heaven now.

Victories and defeats

Today I received an A on a paper that I was terrified (literally was having nightmares) that I'd get a C on. I'm psyched because I consider it the first major grade of my graduate education. On the flip side is that, for that same class, I've basically stopped reading the assigned novels. And I think most of the class has, too. A novel a week (on top of all my other work, which includes other novels for other classes) is just too much -- at least in terms of the densely formatted 500-pagers the prof chose for the semester. The real shame is that the books are excellent and I'd really enjoy reading and speaking about them with a class.

Back to the upside, I have done a shitload of reading this semester in spite of slacking off for that one class. Textbooks, novels, graphic novels, class readers... It would be interesting to count just how many pages in total. Maybe I'll do that at the end of the semester.

Defeat: This blog entry is taking the place of sleep. By which I mean I can't sleep right now, even though I got up early (after little sleep) so I could observe classes at BOCES. I was really looking forward to hitting the sack early. But for some reason I'm wired. However, that leads me back to victory [the structure of this entry is way out the window]. I got to help some kids with math (of all subjects) today, and I realized I really like working with the "difficult" kids. (For those who don't know, BOCES is basically a place for nothing but "difficult" kids.) I'd gotten a sense of this while I was at Huntington Learning Center, but somehow being at BOCES really brought it into focus for me. So I am now seriously considering get dual certified for special ed. And one of my profs is working on navigating the TESOL minefield to see if she can find a shortcut for me to get certified in that, too. So that would be triple certification. Yikes! Unfortunately [this part falls under the category of defeat], I don't know if special ed kids respond to the kind of teaching methodology that I've been learning about in my classes. What I need to find out is, do "special" students require "special" methods, and, if so, how do those methods differ from the kind of teaching I want to do?

The BOCES kids are nuts (literally and figuratively), and there are times (more-so than in a regular classroom) when the teachers really are nothing more than babysitters. But how much of that is because of the students, and how much is because of the educational system? The nice thing [victory!] is that I should get to learn a lot about it next semester because BOCES is desperate to get me on their sub list. (I wish I could say this was because I'm such an amazing teacher, but really they're just desperate for subs, and as soon as they heard I had an interest in special ed they practically started offering me a signing bonus.) So, if that works out [defeat?], it would be pretty cool [victory!].

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Monotheism is lame

Just got done with family Easter dinner. We basically ignored Passover this year, but most of the family has been here most of the week, which has been a lot of fun. I don't get to see my siblings as often as I'd like. And, basically, I blame God for that. It's because he insists on us having no other gods before him that we don't get to have family dinners more often. What a selfish asshole. He should get over himself and start a little God family (and, no, that Holy Trinity nonsense does not count) and then we could have all sorts of holidays. Mr. and Mrs. God's anniversary, God Junior's bar-mitzvah... It'd be awesome. And I'd get to hang out with my fam more often.