28 February 2017

A Question of Perception

How is it that so often the closer something is, the farther away it can be?

I suppose the horizon hides what lies beyond, and we may keep gazing away. But then, reaching ever onward, when we finally catch a glimpse of what awaits ahead, we get a true sense of every step we must yet take.

So close. Yet so far. And in so many ways...

I have been working toward a degree. Now with only a few weeks to go until I present my portfolio, I feel as far away from finishing it as when I first began.

Perhaps more pertinently, I have been waiting for the total solar eclipse to occur above my house since I first found out in the early nineties about its impending approach. Now, less than half a year to go--fewer than six months!--the day feels as distant as ever. The plans. The preparations. The prayers for clear skies.

Anyhow, I came across an article <pasted below> about how the eclipse is expected to dominate--astronomically dominate--social media. As well it should.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/02/23/in-6-months-the-moon-will-block-out-the-sun-and-social-media-will-explode/?utm_term=.62e2d50ad52b

However, though it still remains far away, I can promise not to be partaking in the media blitz--despite my fortuitous vantage point, and even perhaps because of it. I shall simply be standing in my very own yard and staring into the heavens that day. No cameras. No recording. Only gazing away at the wonder above...fully present, and finally realizing the moment I had been so long awaiting.


19 January 2017

For the present moment

Here's a stave from a piece I'm currently writing. 
Perhaps appropriate.


Standing here at the very edge,
No ignorance be confessed.
Now no one's allowed to wonder
With one last step, what happens next? 

 

22 December 2016

Dreams Awakening


Yesterday seemed like an awakening...

I have a goofy tradition of having whoopie pies with the family whenever I publish something, whether story, poem, or essay.

We had whoopie pies yesterday but not because I published anything. It was in celebration for finally finishing a poem I had been working on for a while--sixteen years, to be exact..

It's a novel-length poem involving Dream. I began the piece back in 2000, planning to work on it every couple of months. I soon fell into the habit of working on it every Sunday. So once a week, no matter what else I had going on, I wrote on the poem. It became my touchstone work, the paragon that prepared me for all my other writing throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Originally, I figured the poem would take about a decade to finish. It ended up taking just a few years longer than that.

Still, finishing felt like an awakening...

However, I should clarify: I finished the first draft yesterday. I expect it shall take me two or three years more, working every Sunday, to edit it and compose the final draft. Perhaps it might even take longer. 

Another awakening awaits...

Nevertheless, when I do ultimately finish, I plan on sharing with my family another delicious batch of whoopie pies!


 
Image from www.foodista.com

 (These are not the whoopie pies I made. Mine were devoured before I could snap a good picture!)








30 November 2016

Within the Classroom Walls

I developed a Literacy Project for my degree in Library Science, and I've had the opportunity to begin implementing it in a local middle school class. It involves an author study of Ray Bradbury, a close reading of "The Veldt," performances of the play version of the story, and the creation of book trailers based on a chosen piece of Bradbury's work.

So far, the pupils have reacted fantastically to the unit. All but one did not recognize Ray Bradbury's name before we began. Now, many are clamouring to get their hands on his writing. Dark Carnival, and Fahrenheit 451 seem to be among the most popularly sought. Most students, it seems, love "The Veldt." It's proven quite the engaging tool for enhancing literary interest among the class.  

As we focus on the theme of technology's impact on human relationships and mindsets and behavior, it has been an educational delight to witness students engage with the writing of a true master, and even rather startling to behold them filling the room, like a technological veldtland itself, with their ideas and perspectives.

This is why I got into education.


Anyhow,  developing the unit, I came across a terrific rendition of Leonard Nimoy narrating "The Veldt."
Enjoy it at this link: https://archive.org/details/01TheVeldt

(Made available by the Internet Archive)



                                                                                    (image from morguefile.com)

30 October 2016

A Tale for the End of October


In honour of October's end, here are a few links to a story perfect for sharing near All Hallows' Eve:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.




Print Versions
From Project Gutenberg -
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving --
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/41 
(Includes various electronic versions)

The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving --
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2048 
(Includes other stories from the original publication) 

From Ibiblio.com
http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Irving/Sleepy/Irving_Sleepy.pdf

Audio versions
From Librivox -
https://librivox.org/the-legend-of-sleepy-hollow-by-washington-irving/

From Audible.com
http://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=B00N0ETQO4&source_code=GO1GB907ESH060513&mkwid=sDWF1MZhL_dc&pcrid=152668752708&pmt=e&pkw=legend%20of%20sleepy%20hollow%20audio&cvosrc=ppc.google.legend%20of%20sleepy%20hollow%20audio&cvo_campaign=GS_CTA%7CAudio+-+Exact&cvo_crid=152668752708&Matchtype=e&cvo_placement=&gclid=CPjV8ri_g9ACFQqPfgodyjECug

From Youtube -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQtoiB-Xn9I


Kids' Versions

From Youtube -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qrfTSnfGHE
(Illustrated)  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h919stdxffs
(Narrated by Glenn Close)


Here also is a link that lists various versions available, including that perennial favourite,
the Walt Disney animated picture, released as part of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad --
https://archive.org/search.php?query=legend%20of%20sleepy%20hollow


Enjoy.
But still...Mind Your Heads!

29 September 2016

Free Downloads of Three Line Poetry

Prolific Press has made the entire catalogue of Three Line Poetry available for free download in pdf format via this link: free issues.

Engaging, expressive, profound: the verses to be found in Three Line Poetry cover a range of ideas, perspectives, and emotions. Highly recommended for enjoyable, quick-hitting reading.

Check out issue #35 for one of my poems. Issue 35

Enjoy!

21 August 2016

One Year To Go!

Only one year to go until the total solar eclipse on the 21st of August, 2017. 

And I will be watching from my own front step here in Casper, Wyoming. 

In fact, my house is just a few hundred yards from the exact centerline. Baily's Beads--a phenomenon created by sunlight casting through the "mountains" of the Moon around its ringed edge, with the last bead leading to the "diamond ring" effect--should be plainly visible. Plus, totality should start at around 11:42 a.m. and last for nearly two and a half minutes. 

I have anticipating this spectacular occurrence for over twenty years, ever since I first learned back in the nineties that Casper would lie in the path of a total eclipse in 2017.

So, once more, I would like to invite folks to my home. For viewing, I have a spacious yard and even a low-pitched roof. We'll have enough eclipse glasses for the whole neighbourhood. We also plan to have food and drinks and games for the kids! (How about "Pin the Moon on the Sun"? Each player wears a blindfold and tries to pin a black disk on a white disc. Closest one to "totality" wins a prize.)

Casper's hotels are already booked to capacity. Anyone from out of town is welcome to stay at my place. It's not much to offer, but folks could pitch tents in my yard. Any way I can help friends come to watch.

The only aspect I dread is the weather. Wyoming's late-August skies have a better-than-fair chance of shining bright and clear. But whatever the clouds, I plan to stand right here in my yard and keep gazing up.

No matter what, it promises to be spectacular. 


Below are some excellent resources for more information on next year's eclipse.


Eclipse2017.org

http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/path_through_the_US.htm

http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/states/WY.htm

http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/communities/states/WY/Casper_1854.htm

Interactive Map: http://www.eclipse2017.org/xavier_redirect.htm

Further Links: http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/links.htm

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Great American Eclipse - 2017

http://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/eclipse-2017/

http://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/wyoming/


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Space.com
http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/path_through_the_US.htm

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NASA
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html