right place

red-typewriter

Do you have a favourite writing place? So many writers say they love writing in busy places. I have read that J.K. Rowling and John Green both wrote in cafes. I don’t think that would work for me. I suppose being an introvert to start with, I seek quiet spaces.

I have imagined two scenarios of writers writing – one that would not suit me, and one that certainly does. I am writing this in that very spot!

Venue not suited to me:

She sat in the shopping mall café, surrounded by the pell-mell of human existence. The notebook was open before her, but her attention was focused on the coffee cup beside it, more that the blank pages. Every time someone walked into the café she looked at them, perhaps searching for inspiration, but finding none she would return to the coffee cup. Lifting it to her lips for the umpteenth time she discovered it was now empty. Lifting the hand with the unused pen in it, she signalled to the waitress for a refill. Obviously, this was not to be her writing place today.

Venue suited to me:

The bed was wide and she was the sole occupant. The day stretched before her and she has nowhere to be but there. One, two, three large pillows were lifted from the floor beside the bed and placed, just so, behind her back and head. Then the laptop and tray were placed, also just so, upon her lap as she lay back against her pillow bed throne. She knew she would get lots of work done today.

facts and some fiction

red-typewriter

I have registered for a short online writing course through the Open University as part of my being creative year, my Red Shoe Project. I hope also that it will assist me in teaching my students creative writing.

The first task was to write a paragraph with three fiction elements and one fact.  Then, the task was to write a paragraph with three facts and one fictional element.

FICTION Paragraph.

I find peace in the rain. It drowns out the voices, and the memories of what went before. It is only when the rain falls that I also know that they won’t be searching the streets, sniffing the dark spaces where I might possibly seek protection. Chasing me. The rain is the one thing that halts their progression. I pray for rain, every day. Today, I rise to blue skies and sunshine. The pursuit resumes.

 

FACT Paragraph.

I lost my eye on Friday the thirteenth. By lost, I don’t mean that I forgetfully left it on the bus, or sitting on the bathroom shelf. I mean that it my eye was surgically removed on Friday the thirteenth. The next day, propped up in my hospital bed, a mile of bandages covering the right side of my head, a religious minister appeared at the door of my shared room to visit the old woman, slowly dying in the next bed. The sight of a young girl, for I was only eighteen, head swathed in bandages, must have prompted him to think he had to speak.

“Did you lose your eye on Friday the thirteenth?” he chuckled.

“Yes,” I replied.

He turned and fled the room.

“What about my dying?” asked the old woman.

The voice in my head

voices

Bottom Mallard’s name was not really Bottom; for surely no parents would be so cruel as to moniker their offspring Bottom. No, Bottom Mallard’s name was in fact, Bottomly. Bottomly Aloysius Mallard.

“I chose Aloysius,” his mother was fond of explaining, “because it means famous warrior and I knew the moment you were placed in my arms that you would one day be a great and famous warrior.”

“And Bottomly?” Bottom had asked the once. “Why did you choose the name Bottomly?”

“It was your father’s choice.” Mrs Mallard, who was often rather verbose on most subjects, remained tightlipped on the subject there after.

 

The name Bottom Mallard popped into my brain as I was driving home this afternoon, and by the time I had driven the forty five minutes home, I had the character, if not the story.

I hope that Bottomly Aloysius Mallard speaks to me a little more. I think I like him already.

 

Copyright 2016.

pollywobbles and all that

muddle headed wombat

Feeling like a muddle headed wombat tonight. A busy day finding resources to create Libguide pages for next years units. I heard laughter from various quarters of the school as teachers slow down, but as a library we are actually still very busy as we prepare for next year. It’s good though as I like to be of value and busy. I like to be able to see my little pile of completed tasks or accomplishments at the end of each day.

Muddle headed wombat or not, tomorrow is the review meeting. I am a bit over it all and refuse to stress out. I shall take no prisoners if it comes to that, but I will approach it with an open mind, a growth mindset, because I know that I have done a good job. Their problem is that they don’t always bother to notice.

Being a teacher librarian is a quiet position. We don’t produce dance concerts or a sport carnival that are great noisy events. A writing group is a not a drum banging, bell ringing pursuit, but equally of value. Actually, in my opinion, even more valuable. We help people become the people they want to be.

So, a few more meetings, a Libguide or two to finish and then school is out Friday. Bring it on – I have the champagne chilling now!

 

“You’re a hidjus old pollywobble!”
― Ruth ParkThe Muddle-Headed Wombat

Are you aware that some children have never read Harry Potter? The end of the world must be nigh!

cull 1

I culled books today. It was a bloody scene.

Culling library books is a very emotive action, as most observers are horrified with the thought of books going to that great library in the sky. We wend ours to a book farm…

I have used data to make the decision on what to cull. If it hasn’t been borrowed in five years, it is gone.

No one wants to buy a sad, yellowed book, so it is better to clear the shelf space, and thankfully until now we have had a reasonable budget, and place fresh, attractive books that have some chance of being read on the shelf.

Occasionally, we throw out a well loved but aged copy and replace with a fresh cover to attract fresh readers. We did that recently with our Harry Potter titles. As unbelievable as it is we have students in year 7 and 8 who have never read Harry Potter, some have not watched the movies either. These are students born in 2003 and 2004, after all!

Books go to our art department for up cycling into artworks, others are donated to a charity that moves them to schools in New Guinea, where they only have a very limited shelf life due to the humidity and lack of air conditioning. If they can’t use the books in their libraries they are turned into bricks for building. Very few go from the shelf to the bin.

So we chose today to start the cull, as it was a pupil free day, and many teachers were away at panel meetings. Once Minerva had deleted the titles from the system she took them straight out the back to the compacts room where we keep the textbooks, hidden from sight, to await despatch to their various destinations.

I culled all day, except for an hour when I went to some professional development in blocking kids access to youtube and iTunes when I want them to focus – I am so looking forward to tomorrow. The power of blocking media, a teacher’s joy!

The down side is I culled all day and I am only up to COL in Fiction!

This is not a joke, it really happens! There's this book I saw on my Grandmother's shelf 37 years ago and it was blue - do you have it?

This is not a joke, it really happens! There’s this book I saw on my Grandmother’s shelf 37 years ago and it was blue – do you have it?

The reading table

reader 1

Books I have brought home to read – the Librarian’s version of taking your work home with you!

Rock, Paper, Scissors : Game Theory in Everyday Life by Len Fisher

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Creative Schools by Sir Ken Robinson

Breakthrough by Jack Andraka

Readicide : How schools are killing reading and what you can do about it by Kelly Gallagher

and

Audiobooks I purchased to listen to on my journey to and from school

The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaimann

Where’s You Go, Bernadetter by Maria Semple 

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord 

Let Your Librarian Be Your Guide

…or, maybe not.