writing

All posts tagged writing

That is the window into my personality.

Published June 27, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I took my own clipboard to DPS (DMV in most other places, Texas has to be all fancy and have it’s own initials for things like STAAR, TEKS and other horrible things.) I planned ahead to get my driver’s license renewed. It expires on June 28th and in addition to it being my 49th birthday, I have summer school to wrap up and my classroom to close out and I don’t need the added Tsuris of going to DPS on my birthday.

I will be heading out to Myrtle Beach on Sunday to go see BatBeard, and I don’t want any complications should I be questioned for committing the crime of Traveling While Mexican.  (More about that later, of course.) So I decided to be proactive and go early so maybe, just maybe I would get my license before I leave.

Since summer school lets out at noon, I thought I would breeze by after school and simply get things taken care of.  (Hold for sardonic laughter)

There were so many cars in the parking lot I couldn’t even pull in.

So I went home to nap and plan for going the next day.

The Mom suggested that I fill out the paperwork online and print it out so that my trip would be manageable. (Translation: NO SCREAMING AT THE DPS!)  This sounds easy enough, except for some reason, my Google Chrome is not allowing any of my saved tabs to go through and is iffy about letting me access the internet, so now I’m using Safari, which seems to be working but I’m doing some juggling trying to remember passwords. Now comes the problem of the printer.  I have two printers. Both show full bars on ink.  The one I have been using for over a year has decided it doesn’t feel like printing clearly or intensely (maybe it needs therapy or medication). The other printer isn’t speaking to me.  I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because I let the kitten hang out in the office while she was getting used to the place, or learned to climb the gate. Guess which happened first?

Anyway. I coaxed a sample page out of the printer so I thought I would give it a shot. I dowloaded the PDF and filled it out. (FIO). Then I tried to print it. It did, but without any of the information I had just spent 20 minutes filling out. If it had been thirty, I would have actually screamed out loud (ASOL). So I filled it out again and this time took a screen shot of the page. I then printed out the screenshot. This time it worked, but it looked a bit small.

Nil Desperandum (Latin for Don’t Freak Out) (DFO). All of the important stuff was there, so I clipped it to my fancy yellow clipboard (FYC) and put it under Aerial, the Rabbit who watches important stuff (RWWIS).

The next day, I got to the DPS three minutes before it opened. Still no place to park and the line to get in was all the way around the building. I was able to get in with the first group in time to hear the first round of barked instructions, one of which was to turn in your clipboard when finished filling out the paperwork. Thanks to the Mom and my own ability to advance panic (I think the tense apple doesn’t fall far from the anxious tree.) (TAAT) I was able to smile primly over my preprinted paperwork and say, “I brought my own clipboard”.

IBMOC

 

 

Interrupting Flo?

Published April 5, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Ah, the routine! Many may decry the hum and the drum of a regular schedule, but to those of us who dodge the slings and arrows of the classroom, and for some of us, it’s potentially dodging actual bullets, but that’s a tirade for another time.

Anyway, the daily routine of  normal school day is what keeps most of us sane. Unfortunately there are many factors that can disrupt the average. Like the season. It is early April and some of us came back from Spring break and rolled right into an Easter Break. Now we are break free and trying to cram in benchmarks and evaluations and recommendations and weekly assessments in to the last six weeks of school. All of this while occasions such as this morning’s Easter Parade do inform against us.

My school has an Easter Parade featuring our early elementary students in their spring gear pushing/pulling carts and dressed as sunflowers, bumble-bees, etc as they walk down the street and up the driveway.  (It’s terribly cute, especially one little girl in a flower costume, holding up a window box of other flowers, and the Grand Master of the parade,  a round little boy dressed as bee, proudly brandishing his baton. My favorite was a child who refused to do anything but walk grimly with his arms down.  He didn’t see the point of an Easter Parade after Easter.  When I asked him why he didn’t want to wave, he raised one eyebrow at me and said, “Really?” )

This fifteen minute parade disrupted everyone’s entire routine.  The entire school has been in  chaos all day. So now I am the shrew because I refuse to let my kids eat their candy (Our Pre-K buddies sent us some for helping them.) because they won’t stop talking, pushing, shoving and accusing someone of having Cheez-it Farts.   True, i would have some of these problems without an Easter Parade, but part of the problem is that being outside in the blustery wind made everyone’s allergies  act up so I have mountains of Kleenex all over the place and everyone is giving me Disney Eyes because I won’t let them have candy.

My theatrical training has taught me that conflict creates the story; that no story was ever written about the day things went ok, so I should be grateful for the material.

My theatrical training has also taught me that if I had gone the performance route, and was lucky enough to be cast in a recurring role in a commercial, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about money, like every other teacher.

And we’re back.

Priceless? Maybe,

Published September 19, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

aI was trying to get the bits and pieces of my brain together to write an essay for Real Simple magazine’s current writing contest, themed “Your happiest moment”.  It had a 1500 word limit and a $3,000 prize. No sweat. I even knew what moment I wanted to write about.

I started a rough draft in an actual notebook. This is how I started most of my better work. I really wanted this to be one of my better works, because after a long long time of trying to figure out what happiness was and how to maintain it and years of therapy and driving miles back and forth to various parts of the Southwest and millions and millions of gallons of coffee and God only knows how many trips to the thrift store/bookstore/doughnut shop, and being called crazy by someone whose job is to give advice at actual commitment hearings (That really happened! It put a joyful feather right there in my crazy aluminum hat.)

I had it altogether. It was very important because my very careful budgeting has revealed that I am short about $400 a month. And I ‘m not dead sure what that is going to come from. (Tutoring is a possibility but not for at least another few months until I get into the swing of things.) The extra cash would certainly help.

Guess what happened?

My best laid plans were nudged, pushed and kicked out of the way by three of my students needing to retest (I blame the pencils) after school and discovering that I needed to fit in two extra lessons into my packed day to get everyone caught up and I somehow dropped a weird glitch into the grade book causing a zero that wasn’t really a zero to pop up in Progress Reports and crush the spirits of a cadre of 9 year olds. So I had to fix all of that. And then I had to go home and re-heat my noodles and chicken for dinner as I made my lunch, fed my cats and pull some things together to wear to school, because, did I mention I have Morning Duty this week? Which means I have to to get to school at 7:15, entitling me to leave at 3:45 unless, of course, you have kids to test or have a meeting.

So here I am 18 hours too late to win the big prize. But it is important to me so here it is:

I am living a blessed life. I have I roof over my head and I kind of know where my meal is coming from. I even know where the cats’ next meal is coming from.  I know that Happiness doesn’t come from other people. It doesn’t come from a place, and it certainly doesn’t care if you’re wearing make-up or if you remembered to shave your legs today.  Happiness pops in and out when you least expect it. I have so many happy moments in my life to chose from, how could I possibly narrow it down to one?

When I finally found the one, I realized that it was many years in the making.

I have always enjoyed singing. When I was a child, I thought singing was simple, just open your mouth and go.  When I was in the third grade, one of my fellow students said I wasn’t singing right. Well, what was that all about? I was smart and in the best reader group, how could I possibly be doing something wrong?

I remember very clearly, my third grade teacher, the beloved Mrs. Craven (she lived next door to the Von Erich family, they of the wrestling dynasty) standing next to me, listening for a moment and then declaring that I was off-key. I had no idea what this meant and being a small bear, I didn’t know how to fix it, so I kept getting worse. Mrs. Craven advised me to just move my lips during that song.

I do not recall what event required third graders to belt forth a musically superior rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, but I do recall I did not sing it. I didn’t move my lips either.

Many years later when I was in high school, the Band Director decided that we had the talent to put together our own jazz vocal group. (I have no idea why a school that had a Clown Ministry, really, we did, did not have a choir director) One of my fellow vocalists was listening to me sing and not understand what the director was asking me to do.  She said, “Listen for the note and hit it when you hear it and and you feel it.”  She convinced me that if I could feel the note, I could sing it.

Fast forward to That Time My Head Blew Up. I had many, many challenges, including regaining the ability to to talk clearly and with inflection. I never even gave a thought to being able to sing again. I just wanted to be able to do something by myself that remotely resembled normal. At this point I couldn’t even fasten my own bra and didn’t have permission to shower without someone within shouting distance.

I was not concerned with singing.

One day I was in my hospital room listening to the soundtrack to “Oh Brother, where art thou?”  and just enjoying the blue grass and the song “Down to the river” by Alison Kraus came in. I listened for a bit and right when the bridge swelled, I felt the note and I could sing it.

That was my happiest moment.

I think that’s what you call priceless.

 

Finally! Circumstance is here!

Published April 10, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

After many, many moons the novel (well Novella) is here . Circumstance the novel! is now available on Amazon. If you have Kindle select you can read it free of charge.

This has been a long journey.  It began with a small notebook and large salad at Fuzzy’s. As I ate my salad I observed a couple who was clearly at having an awkward second date or possibly morning after the first date experience.

The girl kept leaving to go to the restroom. She was either in the yakking stage of a hangover or trying to call someone to rescue her. I kept watching them and a story about how she was leaving because she had an eating disorder and the guy didn’t want to break up with her because she was emotionally fragile, but he was kind of seeing someone on the side, spun out.

The side girl, who he thought was a random rocker chick from the club next door, was actually a homeless runaway. The homeless runaway turned into a character, Vanessa Riley.

The story then became hers. She had the life of an entitled teenager from a wealthy family in Baltimore. She was in love with her best friend’s brother, Charlie.  This from this came the story of Charlie’s whole family. Eventually the story turned into a crime novel, with Vanessa’s murder making her the last victim of a serial killer.

After many, many drafts with many tangential side stories, including Vanessa’s mother drowning her sorrows in too many martinis and falling into the welcoming arms of Charlie’s 19 year old best friend, it became clear to me that the real story was between Charlie and the killer, Robert Stephen Nichols.

Nichols has his own series of tangents and back stories.   He was a pure sociopath who freely admitted his guilt when the game was clearly finished.

The novella has been finished and edited for quite some time; I was just waiting to hear the results of a writing contest before I published.

Please check it out and if you love it, review it. In fact if you loathe it, review it!

It’s not working

Published January 22, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I did not get called in for a specific job today; my plan was to write and start the tidying journey of the room I lovingly refer to as Mt. Crapmore and here it is nigh on to noon, CST, and I have gotten as far as reading my email.

My Amanda Friend says that I should listen to my conscience and subconscious, both of whom are on in blanket fort on the couch, and rest and nap.   It’s tempting.

A bazillion years ago my brother answered a Myspace posting asking what he thought my job would be if I wasn’t involved in theatre. He said, “True Crime Novelist.” (I know, how can it be both True and Novel? Truman Capote and Erik Larson are masters of the genre. My copy of In Cold Blood is  staring at me right now.  It would definitely be a good day to catch up on my reading.)

I think that is definitely a good job for me. I am interested in research and True Crime and after listening to what is meant to be spooky, crime drama podcast that somehow made cult murders sound droning and boring, I know that the genre need a specific voice.  I’m just not doing very well at the writing without a real deadline thing.

I think I may  have a severe case of the crummies. I don’t feel 100%.  Maybe if I had something that would drag the muse out if its cage and get it going, I would be able to jump right into it. How do I find a worthy story?

Well, check the crime articles on Huffington Post (because I have no other source of information)

  1. The actor who voices Squidward on  Spongebob Squarepants has been arrested for DUI. Interesting, but I don’t want to read a whole story, much less write one, about it.
  2. Coco Austin shares a bikini picture. How is that a crime?

With stories like this to chose from, I went to cold case button. The one that grabbed my attention for the longest amount of time is the case of four bodied found encased in steel drums and burked in New Hampshire.  The deaths occurred over 30 years ago and have been ruled homicides. (because no one dies of natural causes and is ceremoniously sealed in a barrel)  The bodies are of an adult woman and three female children between the ages of 1-11. The adult and two of the children  are linked by mitochondrial DNA, so they are related, but the nature of the relationship, as is the identity of the third child is unknown.

Advances of forensic science may lead to finding the identities of these people.  (You will note I do not explain the process. My math skills make my science look great.)  Article Details here.

In my opinion, the story is in the third child; who she is and how she wound up with the people that caused her to be killed.   There are stories in the whole event, the circumstance and the identities. I think the mystery is in the most obvious unknown. (I’m not dead sure what I meant by that.)

 

With apologies to Alfred, Lord

Published January 3, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

In honor of this, blog six hundred, I offer a take on a classic.  I mean no disrespect to the Light Brigade.

I

Half a page, half a page, half a page onward

All in the valley of mirth towards the six hundred.

“Forward, the spritely ones

Time weasels all for funs.

Into the valley of mirth

Towards the six hundred.

II

Forward, the words you made

Was there ever a brain dismayed

As all who had wondered.

  What neurologist blundered

  None wants to reply

   None to reason why,

No frenches to fry

   Into the valley of Mirth

  Toward s the six hundred

III

Cat to the right of me

Netflix to the left of me

Distractions in front of me

Dancing and flirting

So tempting and swell

Entertainment it knows me well

Into the pile of words

Deadlines they sure are hell

Towards the six hundred.

IV

Flashed all their humor there

Words turned up in the air

Trying to find meaning there

Wasting time while

   I weigh and wonder

Thinking in the thought smoke

Would I have this problem without a stroke?

Blogs, Stories, Plays

Dragged from my brain with a choke

  House cleaning goes asunder

The time I won’t get back as I go towards the six hundred.

V

Pictures to the right of me

News to the left of me. ,

Inspiration all around me

Things I want to write all brilliant and bright

Things I know so well

From the keys and check to spell.

Writer’s block can go to hell!

It comes from a place of Joyful swell

All  the things I can  tell

The stories that are still left

After the six hundred.

Kind of a big number

Published June 29, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

To whom it may concern: I have been compiling notes for the past few days for this blog.(Not the blog in general, this specific blog.) I want it to be especially significant because it is the 450th.  That is not to say that every other  one was a heap of word fluff. (All though most of them probably were.)  I have had a lot of interesting things happen around me lately that will more than likely appear in plays or short stories with thinly veiled characters based on these events. It is too soon to write about these. In fact, the veil will be so thin that I suspect publishing it after my death will be too soon.

So what do I want to say? That question led me to the bigger query: What do I want?  (Right now I want a big icy coffee and some animal crackers and maybe something to help me with this ADD thing that has crept up on me with my rapidly advancing age.)

The want thing is hard to pin down. There are several things that I can think of like a full-time job, so I can keep my leaky roof over my head and have some level of solvency.  But what do I really want? (I will punch anyone in the face if they start singing that Spice Girls song. A  cold glass of punch would be good now too . . . maybe I should get something to drink.)

Fairly high on the list of the things that I want is the ability to make things fair.

Now I know that there is no way that I can even up all of the odds for everyone, but I would love to be able to at least provide the resources to balance things out.

As I wend my way through the course work that is part and parcel of the Alternative Certification process, my mind floods with ideas for my own class room (and perhaps how to tone down the rhetoric a bit because really , what was that? )

According to a recent module (that’s what each individual section of the course work is called. I guess it’s the cubicle of the education world. I like to think it is a space ship full of ideas that I can maybe blast into space when I grow weary of it.), education is the key to a better life and more earning potential (Now I’m not the best person to make that argument from a dollars and cents perspective. With those diplomas and credentials I do have earning potential. I just don’t have earning actual. At least I know what I’m missing. Approximately 9 centimeters of brain. For real.  I have pictures.)

I guess what I want is opportunity. The opportunity to even the odds, to make a bit of difference to someone or a lot of someones and give them  a foot hold into more and/or better education.

So how do I do that?  Well I can start by teaching. I am taking baby steps in that direction. I can only go as fast as my brain and time will let me. I have already applied for four different teaching positions. I know that new postings will come up in the middle of July, and most teaching positions don’t start until August. I have six more modules to complete and then I have to take the appropriate tests.

Once I have done all of that, all I can do is wait. And because Writer Chick hates that, I spend my time mulling over what  specifically I can accomplish.

I know there is only so much one person can do, particularly when all occasions do inform against me. (Hamlet might as well have been talking about public education for all of the sound and fury signifying nothing. I know, that last one was from the Scottish Play.)

That certainly was a long way to go to say something without actually saying anything.

I promise I will make an attempt to make sense. I make no guarantees, but I will make the attempt. I will be back soon with the fact based five year plan.

A big thank you to Actor Boy, Amanda Friend, Sara Killer, and all of the others who have supported me in the creation of this and other long-winded blurbs from my very tired keyboard. (Seriously, the X , N, J, and P have decided they want to work on flex schedule. This will get interesting.)