Not the end, but the beginning

My semester officially ended yesterday–just in time for the summer session to start tomorrow 😅😬. I signed up to teach a summer creative writing workshop because it sounds “fun,” and now that I have exactly one day to prep for it, I’m reconsidering my life choices 😂😂😂.

look at your life

The good news is that it will be fun! The better news is that the creative writing coordinator has basically prepped the whole class for me. I just have to plug in some readings and, you know, do the actual work of teaching the class. There are worse ways to spend a summer for sure.

But I am also going to a conference this weekend, so this summer is off to a very busy start. It all kind of crept up on me, too. Oh well.

Anyway, so now I’m sitting on the couch writing this blog post instead of typing up my syllabus, which I need to do immediately. So! Quick reading/links round up and then! On to updating my syllabus!

I posted a couple of things this past week:

My reading mojo has been nonexistent so I am depending on middle grade graphic novels to get me out of my reading slump. It has worked in so far that I am…reading a bunch of middle grade graphic novels. Hopefully, this will translate to straight prose books soon since I have a book club meeting coming up.

On the plus side, I have finished two books:

Brave (Awkward, #2)Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not saying this is a good book BECAUSE one of the characters is named Akilah and she’s a reporter for the school paper and that she’s featured on the cover. I’m just saying it doesn’t hurt anything else going on in the book that she’s super intelligent and amazing.

I liked this. It’s a nice story about an odd kid who gets bullied and has to face up to the fact that he’s being bullied (denial is real). Good look at friendship and standing up for yourself and others. I know what Chamakova was going for with the ending, but I’m not so sure I agree with it. Still, a good moment for discussion with the young people who read the book for sure.

Also, Akilah is the best, but you knew that already.

View all my reviews

Sunny Side UpSunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love books about kids hanging out with senior citizens, and Sunny spends the summer with her grandpa at his retirement home. This is cute on the surface but actually about dealing with a loved one’s drug addiction and the impact it can have on a child who doesn’t quite know what’s going on but knows that things are very much Not Good. This is very slice of life/vignette-y, but everything comes together in a pretty satisfying ending/acknowledgement of what’s happening with Sunny’s family.

View all my reviews

Coming up on the blog: More music posts! Plus a reflection on my semester! And I’m one of the co-hosts of a summer reading challenge! Ahhhhhhhh!


Soul Sick #FamiliesBelongTogether

Once, when my daughter was four, I participated in a six-week program at my undergraduate institution. It involved staying on campus overnight because not only did we participate in special classes but also field trips. I called my daughter every single day and visited her on the weekends. She was also staying with her paternal grandparents who she loved and trusted.

One day, after the program was over, I was dropping her off at daycare, and she asked me where I was going. When I said “School,” she burst into tears and begged me not to leave her.

I couldn’t understand why she was so upset. I mean, I took her to daycare every day. I went to school twice a week. But then I remembered that the last time I went to school was during that program. So for my daughter, school no longer meant something I did for a couple of hours before picking her up at the end of the day–school now meant I was leaving her and she didn’t know how long I would be gone or when I would be back.

As I think about the children being separated from their families at the US border, I feel sick. I am talking seriously, physically ill. When I contacted my reps, the whole time I felt like I was going to vomit. And since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my daughter who was traumatized by my leaving her when she knew exactly where I was, knew when I would be back, was with people who she knew and loved, talked to me every day, and was safe and well taken care of.

The children at the border HAVE NONE OF THAT. And it makes my soul sick. Every day. So. I have contacted my reps. I gave to this fundraiser. I’m going to write postcards. Here’s a link to other ways we can all help. Also, there will be protests.

Days 17 & 18 #BlackMusicMonth #30DayMusicChallenge

I was going to say I missed posting yesterday because I fell asleep. While that’s half-true, it’s (obviously) not the whole truth. I fell asleep, yes, but I also spent all day overthinking my answer to the Day 17 prompt: The song you’d choose if your life depended on singing every lyric/adlib.

The obvious answer is “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey, but I didn’t want to use that because it was also my answer for Day 3 (a song that makes you feel like you can sing). But, like I said on Twitter, just like Mariah does in the video, I sing allllll the parts. So. There you go.

Continue reading “Days 17 & 18 #BlackMusicMonth #30DayMusicChallenge”

Leadership Potential: A reflection on my spring 2018 semester

I’ve submitted grades for both of my ENGL 400 courses, so I figured today was as good a day as any to do some reflection and talk about these classes.

In my 7:30 a.m. class, one of my students reminded me of Michael Peña’s character in Ant-Man.

Continue reading “Leadership Potential: A reflection on my spring 2018 semester”

Day 16: The song guaranteed to make you dance #BlackMusicMonth #30DayMusicChallenge

I thought I knew the answer to this when the prompt was first posted, but then. Then, one particular song came on more than once in the past week, and I promptly started dancing–even though I was at work functions. I mean, I did the Mindy chair dance, but still.

dancing mindy

Did I mention I was at work functions? Both times?

Continue reading “Day 16: The song guaranteed to make you dance #BlackMusicMonth #30DayMusicChallenge”

Day 15: Your idea of a perfect song #BlackMusicMonth #30DayMusicChallenge

I have been participating in Naima’s Black Music Month 30 Day Music Challenge over on Twitter, and it just occurred to me this morning that I should have been posting my answers on my blog the whole time. First of all, I have posted more than one song for almost every single prompt. I mean, I basically have a playlist for each one. Secondly, the 280-character limit on Twitter has been killing me. Surprising no one, I usually have quite a bit to say about my choices, and yet I have not been doing that because TWITTER. What have I been thinking??? The end of the semester makes me stupid, I guess.

Anyway, I have decided that FROM NOW ON, I will post all of my answers here, and–if I have time–I’ll do backdated posts with my previous answers (which you can see here). It’s really the only way.

So let’s jump right in, shall we?

Black Music Month 30 Day Challenge 2018
hosted by @naima of Music Sermon fame

Continue reading “Day 15: Your idea of a perfect song #BlackMusicMonth #30DayMusicChallenge”

Straight up reading summary this week: #IMWAYR

The semester is almost over, and I am behind. I gave myself all of today off (even though I originally planned to grade) because yesterday was so busy (book club! division party!), and I am exhausted.

On the plus side, I did finish two books this week:

Sisterhood EverlastingSisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, this book starts with a tragedy and I was NOT PREPARED. As in, I almost quit reading the book because I was just not in the headspace to deal with a tragedy, and I am at the point in the semester/year/my life where I need stuff like that to be spelled out for me so I can decide if I even want to engage. But I checked in with some friends who read the book, and they told me to keep going, so I did.

Continue reading “Straight up reading summary this week: #IMWAYR”

Because 999 times just wasn’t enough: May 2018 wrap up

So, a lot has happened this month (I saw Hamilton! Went to the movies! Read very few books!), but most of that has been eclipsed by my stomach issues (STILL) and figuring out what to do about them. But before I get into that, I’ll explain my post title first.

At the end of last semester, I was talking to my office mate about how I have to tell my students stuff a ton before they get it (if they get it). For example, I had my students print out their papers all semester, and I would always tell them to print it out and read it when they were revising or editing.

The day after class (but before they turned in their final papers) a student came to see me to look over her final paper with her printed draft. “Oh!” she said in surprise. “When I print out my paper, I notice stuff about it that I didn’t see when it was on my computer.”

Continue reading “Because 999 times just wasn’t enough: May 2018 wrap up”

A not that much going on post is better than a not at all post, right? Right?

So in an effort to get back on track, I am getting back on track. This is another way of saying that I could either grade or write this post, and, well, you see what’s happening.

avoiding grading

The back on track really does mean that I have not been getting enough sleep, so in order to do a better job at that, I have to accept that I’ll have to do more grading on the weekends. This makes me sad face for obvious reasons, but! It’s also the end of the semester so I just need to suck it up and deal.

Continue reading “A not that much going on post is better than a not at all post, right? Right?”

It’s Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day, and I’ll spend it running an errand with (and for) my daughter. This is not a bad thing. She got a job (🙌🏾) and needs to get her uniform before she starts tomorrow. But this is the crux of why (and I can say this without bitterness) I treat Mother’s Day like any other day. As a single mother, it’s just another day for me where things need to get done, errands need to get run, and my daughter needs care.

Here's to my birth marking the last minute you ever had to yourself.

Continue reading “It’s Mother’s Day”