80s book

So after a few more quick “raise of hands” it sounds like an 80s setting for a YA novel would be more intriguing.  I wonder if publishers are going for that though.  I entered high school in 1992, so I’m a few years shy of the 80’s and I think it’s gotta be 80s, not 90s.  I mean, it’s not that foreign of an experience.  My sister was in high school in the 80s as an underclassman.  it sounds like gratuitous 80s references are welcome (see Ready Player One).  The dialogue isn’t that different.  We said awesome a lot, but that other gnarly stuff wasn’t really “in” as much as the shows make it seem.  I guess the setting needs to contribute to the theme somehow.  And I don’t know what the theme would be other than, “Though important, high school sports aren’t the end-all” of everything.  I’m still too busy with things to pump a book out right now.  I don’t know what the difference is between now and 2 years ago when Around the Block began.

I had to go through my phone’s calendar just to see when I have upcoming shows.  There were 3 in there I had forgotten about and 1 I remembered.  2 in January, so that’s a ways off, but my next two are the first weekend in November (nothing too local).

Speaking of, I’ve had a few of you mention that December 5 may not be a good date.  We can still tweak that a bit as a class, in class.  I’ll text him and see.

I found a cover of a song that I’ve always loved.  I’ll play it tomorrow if I remember.

I also need to decide if I’m going to do the MBA program at Lindenwood.  Really, one more thing I need to worry about.

During our (stupid) mandatory meeting for professional development today I chose the one about taking care of yourself.  They had us write on paper plate about everything that we had to worry about/do outside of teaching and I filled my entire plate up. Then I held it up and said, “This is why I don’t have kids.”  It was 20 different things.  I know people are busier than me, even students, but I’m in too many things somehow.  Anyway, Thursday night would be a good night to take care of all that MBA entry stuff.

I’m REALLY enjoying your short stories, especially after revision.  We’ll do an audit tomorrow and see where everyone’s at and if they’re publishing on Kindle or doing poem.


Things to look forward to…

I think I hid it fairly well, but I didn’t have a good week last week.  I was tired from the trip to Ohio and just too many other things going on.  I think I taught well, especially with my freshmen, and conferences went fine (19 this time), but I wasn’t feeling like myself.  I made sure to enjoy my weekend and still take care of a lot of things. I got to play pickleball yesterday even though it was 50, and I beat my two buddies…pretty bad too.  : )

So this week will be better.  Here’s why. Teacher can donate $10 to charity and dress down all week.  Jeans and t-shirts for me!  I’ll be wearing a lot of Modest Mouse shirts since the concert is next Saturday (which is reason #2).  The third reason is that my pickleball class starts Wednesday (please please, don’t be me and a bunch of old people).  #4–no conferences this week.  5–By the end of the week everyone will have conferenced with me and we’ll be working on final drafts.  6, it’s the last “full” week of October for us.  #7, we found our Halloween costumes for this year (we haven’t done costumes since 2008).  They’re based off of an iconic 80s video by a guy named Robert Palmer.  Silly, but that’s what us old folds do I guess.

We have a pretty fun, yet reflective project this week.  I think you’ll enjoy and this year I’m putting a little more of the pre-writing into it.

My show last night went fine.  They were a little tight meaning they groaned when they were offended, but no one was seriously offended.  It’s just what crowds started doing at pretty much all comedy shows 5 or so years ago. I can’t figure it out.  None of us really care though.  The check clears tonight!

The author event I did yesterday was brutal.  I was there for 3 hours with about 20 other authors and didn’t sell one book.  Ouch, right?  I gotta step up my table promo game.  It’s no time for me to feel sorry for myself, I have another one of these things in November and I wanna sell more books.  My table was pretty bland.  I have some ideas for the next time that I’ll run by you guys.  Also, remind me to ask about a YA setting I might try to write in.

OK, see you tomorrow.

DK Retiring

So as you may have heard DK is retiring…from being superintendent at least.  We kinda saw this coming as he’s reached 31 years of service, so what people in education can do is retire, collect a pension, and find a different job on top of that.  One of the rare benefits of the teacher salary thing.

Anyway, he’s going into politics, right?  I mean he has to.  Something with state education.  I’m not sure of all of the positions open, but let’s be honest, he has more experience in education than our current Secretary of Education. DK taught at MHS during it’s opening year of 1992 among many other years.  He knows what’s going on in the schools and classrooms.  I hope he can help. I wonder who we’ll get next?

Here’s the time he came to our book release party in 2014…



Again, get your short stories to me, printed out, by tomorrow.  It’s the freaking dead date and I barely have half of the class’s story.  I will conference this week and next and then that’s it.  We’ve confirmed our party with The Wolf Cafe for Wednesday December 5. Let me know if there is an abundance of conflicts with that ahead of time (there shouldn’t be, right?).  I will explain more of the logistical things during our block on Thursday.

This isn’t an ordinary project, so when you get behind it becomes even harder to catch up.  I do have a handful of students who are almost to their final draft. It just takes some dedication.  Tomorrow we’ll look at 2 stories as a class and then Thursday we start a completely different.

I promise you that the effort of publishing your story is worth it!

That Helped

I went and talked to someone about my professional frustrations.  He gave me some tools and said he had lots of others to prevent things like burnout.  Burnout is something teachers, cops, nurses, and pretty anyone in charge of taking care of someone gets after years and years on a job.  A lot of teachers get it in the first 5 years and change professions.  So, to make sure I didn’t edge close to that at year 8, I went and talked to someone about the things that bother me with teaching and writing, and just life in general.  He said something that really rings true. We all have anxiety in our lives, but what makes a different is those who are able to cope with it.  It’s true.  I think a major role in the anxiety plague is that I don’t think parents let kids cope with it, so by the time they’re in high school, ta-da…a 3 minute presentation in front of the class is the worst thing they’ve ever dealt with.  Especially when the parent will ride that student and budget their love depending on the grade they earn. So why am I not able to cope with the anxiety as well? It’s funny, but I’m still new to the game I guess.  After 7 years at Marquette I haven’t figured it out. I’ve gotten better I guess…or have I?  I mean last year really sucked at times because I let my emotions get the best of me.

I also got a book that he recommended so it’ll be here in two days.  He said the biggest problem for most people is they just don’t get enough sleep.  If you don’t get 8 hours (I don’t know what teens are supposed to get), then your don’t make enough serotonin, and emotions and everything else get all out of whack.  Makes sense.  It would explain the little depressed days I had at the end of last week.

The major thing I’m debating is whether to delete my work email from my phone.  I don’t know what it is about this year, but I’m getting too many emails (requests, complaints, etc.) in my evenings.  Imagine a teacher emailing and saying, “Hey, I know we had class and I assigned you that thing, but here’s some more things to do. Happy Sunday morning!”  We all do work (teachers and students) away from home, but we have to set and protect boundaries as to when we let our emotions get notified.  Does that make sense?  I’ve been pretty good about not responding to emails at night, especially when it’s not urgent–or if the student could’ve asked me during school–but still, I know they’re there waiting for me.  I think I might schedule a trial week sometime soon and see how it goes and see how I feel.

And finally, I’m going to listen to this as I fall asleep.

Tomorrow’s half-day will be nice for everyone.  And then we get a week from Friday off because of the 2 conference nights we put in.  You’re welcome!  : )


They started at 4:30, I had 13 straight and then it was 6:00.  I had a few more and now I can finally take a breath at 6:30.  Sheesh!  I mean, they’re good to have, but it’s a lot of the parents of A-students from freshmen and sophomores.  I’m going to a concert tonight afterwards too.  It starts at 9:15 at The Pageant, so it’ll be a late night.  I was up for 2 hours last night stressing about work (I know, I know…why?!), so maybe coffee will be needed tomorrow too–except we’re in the writing center.  Hmm.  I’m wondering how many will read and remember that?  : )


(Conferences ended and I had no time to finish and post)  Next day…

I had 26 conferences (or was it 27?). Anyway, we made it to the Iron and Wine concert with plenty of time to spare.  It was great, but a lot of the new new stuff.  I did get to hear a few of my favorites though including Boy with a Coin and Resurrection Fern. Beth was mad they didn’t play the song “Flightless Bird” from the Twilight movie. Oh well.  Sounded great.  I got to bed at midnight.  This has been the worst week of sleep.  Monday night was the exception, but the last two nights have averaged about 5 hours so I may be dragging today.  No rest this weekend either as I’m headed to Ohio for the OSU game. At least I don’t have to drive.

I’ll survive.



So I’m 50 pages through this meditation book.  Transcendental meditation sounds the greatest thing ever, right?  Famous people say it’s their key to success.  It gets rid of stress, gives you energy, etc.  Twice a day for 20 minutes is all it takes.  Great–I need that!  Once when you wake up, once before dinner–perfect.  Adult nap time almost, but with results.  So what’s the catch?  The stupid book doesn’t even tell you how to do it.  Just why to do it.  To learn how, you have to go to a trained pro who will give you a mantra after some questioning.  And it ain’t cheap.  I haven’t looked up the cost yet, but I’m guessing it’s close to a grand.  Guh…if you could spend that much money knowing that it would change your life forever in a positive way, would you do it?  Yes, sure.  But I’ve been suckered before (I once dropped $400 in my 20’s to join a singles group only to find that all the women were 5-15 years older than me).  I’ve wasted money before, but not that much.  But then again, what if it is worth it?  It even spawns creativity and I need that, right?

Hmm…I guess I’ll keep reading the book, but all the reviews just say it’s a sales pitch.  Anybody’s folks do this stuff?

All Things Durham

Took the wife to the pitch and putt on route K today.  It’s 18 holes of golf but they’re only 25-65 yards (mostly around 35) in distance.  She’s still getting the hang of the basics but she improved over the 18 holes.  I try not to instruct too much since she’s already taking lessons.  I remember how frustrating it can be to try something and not get it, especially when the other person is very experienced (and having a good enough day to shoot 1 under par!).  I hope she keeps playing golf.

The Ohio State game last night was amazing.  They’re were down 12 with 7 minutes left and had a miracle comeback at an away game with 110,000 plus screaming at every play.  I can’t believe they pulled that win off.

I’ll be at girls district golf tomorrow.  I get to go in rather late (9:00), but I’ll probably be there until 4-something because the group I’m scoring starts at 9:50. It’ll be hot. It’ll be slow. It’ll be dull.  But girls and boys coaches help each other out in the postseason.

I’m playing pickleball in a half hour or so.  Corey again.  I beat him 7 games to none 2 weeks ago and neither has played since.  I start my lessons in 2 weeks so I’m looking to get much better.

Well, how was homecoming?  Feel free to write, post pics, or vent about it.  I never really volunteer for those things.  Sorry.  I did have a student email and ask if tickets were sold at the door.  I told her that was clearly a science department question.  haha

Stupid Cardinals are out of the playoffs.  But for this I’ll sleep more in October.

I haven’t done a real show in a couple months. I’ve done short sets at open mic, but no real sets.  I have my highest paying gig of the year in 2 weeks.  Hope I don’t suck.

Well, this has been the most “Durham things” post I could’ve written.  Oh–the Bears are up 38-3 at the half!  There, now it’s complete.

The Mystake Performance

Oh alum, you missed a gem.  The pep assembly (rally isn’t the right word), was actually better this year, but as usual, they couldn’t fit everything in.  The powder puff vs. teachers game?  2 plays.  The Mystake routine began right as it was time to go, so everyone just got up and walked to the top of the bleachers and left as they did their routine.  I’m not sure if I have anyone who performed, but that’s how us teachers feel when we’re still talking and you start packing up.

Then I just had a freshman girl email me asking if tickets were available at the door tonight.  I told her it was definitely a question for the science department (I want her as confused as I was).

I finished that book I was reading this morning.  It took a huge turn after the midpoint and became an even better book.  I was blown away by how well he pulled it off.  I can’t imagine how much revision went into it.