Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Queen of the Kindergarteners

I've been volunteering regularly at Kindergarten and am getting to know many of the kids in M.'s class. I take the baby with me, she's now 6 months and if I'm not carrying her, she's in her carseat being accosted by kindergarteners - which she quite enjoys.

The kids are a riot, I'm amazed at the variety of maturity levels... some kids look and act like they are much older than they really are. The teacher assures me that the 'more mature' ones have older brothers and sisters, so they have learned to act older.

I worry, though, about my older influence on them.

They were making Spotty Snakes, using white socks, markers and some buttons for eyes. About 6 kids were putting on a puppet show for me and the eye fell of one of the snakes. That's ok, I said, you can just be the one-eyed snake.

Yeah. You have to have your mind in the gutter for that one.

I might not have, but the teacher had just told me a story about her first year of teaching when she told a group of grade five gym students to "grab their balls".

I am learning. Like saying "wonderful!" instead of "perfect" when someone shows me their work. Using the word perfect may create mini-perfectionists.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Energizing Days

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like your fingers are flying across the keyboard so fast your brain can't keep up?

Many call this a visit by the muse. I don't really believe in muses, but whatever works for ya'! I do love these days, when the writing seems easy and the ideas are all around. When the words form nice little sentences on their own and I don't feel like I'd be better off tongue painting jello on the refrigerator.

I don't usually write to music. Mainly because it's usually me and the kids at home and I don't want to be bopping to the latest tunes and not hear my son calling me to tell me he's cut his leg off or the baby's head is stuck in the stair railing. But today I have blessed childcare and I can crank my tunes up.

It's one of my favorite ways to write. Turning up the music loud enough that I can't hear the keyboard. I don't know why it feels so good, it just does. There's something that distracts me by the clickety-clack of the keyboard. I like the sound of it... when I'm not writing. But there's an intense drive that it triggers in me and when I'm already looking at the deadline and driving towards it, that extra boost doesn't always help.

What am I listening to you ask? Shania Twain's Up album. It's been a long time since I listened to it. As soon as I put it in I realized that the last time I bopped to its funky toons I was newly divorced and had just gone on the first few dates post-divorce. They weren't successful, thank goodness.

Chorus from 'Nah':

You won't find me
Naked and cold justa sittin'on the doctor's table
Waitin' to be told justa why
I'm no longer able
To feel my heart beatin'--give me
a good reason why!
I kinda went numb
just around about the time you told me
You were movin' on, and yousaid that you were gonna phone me
It's been so long, and there ain't nothin' wrong with the line

The whole album was really a soundtrack for my life at the time. Just listening to it reminds me how far I've come.

Chorus from 'She's Not Just a Pretty Face':
She's -- not -- just a pretty face
She's -- got -- everything it takes
She's -- mother -- of the human race
She's -- not -- just a pretty face

Chorus from 'I Ain't Goin' Down':
I'm gonna hold on--
'cause what I believe in is so strong
No matter how long, no one
Can tell me I'm wrong--I ain't goin' down

All these songs are written by Shania Twain and her husband Mutt Lange. I look forward to her next album...

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Break

I have started a new policy in my home office. As soon as I make my deadlines, I take two days off. Two.

The first one is usually full of me pacing around trying to figure out what I should be writing. The second is actually relaxing. I always have something that I could be writing, but I don't think it's healthy for me to always be working.

Husband starts his job full time next Thursday. He's been home for almost 18 months while getting the proper visa to work here in Canada, so it's new for us. The other day my son asked "why is it just me and mommy and E at home all the time now?" Hubby has been going to the coffee shop to study for this test he had to take last Saturday before he could be employed.

The test that he practically ACED by the way. If you need a Financial Planner in Calgary, he's your guy!

I'm sitting in bed right now, typing on my laptop. I should probably be asleep... but it's nice to get some uninterrupted writing time. Kids are asleep in their room and it's quiet in the house. This is a good time to write. Of course it's even better if you've had a chance to take a nap in the afternoon!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Finding the WHY

Poynter Online has an excellent article up about finding the meaning behind our writing.
What's the "Why" in Your Work?

No matter your career path -- journalism, PR or others -- it's possible to find meaning in your work. But how arenewsrooms, caught in the rush of transition, searching for that meaning?

It's focused on journalism and non-fiction and really spoke to me this morning. We all have jobs that we do that feel small or feel unimportant. We need to be really connected to why we write to get that satisfaction each day.

The litany of challenges facing newspapers, broadcast TV, and yes, the Internet, too, is familiar to us all. And every day, the urgency to respond to those challenges intensifies.

It's in all of that urgency that I worry we'll leave meaning behind.

We must learn to shoot video, learn to record audio, learn to blog, learn to podcast, learn to chat online, learn to file multiple times for the Web and then file for the paper and our newscasts, learn to point our stories forward because so much of our audience "already knows," learn to post content produced by our users, learn to publish news reported by the public.

Are we clear about why?

There are plenty of days that I'm unclear. Here's to working on the WHY!