Wordsanctuary Revisited

Musings of a writer-teacher-counselor.

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Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

I am inquisitive and have worked in writing, editing, and teaching. I am a citizen of the USA and also concerned about the world. This is an addendum to my original blog, Wordsanctuary. That's at www.wordsanctuary.blogspot.com Please check out my column at www.insidehighered.com, "A Kinder Campus." Click on Career Advice to find it. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chardon Tragedy

About 20 miles northeast from where I live and work, Chardon, Ohio in Geauga County has been a place I rarely visit; I've always held it in a bit of awe as both picturesque and remote. But the human suffering since the tragedy on Monday, February 27 (2012), a rampage shooting in the school cafeteria, reminds me that violence does hit very close to home, often when we least expect it. And wherever and whenever we can care about one another: we are kin.

As I initially posted this blog entry, I learned of a third death among the five students shot. Three promising lives suddenly over, and dozens and hundreds in our region alone affected forever by acts of brutality one unseasonably warm winter day.

In some local TV news reports, which I believe showed diligent and emotionally harrowing work by reporters and news directors, several citizen comments were paraphrased as this is not characteristic of us and a reporter's lead-in to one story went something like even though you can sometimes hear shots nearby in this area ... it's not because it's the inner city ... rather, it's  a place for target practice.

I understand the impulse to say: "this is not who we are." I read the police blotter just this past weekend for the part of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, precisely where I grew up, noting minor-to-major crimes on the very streets I walked with abandon as a child. My parents chose our neighborhood carefully, fleeing crime and seeking a safe haven for my sisters and I. I, too, thought upon reading the blotter: can this be true?...violence does not reflect my family's values...and no! not how I want my old neighborhood, which I dream about as it was, characterized as a cruel place ...

I was struck by the red-ribbon placement throughout Chardon today (Tuesday 2/28). These tangible things are symbolic as only tangible things can be. And even as I often wonder if there is anything I can personally do to counteract violence (from words to actions), part of me still yearns to find my own personal utopia, somewhere. I must resist my own urge to stick my head in the sand.

If a moment of horror can instantly be put into a broader and "there's a lesson in this" context: I don't know. Tragedies are senseless, and I am not writing this to be critical of that impulse to impose an instant lesson or meaning. Perhaps we might draw a wider and erasable circle around such events, remembering to ask not only the unanswerable "why did it happen" but the more future-oriented "how, given the harsh reality, can one persevere ..." with appropriate focus on bystanders, victims and others touched by the tragedy. I include reporters, first responders, family members of all directly affected,  counselors and clergy in that loop of perseverance. Not all will experience PTSD, but some may. And all of us within news-range are changed for life in some way, no matter our temperament or degree of resilience.

As was wisely pointed out by one grief counselor on camera last night, the onset of one's personal reaction is sometimes delayed. Initially, people may feel numb. Help is available.

Whether in a gritty urban environment or a quiet pastoral one, today's students and teachers and school administrators (and parents and citizens without children) inherit a legacy of school violence. The root causes are manifold, but scholars have looked at them, even pre-Columbine. The chilling reality is not softened, for me, by those who say things like: "outbursts of violence are still exceedingly rare." When I posted to a listserv after the Virginia Tech shootings writing of my reaction, I was admonished by a fellow listserv member not to forget that it is safer to be in a college than outside of one; that was of little comfort then and is of little comfort now.

I am not so sure that statistics alone always support logic, even common sense, though some grow to assert numbers over words. Numbers are never a reason to stop a serious discussion on the root causes of violence, its possible prevention and the struggle of moving ahead in its aftermath.

The type of lethal violence inflicted on unarmed fellow students or faculty that makes headlines may be intermittent or rare (according to someone's statistics), but aggressive behavior is pervasive. Violent images and rhetoric are everywhere; violent thoughts, words and actions run on a continuum, I believe.

The Asa Coon shooting rampage at Cleveland's SuccessTech was likewise a tragedy, and not long ago in a persuasive writing unit, I alluded to that event -- perhaps 10 miles from my home to the west. I said to the class that violence is something I have to care about -- as a teacher, parent, writer, citizen.  Though I have no answers to violence (whether it happens a block away, down the street, in a neighboring state, or across the world) I can speak, in a whisper at times, to its lasting effects, because of my parents' history, described in part elsewhere. The effects of violence can reverberate through generations.

On the weekend near 9/11/11, I attempted to give voice to some observations in a column for Inside Higher Ed, with a focus on what we in college environments might remember about others' traumatic experiences in case those cross our path (as they will). The outtakes (what I removed from the article) spanned about 3,000 words, and in the known universe I don't think there are enough words to figure out the toll of trauma.

May we find ways to build a safer society, and may survivors of this recent tragedy -- and all touched by it -- find prompt and enduring means of support.

Recommended: Connie Schultz's essay in Parade.
Katherine Newman's Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thinking of my mom, lifelong student!

If you have lost a loved one in your life, you know the feeling: It is like a hole in your heart (some say soul) that will remain unfillable. I have that empty feeling as I am bereaved, but intermittently I celebrate my late mother's many worthy accomplishments and try to live seconds, minutes, hours in tribute to what I learned from her. On Friday, February 24, http://www.insidehighered.com/ will have "A Kinder Campus" focusing on my mom, Louise Shine, just a sliver of her life, actually -- but an important sliver. She was a college student at Cleveland State University in her sixties and seventies. (Here she is pictured at John Carroll University, my other alma mater, on my graduation day in September 1985.) The IHE piece is called "Tips for a Brighter Campus."
 My views of older learners have been shaped, inspired, molded by having the privilege of leading community writing workshops over many, many years, first sponsored by OASIS, a national organization, and later on my own. As our society greys, let's hope the anticipated wisdom spreads to all generations, and together we can better involve elders on our campuses and in our communities.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Independence -- for entrepreneurial journalists ...

A night of note: Wed. 2/22/2012. (For those fond of the number "2," a very good spot on the calendar.) That night,  the Cleveland chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored an event that had me venture out to Independence with a friend, and doesn't that word independence work well as a metaphor, too? The community room of the Independence, Ohio, branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library provided a comfortable space for a spirited panel on the Journalist as Entrepreneur. You'd figure I'd be in the audience, but (drum roll, please...) I was also on the panel, moderated by the venerable John Ettore and with co-panelists Mary Mihaly and Eileen Beal, all writers of note.

My 15-year pin as an SPJ member had arrived in the mail the day before. Synchronicity. We were all in black (unplanned). I guess that either mirrors our dedication to the printed word or our commitment to absorbing all the subtle shades of entrepreneurial and journalistic experience.

About half of the audience consisted of writers; one could perhaps tell that by their body language even before John asked for those who write to raise their hands. Some were taking notes by hand; others tapped on their computers. And one can often tell writers, I think, by their listening skills.

The questions posed by John and the audience were stimulating and motivating. I was in learner mode myself, as I had never been on a panel before although I have given many community talks.

The text of "My life as a journalist and entrepreneur. In five minutes" follows here:

I: Confidence. Most work starts with confidence.

I suspect that many of you already have confidence, as you are in this room.

"Freelance" is a word I first heard around 1986. I was fortunate to have a stable job -- and a creative one -- at Cleveland State University Publications. I worked with graphic designers and printers and typesetters and students and one wonderful boss, also a writer, Stu Kollar—who often gave me first dibs on writing projects. I edited for almost every office in the university. Stu was also a freelancer for publications such as Northern Ohio Live, and the designers were in demand throughout the city. I observed that it was possible to work steadily by day and to have a sideline evenings and/or weekends. One designer, Jo-Ann Dontenville, showed me how to write a proposal, suggested ways to quote and modeled "how to be a freelancer" in her off hours. So I became one, intermittently, with clients acquired largely through word of mouth or answering ads. Was I an entrepreneur as well as a staff writer/editor? Yes: For me at that time, it was the best of both worlds.

II. Creativity. Cultivate it from within – find it in others.

But much -- not all -- of the writing I was doing lacked a byline. Perhaps that was one reason why -- circa 1988 -- when I saw on a library bulletin board that the Lake County-based News-Herald was looking for Cuyahoga County stringers, I followed up. Dave Jones, now retired, paid me a compliment during the interview. "Our only concern in bringing you in was that you might be too high brow [working in universities] but having met you, we can certainly see that is not the case." As well as enjoying that, I learned something else immediately from Dave. He would alternate editing to writing to political reporting roles every few years to “stay fresh.” Creativity! Over a decade I covered speeches … county fairs … school board meetings ... government meetings ... and I had my byline; more importantly, I had support and training shadowing reporters and learning from them. I never had taken a journalism course; I was an English major through the master's degree. I met John Ettorre around that time; I wrote for Carroll Alumni Journal, where he was editor; I also wrote for Eileen Beal at the Cleveland Jewish News, chiefly advertising supplements, and enjoyed that experience, too. They are great people, whose creativity speaks for itself. When I was transferred to CSU News Bureau from Publications in 1990, I had no fear of the news media; we spoke the same language.

III. Crisis. Try to elude it … but crisis will find you. Don't let life circumstances derail your professional life, even if you must reroute it.

After the birth of my son, prematurely, in 1992, I would have easily traded one of my English degrees or any/all of my clips for a nursing degree. It was a terrifying time. In my son’s first rocky year I gave up a full-time staff job at CSU in favor of adjunct teaching positions, tutoring and intermittent freelancing. Teaching gave me control of my schedule, and I taught most often at JCU, CCC, CSU, and NDC. The News-Herald was wonderful about keeping me on; however, in 1998 after my mom required neurosurgery I felt mothering-daughtering-tutoring-teaching was all I could handle for a while. Writing had to wait. I was badly hurt myself in an auto accident in 2001, with several years to recovery. Through these crises, one of the great privileges was leading community memoir-writing workshops, initially with the sponsorship of the May Dept. Store Company-turned Kaufmann’s-then Macy’s and the Cleveland Clinic and OASIS, a national organization. We spun off and became an independent writing group that thrived and met in various locations. I often wrote with my students in my own classes. I learned as I taught and taught as I learned. Writing across the lifespan is a tool for well being, I believe. This was a very fruitful part of my career, interpersonal in focus and dedicated to exploring the power of words to support healing and reflection.

IV. Collaboration. "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." (A basic math error -- but a fact of life...)

With my son growing in independence (pun intended) and my mom moving in with my sister several years ago, I began to write more consistently again. It was like rediscovering one's voice … a little scary ... and like all voice cultivation requiring practice. After marketing and revising one humor piece over and over and over and over -- and tottering on the brink of despair -- I was happy that it was accepted by Doug Lederman, one of three founders of Inside Higher Ed, a strictly online publication covering colleges and universities. The article was called "Sighing in Cyberspace." To make someone laugh from a distance: That is one of my current passions, but I am also a serious writer. From that first publication in IHE evolved an intermittent contributor relationship with IHE and now, a column called "A Kinder Campus," which is dedicated to cultivating positive morale, kindness and collegiality on campuses and -- to the degree possible -- in town/gown relationships as well. Please check it out and share ideas for and about the column!

V. Community.  We need it!

In 2009 I became one of the web editors for Chi Sigma Iota, a counseling honorary, and answered a mysterious ad for a business writer on Craigslist. Coincidentally, the man behind the ad was Todd Nighswonger, one of the editors I had worked with at the News-Herald. He, too, held several other jobs in the interim, went out on a limb and acquired the paper. The focus of Tri-County Business Journal, formerly called Lake Business Journal, is covering business advice and successful case studies and events shaping business within Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties. I learn from every entrepreneur I interview, and my work brings me together with many human resources' professionals as well. For me, writing is about learning and teaching. I like to bridge words and people. Along the way, I have cultivated sidelines including counseling studies that have helped me ask ever-deepening questions, the ones we all ask ourselves sooner or later:
• Is our best work really work, or perhaps more like play?
• What conditions foster our best work?
• What will happen to the printed word in an increasingly digital age?
I wonder. Wonder with me. Ask questions!

Good luck to all who attended in achieving future writing goals
and thank you to all involved with this event for your collegiality.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

E-maelstrom, e-mailstorm

"as you no i live at home with some of my bothers and sisters. sorry for miising class but i will be back … and i can saen you the articles that i have bben looking at for my essay over the weekend if you like. again i am sory and sorry …”
--from a student, details disguised ...

From time to time I still coin words, as the headline suggests. Or try. I googled e-maelstrom and got over 15,000 hits. I googled e-mailstorm and I got a colorful graph. So much for original. My word coining, undaunted, began in infancy and my family humored me, for better or worse, by adding my fake words to their German-English lexicon. Being so very young (some might say too young) to possess this huge responsibility, I became a little linguistically confused even as others related to my needs on my level. Thus, for more than a few years I believed that gock-gock really was German for egg, gaw-go meant chocolate, atta-atta meant to go outside, and bim-bam meant spinach.

And this is, perhaps, a genetic trait. A second generation word-coiner, my son spent an entire year – a whole year – on one syllable, ba. Understanding what that meant depended utterly on context.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog: e-communication. My ability to morph linguistically seemed to have stopped with a thud when I first read IMHO on a listserv. “Imhoe? What’s that, a garden tool?” And I’m still not sure what ROLF was. A medieval knight? He came and went before I had the courage to ask. And LOL. Isn’t that a big company?

Behave urself

My son informed me not long ago that I should not write “luv u” in communication with him – “no one writes like that.” Perhaps he is afraid his phone will end up in someone else’s hands and he will be embarrassed by an effusive, out-of-date mom. So I wrote back, more suitably, in a compound-complex sentence of multisyllabic words in the chat – how smart I am to know what even chat is – and perhaps more fitting to my station in life, empty nester and venerable adjunct. He had already signed off.

I can still remember when I first had email access at one of my schools. It was after multiple attempts to get into the system and to have my status changed from student to faculty member, albeit adjunct. I.T. did its best over and over (and over and over), but I was a glitch in the code, not their fault.

When it finally happened that the cosmic shift occurred and for better or worse, I was in, it was a watershed event. I began to write my first email, ever. And I proceeded to emote (not a pun) to the director of freshman composition. It began something like: I can’t believe I finally got in, after all this aggravation. And then I caught myself.

What if this were intercepted by an overworked I.T. staff member? What if my supervisor himself didn’t like this stream of consciousness, this tone? What did this show about my rhetorical savvy? For crying out loud, I teach argumentation. I realized in that first moment tripping on the keyboard that things were moving too fast. I deleted the post and brought myself down from 9/10 on the tactometer (too hot) to a measured 5. (If you don’t know whereof I speak, check out the previous column, and skip to the end.) I amended the post purposefully to something like: You can now reach me at ___________.

Email overload

Be kind to others but also to you. Watch out for this phenomenon, identified a full 15 years ago. It is possible to be snowed under an avalanche of emails, unable to dig out. “Writing is necessarily intertwined by technology,” wrote Baron (1998), from chisel to computer. And there may be days one wishes for a chisel with which to chop up the computer, if not its contents. Not really: A power outage will do. Or tendonitis. The saddest phenomenon I’ve encountered is people in my age group who simply don’t want to talk on the phone any more. I came of age on the phone. When I married, my clever brother-in-law quipped to my mom, “You’re not losing a daughter: You’re gaining a telephone.” When my son left for college I realized that I was not just losing a son; I was losing an I.T. expert and a computer.

Pushing buttons

To what degree loosened inhibitions are charming and to what degree disarming and to what degree alarming … I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule. I can count on about 10 fingers the number of times I’ve received overly emotional emails from students – in part because I teach so much. One was threatening legal action because his allegedly emailed papers had not arrived and he earned the grade of “F.” Another was ready to run to the dean – and emailing me day and night in all caps and strings of exclamation points -- because she alleged that a classmate had assured her that she had received an extension by me for her friend on a project. (This has led to new syllabus language, as in “no classmate can negotiate an extension for you by proxy.”) Another student told me, via email, that he understood plagiarism was wrong, but could he please just have an extra point to pull him up to…

You get the picture.

Students pushing whatever buttons they can is nothing new. But the force and pervasiveness of email is rather new. I have just finished a batch of syllabi, and I accidentally left out the part about: Please use standard conventions of grammar and punctuation when writing to me. That’s ok; I saved about a page by avoiding such minutiae. But in relation to audience, it’s good to know when to tighten up and when to loosen up.

Sarcasm plus smiley is not funny

I really hate it when people are blunt as a radish and then stick a smiley at the end of a sentence  . Animals in the wild, such as my dog in the backyard, do not growl and bare their teeth and then come up and offer a friendly tail wag.

When will life stop taking you by surprise?

My husband, an introvert, determined never to speak in front of a group as long as he lives and weary of teaching stories … said to me when I was a T.A. long ago and astounded at occasional student antics. In those fading halcyon days, the worst mutiny, perhaps, was a crude drawing of me in a notebook or some sassy comment I overheard right before I walked in.

Rat—I mean Ratemyprofessors? Well, at least I learned from one bitter entry that, push comes to shove, I do have what it takes to teach kindergarten. I also learned that I am mean and hard even as others said the course was a breeze.

I am not so sure that learning to type at the expense of learning to print or write cursive first is good for the deep brain of our kids, and our kids’ kids. I am not sure that having the power of a professional videographer and the ability to broadcast one’s whims to the world is such a good idea before one has established credit. And I am not sure that the ambiguity of what pops up on the screen always leads to razor-sharp discernment. Sometimes it is a flea market on the net, peddled by sinister forces. I will leave it to the neuroscientists out there to give the parts of the brain the proper names and the description of the firing of neurons and to do the needed studies. In Buddhist traditions, calligraphy can be an extension of meditation. Emailing today can be an extension of hypertension.

And I have read at least one study that showed that reading an alarming message is processed differently from left eye to right, but I read this much too fast surfing the web and thus my memory is sketchy.


I wonder if e-mpathy is eroding with our focus on technological speed. It really reminds me of the freeway, the high-speed lane. Maybe I should call this the e-way. Don’t worry; I’m almost done with this. Have you seen the predictable comments in blog queues? (Please don’t let this stop you from commenting.) Often e-rascible and e-viscerating and at times with e-quanimity … you get the picture.

With speed, too often comes brusqueness. I can’t see you squirm – and I’m entitled to make you feel bad -- so I’ll turn up the e-lectric voltage as high as it goes, as the classic Milgram experiment shows.

At what cost, I wonder? Can we collectively and individually still lower the voltage, or is this the world we now inhabit without inhibition? What do you think?

# # #

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Euclid's Bluestone Business Park ready for tenants, jobs

I enjoyed doing this interview with Mayor Bill Cervenik of Euclid, Ohio several weeks ago. He is a Cleveland State University accounting graduate committed to our region. As a South Euclid resident, I can't help but be interested in Euclid. Each suburb has its own flavor, and I hope that Euclid's assets will flourish in the future.

Friday, February 10, 2012

For EN 101 -- Ms Stewart's draft (not perfect!)

Research Journey of “Margie”: A perilous night hike
If she had to choose an image for her research life, it would have to be a night hike. On a night hike, the world seems a little frightening, but the joys of discovery also have a deepened dimension. In addition, on a night hike, basic tools like a flashlight are necessary, one had better follow instructions about the topography (or risk ending up in a ditch or worse) and one must be prepared for a little struggle.

The little girl we’ll call “Margie” had a lot of natural curiosity, and she found that intuition paired with perseverance made her a fairly “dogged” researcher, even at a young age.

The night can be intimidating, and so can a project from a no-nonsense teacher who makes one feel that fourth grade can make or break your entire research career. Margie was actually on the shoebox team – in charge of making sure that other students were keeping neat notes in their shoeboxes, which were kept at school so they could not be scrambled up or lost and so the teacher could check if all were following instructions. Margie and her teammates would type out things like “please get a new box” if students started wrecking their boxes. It was a very important role, to help students take the task of research seriously.

And though she liked to read, she had never done a research paper. Fourth grade was young to start, but that was the drill at Coventry Elementary School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in 1965. But to Maria at age nine, the life of Lois Lenski was initially a frustrating and almost un-do-able research project – like scrambling in the dark. Like other students in Mrs. Dachmann’s class, she was asked to write to the publisher for information about the author as an essential step in the research process. Unlike the other children, however, Maria’s information did not arrive promptly. She had to wait and wait and wait. Being on the shoebox team gave her no special privileges. The part of the research she liked was reading some of Lenski’s books. However, that was nt enough.

To the outsider Maria might have looked like a nerdy kid that didn’t wear glasses and with wavy hair mainly loose but plastered down around her face with a clip. To her protective mom, of course, she was cherished – but her mom didn’t coddle her when it came to school. Though her mom’s voice was very soft and you could barely understand her when she spoke due to a heavy accent, like most immigrant parents, she knew that school would be essential for her children’s survival. Walking back and forth to school every day, Margie wore plaid dresses or plain jumpers in the 1960s style – not many clothes because her parents really struggled economically -- and her shiny penny loafers, which she polished herself. She was expected to do work. She didn’t really like the headaches she got at school due to her very strict teachers, but there was simply no choice. Show up, listen, do your work, worry, then do some more work. Her teachers are like senior scoutmasters, no nonsense.

It might be relevant to add that Mrs. Dachmann was among the world’s most stern and imposing fourth grade teachers, not “warm and fuzzy” in the least. She had a deep, almost booming, voice. Her hair reached almost to the ceiling (in a child’s imagination), and she wore it tightly pulled back in a grey bun that would rival Marge Simpson’s in height. She would patrol the classroom, demanding to see her students’ fingertips (yes, fingertips). Maria, like other kids, sometimes bit her nails out of nervousness. She would then cut or filed them very short so she wouldn’t feel the wrath of Mrs. Dachmann’s judgements.

Eventually, the dusty packet of biographical information about Lois Lenski did arrive. The long delay was because the publisher chose to send the materials fourth class whereas Maria’s friends got their materials much more quickly. Maria lived through the project, earning an “A” on it. She called it: “Lois Lenski: Friend of Children,” and she actually still had the project until fairly recently when someone at her mom’s house must have pitched it. She had saved it as a sign of research frustration and perseverance. And although she was much too little to understand the terms: “emotional regulation” (patience, willpower, not griping), she certainly had to put them into practice.

Although her parents struggled economically, they did buy for the family a full set of World Book Encyclopedias. Think: field guide to take on a night hike. Long before “Wikipedia” there was the paper encyclopedia, the work of seasoned writers, rigorous editors, talented designers and painstaking printers. Therefore, Margie had access to a lot of information, and when she wanted to research for fun, she could turn to her favorite topic, dogs. She never tired of learning about dogs, saving her money to buy a few tiny ceramic dogs and playing with her dog. In fact, to this day, she has a passion for pets -- sparked by her early and favorable experiences. True research passion is not about viewing something as a dreaded assignment; she knew this before the terrors of Mrs. Dachman. Like other children, she discovered the things she sincerely wanted to learn about stayed in her mind like magic. By studying the pictures of dogs in the encyclopedia, she developed the ability to guess what many mixed-breed canines who crossed her path were. Often she was right, but even when she was wrong she made a point of learning about that breed at the first opportunity.

Adding to the love of dogs was the fact that they seemed drawn to her. She had a golden-retriever-cocker-spaniel mutt at home, but a neighborhood German shepherd “adopted her” and would walk her to school and wait for her to come out. Perhaps she reminded that dog of someone, and having a “guard dog” so dignified (and intimidating to others) added to the little girl’s status in the neighborhood. When hiking at night, bring a dog!

To be continued….a third experience could be added, and some of the verbiage above could be “cut” to make room and not run to far over the word count. The “adding research” will be explained in class.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not panic, motivation (for students at two schools)

We are less than 48 hours to deadline. At two schools, students are working with metaphors and similes and analogies but in the contexts of  different autobiographical projects, bolstered with some research. Some of you are writing research autobiography; others are writing creativity autobiography. You are using the third person, as a creative stretch. You are probing three to four incidents. And you are linking these disparate events with a figure of speech.

Here are some bright thoughts that came rolling through on a final exam 11 years ago. Obviously, you don't want to copy these, but they are presented here to get your metaphorical brain rolling.

  • "When writing, the ideas come and go like the hot water in the campus showers. Sometimes they leave you feeling great and other times, frustrated."

  • "Developing a piece of writing is like plopping a drop of food coloring into a glass of water. In the beginning, it's dense and dull; it soon begins to swirl and develop, finally coming to an integrated color that one can be happy with but can easily be changed to preference."

  • "Writing is like eating chocolate. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes it makes you sick."

  • "Writing is like building a house by yourself -- very difficult."

  • "My writing is like a tadpole. It has not yet fully developed but has the potential to grow."

  • "My writing process has been like a bumpy road that eventually got paved."

  • "Watching someone learn to write is like watching a baby learn to walk."

  • "My journey with words has been like eating an apple. I had to dig my teeth into the thick skin but eventually chewed my way through to the core."

P.S. This is a blog. Although it may appear very informal, there is a precise way of citing it -- thanks to the sharp minds on the citation and bibliographic committees at APA, MLA, and so on. These are real people who really think of the implications of citation -- as we should.

See if you can find "how to cite a blog" in your paper handbook or via OWL at Purdue and add it to your knowledge! Or, if you are really tired, google "how to cite a blog" -- but be careful that what you get is correct. Know who wrote it, when, where, for what purpose, and so on.