Thursday, March 31, 2011


Everybody lies -- or do they? Do you lie? Is there a difference between a "white lie" and a more harmful lie? Are there circumstances when it is acceptable to lie? How do you feel when someone lies to you and you discover it?

Your task: Write a paragraph (7-10 sentences) in which you discuss some aspect of lying. Your paragraph could be a personal experience with lying. Perhaps you would like to explore how our culture may (or may not) encourage lying. Your stance on the topic is up to you. Be sure to use correct capitalization and punctuation.  Respond by midnight Tuesday, April 5, 1011.

My response: I have never been a good liar. When I was young, I would try to cover up my misdeeds by telling a lie, but it was easy to see right through me. I can clearly remember one incident in which I was confronted by my mother in the bathroom. My mother was standing in front of the toilet, the brightness of the sink's strip light shining  on her as if she were purposely spotlighted to enhance her authority. I stood in semi-darkness as she accused me of lying to her. As I proceeded to tell that untruth, the palms of my hands began to sweat profusely. Wiping my hands on my pants, I knew I was stumbling and stammering over my explanation.  All the while, I repeatedly wiped my sweaty hands on my pants. The incident about which I was lying has long since fled my memory; its importance was overshadowed by my realization that I was a bad liar. I am grateful for that realization and its resultant humiliation --  it has made me scrupulously honest, even when it is personally embarrassing. In my mind it is better to tell the truth than to be caught in a lie.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Narrative Writing: The Power of Memories prominently displays this telling quote about memories:

     "Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose"  (from the television show The Wonder Years).

Memories are powerful. Certain foods and certain scents trigger delightful memories for me. Other memories are painful and I want to bury them.  Whenever I hear the Beatles' tune Hey Jude, I can't help but be transported back to a time I would much rather forget. Whether my memories are positive or negative, they are, as the above quote says, "ways of holding on." 

Your task: Tell the story behind one of your memories. You decide if you want to relate a positive or a negative memory. Remember that details count. Your  work should show that you have a firm grasp of grammar mechanics in your response. Preview your response and make the necessary changes before you hit the "publish" button.

My response: The smell of gardenias reminds me of my paternal grandmother. Her name was Josefina. Abuela took care of me and my sister when we were young girls. She lived with my Titi Marta and her two sons, but she ruled that house as if it were her own. Her bedroom was at the end of the hall, opposite the Master Bedroom. Outside of her bedroom window was a gardenia bush. The heady fragrance of those flowers would penetrate the closed jalousie windows nearly all year. I can remember lying on her bed in the middle of the day, secretly reading her crime magazines, the smell of those gardenias intermingling with mouthwatering smells wafting down the hallway. To this day, the best food I remember ever eating was made by Abuela. In fact, I have spent my life trying to approximate her undisclosed recipe for pasteles. Whenever I spent the night, I had to sleep with Abuela. I always did my best to fall asleep before she did, otherwise her rumbling, thunderous snores would keep me up all night. Today, I have a gardenia bush outside my front door and I work hard to emulate her piquant cooking. Maybe one day my grandchildren will hold on to fond memories of me as well.

Post your response no later than midnight, March 22.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Description: The Art of Showing

Everyone has heard that showing is better than telling. Haven't we been told repeatedly that "a picture is worth a thousand words"? I think the allure about showing as a writing technique is that the reader gets to put the pieces together and draw their own conclusions about the information given. It's a puzzle to be solved and though we may get stumped, we really enjoy the challenge of figuring things out. Hopefully, this perspective will give some depth to your attitude about description.

Your task: Describe someone’s hands so we know what he or she does for a living (without you telling us).

My response: Her hands were broad and sturdy. Her squat fingers were gently bent like young saplings that had seen too much of an eastern wind. They were rough and calloused, the nails cropped short for her everyday work. Those dull and unadorned nails, naked to the elements, hid hints of cinnabar and turquoise in the cuticles and surrounding ridges of her knuckles. She looked at them in despair, knowing that no one-time application of Shea butter would make those worn hands presentable for the night's exhibition.

I know this is a late blog posting. Please forgive me as I was consumed with activities from my daytime job. So, because it is late, you have until 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, to post your response. Have fun with this assignment!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Creative Spark

Children love to explore. They are unhampered by thoughts of messing up or failing to do something just right. Coloring outside the lines looks just as good as coloring inside the lines to a child. Pablo Picasso said that "every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” What is YOUR art, and what are some of the challenges you face that prevent you from allowing your childhood artist to emerge?

Remember you should post no later than midnight on 3-15-11.

Here's my response: My art is writing. When I was a child, I would cut pictures out of magazines and paste them on pieces of construction paper. Underneath the pictures, I would write a story that tied all the pictures together. I would bind the pages together, create a title page, and present these books to loved ones. It is my desire to become a published writer, but one of the things that holds me back is a lack of time. There are so many other things I let impinge on my time that I don't feel I have adequate time to write. However, if I just sat down at a certain time every day and wrote for even half an hour, I would get closer to letting that child artist within come peeking out.