Spelling

I remember being snickered at once (many years ago) by my son’s elementary school teacher when I asked her if the students were given spelling tests.  Yes, I said snickered at, and she kept the goofy smirk on her face as our parent/teacher interview progressed and she squeezed out of her crooked mouth something to the effect – and I paraphrase loosely – well, back in the ancient times when YOU went to school that’s maybe how they did it, but we don’t do things that way anymore.  To which I replied, “and it shows.”  Which was why we were having a discussion about my son (only one of many children in the same boat) having a below grade reading level.

Apparently spelling was too cool for school!

There is a Maclean’s article from back in 2010 that stated Waterloo College was one of only a handful of post-secondary institutions in Canada to require entry students to pass an English language skills exam.  Thirty percent of students were unable to pass that exam.

But you’re right, Miss Snark Teacher, we don’t need archaic spelling tests anymore.

I was driving around town the other day doing some errands when I saw a commercial vehicle drive by.  It was the logo on the van that got me on this topic.  The name used a K instead of a C for the word ‘custom’ – to be cute I suppose.  Take a good look around next time you are out and about.  Not just vehicles, but store names, and more.  What are we teaching our young, impressionable children who don’t get taught spelling in school anymore when we spell things like the following:

Toys (backwards R) Us

Koffee Kafe

Foto Korner

City Sentral

Ok, it’s cute and it’s kitsch, but is it a good idea?  I don’t know.

Then you have people like Penelope Trunk (look her up), going on CNN and professing her expertise as to why children should not bother with spelling, spouting trash like “who needs spelling when there is spellchecker?”  Go ahead, I dare you, read what this… what this… woman has to say.  If it doesn’t make you cringe – it should.

Taking a spelling test and learning how to spell in general, is not for the purpose of being a ‘perfectionist’ as Ms. Trunk would have you believe.

And I can’t shout this one loud enough – READING ALONE WILL NOT MAKE YOU A GOOD SPELLER!!!

Now, run along and read something by someone with a modicum of intelligence.  Here’s a snippet:

“Good use, even mastery, of our complex language does not have to be a thing of the past or reserved for a few. By using the knowledge from years of research and experience and our ever-developing technological tools, we can teach each student to spell well and enable them to read and write fluently. We owe it to our students to give them the skills that are the tools to learning and communication throughout their education and their lives.”

The Importance of Spelling
by Susan Jones, M. Ed.

Sheesh!

 

What’s Happening to the World?

My morning routine usually involves reading or listening to the news while I have my morning cup of coffee.  Lately, I’m afraid to.  So much violence, so much hate.  I scour the news for that one story that is good; the one story that is upbeat and hopeful – there aren’t any, unless you count the people who are falling into ditches while playing Pokémon Go.  But really, that isn’t terribly funny either.

Possible solution?  Don’t look at the news for a few days?  I don’t know.  Might work for a while, but then someone will say; “hey did you hear?”

Maybe a nice deserted island, pen and paper, and a lot of wine!

Take care out there.

A Light In The Storm

It has been a while since my last post – I think I say that every time I post!  May was quite the month.  A number of unexpected and unwanted events took their toll, both mentally and physically, but through it all I was determined to stick to the one constant in my life (aside from my family).  My writing.

My new book, Nobody’s Child, is out at long last.  In the immediate days, only the paperback version is available through the link below with the digital versions coming shortly.

I would love for you to read it and let me know what you think.  After everything that has happened to me in the past few months – believe me, I can take it – good or bad!

Click on Book to Buy From my e-Store

Other Formats Available on the Book Page of This Site

BookCoverSpineNew

The Subtle Art of Friendship

A friendship, to put it simply, should be pleasant and beneficial to both parties.  Balance.  Harmony.

The word “balance” is very important here. Good friendships don’t have to be 50/50 one hundred percent of the time and seldom are, but when the friendship is continually lop-sided, stress begins to build and toxins start to flow.  “Imbalance” would be where one friend continually gets their needs met while the other friend’s needs are disregarded.  This is frequently referred to as a “toxic friendship”.

At its simplest form, a toxic friendship can be overwhelming, unfulfilling, and emotionally and physically draining for one half of the relationship.

A quote I read recently from Dr. Florence Isaacs, author of “Toxic Friends/True Friends”, says it beautifully – “Toxic friends stress you out, use you, are unreliable, are overly demanding, and don’t give anything back.”  And by “not giving anything back”, please don’t think physical things or gifts.  Physical things and gifts do not make a friendship.  We can buy our own “things”.

Now, that quote may be a rather all-inclusive sort of statement and you may find that your toxic friendship only has some of those characteristics.  Even so, just one of those characteristics can have the same effect as all of them on the right person.

So, what do you do about a toxic friendship?  The way I see it you have a few options.  You can come clean – tell the friend how you feel when they do x, y, z.  Don’t tell the friend and continue to take it.  Or, live in that gray and muddy realm where the toxic friend knows that something is up, but no one is saying exactly what until everyone kind of forgets about it and it starts all over again.

Consequences?  Telling the toxic friend the truth could very likely end the relationship.  Then there is the whole “friends in common” factor.  Your toxic friend might not be toxic to your friends in common.  The friends in common may even have a hard time imagining such a scenario.  It is a very real possibility they may look at you as the bad guy after hearing a few “oh poor me’s” from your toxic friend.  If you’re looking for advice as to how to deal with this? – forget it, I don’t know what to tell you.  All I know is, stooping to finger-pointing and telling tales out of school by complaining about one friend to another friend – not my style.  Be prepared, however, your toxic friend will probably be talking about you so expect a lot of ear-ringing and some voodoo looks from those who don’t know both sides.

So, if you are one of those people who have been taking it for a long time, don’t be surprised when the time comes where you just can’t take it anymore.  You will come to the conclusion that you are worth more – your emotional stability and your physical health are worth more.

Toxic friends can live on, and thrive in, chaos.  I don’t know about you, but I hate chaos.  Chaos and turmoil are not just emotionally draining, they can be physically damaging.  I think some people continually put themselves under stress because they need the sympathy and encouragement of everyone around them so desperately that they are willing to jeopardize relationships to get it (even if they don’t know they are jeopardizing relationships).  Instead of being happy and fulfilled with what is right in front of them, they somehow need the love and approval of others who really don’t give a damn.  If you aren’t happy with you, why should anyone else be happy with you?  Your family should love you.  Your friends would like to love you.  Is it really worth losing that to be Queen/King of the world?  When you perch yourself on top of a flagpole you may find you are the only one there because there just isn’t room for the rest of us, and that little mathematical equation equals – lonely.

Okay, philosophy lesson is over, but damn that felt good.

 

Sheesh!

It has been two months since my last post and two month since my computer decided it had a grudge against me.  Don’t laugh.  That sounds better than the truth.

When I started blogging again, which wasn’t all that long ago, I would have been happy with one post a month – to start anyway.  Now, like I said, it has been two months, and yes, my computer had something to do with it.  I thought it was the computer’s fault.  I thought it was giving up – just like me.  I thought IT didn’t want to write either.  But no, and as my trusty computer fixer guy put it – I was “infected to the nines”.  So now we are all clean, all good to go.  Are you reading between the lines though?  I left Mr. Computer sitting on my desk for two months before taking it to be cleaned and fixed.  Hmmmm….

I suppose I just need to stop worrying about not having anything profound to say, and just sit down and write any old blog post when the urge to spew arises.  After all, that’s how it starts doesn’t it?  The urge to write?  A tiny little spark of… something?

Right now is the best time, actually.  Why?  Because I don’t have any followers.  I don’t have anyone who really gives a damn if I say anything or not, so I am here talking to myself and that means I can just be honest without worrying about offending anyone or worrying over whether anyone will care what I have to say.  I just have to keep doing this until “I” care what “I” have to say.  Does that sound right?  Ya…ya…, until I care what I have to say.

Ah, that felt good.

Freedom In Truth?

Yes, I meant it as a question.

If you look closely at where you landed to get here, you will read the truth that is suppose to set me free – I am a blogger who writes.

I used to be a writer who blogged but that felt like a lie.

I used to write more – a lot more.  And I liked it.  There wasn’t any pressure.  Then, I made a fatal error.  I grew too confident in what I thought I could accomplish and I set myself up with unrealistic goals.

Here’s the deal.

When I finished the book that was to be my first published work, I couldn’t leave the characters behind.  Nothing wrong with that.  It happens to a lot of writers.  I wanted to stay living in their world – I wasn’t done with it yet.  That wasn’t the fatal error.  The error was being too greedy, talking myself into thinking I could write a trilogy.  No problem.  I was certain of the fact, too, even after book two was published.  But then things happened – a lot of things I won’t bore you with.  So when the writing of book three wasn’t going well – and it didn’t go well a lot – I felt trapped.  So I tried to work on one of the numerous other writing projects I have stashed on thumb drives, hoping to garner some sense of accomplishment by leaving the lackluster behind and reaching for something shiny and new.  Except…

No matter what I worked on, I felt like a failure – a looser, even.  I would get so far on a different project and then the guilt would hit me.  How could I do that?  How dare I devote my time and imagination elsewhere when there was this giant, angry, steaming elephant breathing down the back of my neck every time I sat down in my chair and rested my shaking fingers on my rather dusty keyboard?

I felt, and feel that way all the time.  I’m like an old vinyl record with a big scratch and the needle is just sitting there unable to get over the craze and making that scritch-pop noise in a deafening and endless loop.

The only solace I found – on occasion – was the thought of my favorite author, Harper Lee.  She only wrote one book (sort of).  But then again that one book was a masterpiece, and I certainly wasn’t in that category.  Harper Lee didn’t have to write anything else. She had already achieved perfection.

Other times I would think of George R.R. Martin and how all of his loyal followers would ask when the hell is he going to get on with it?  But I’m not him either, and it would only soothe the guilt for a few precious moments to know there are others out there like me, who maybe just don’t want to write that story anymore.

So there’s this tiny little part of me that says, “why bother?”  No one knows you.  who has even read your books?  No one cares if you have an unfinished book you are loathing to finish.  No one is clamoring for your next brilliant insight.

So I don’t know.  There’s the truth.  Has it set me free?

I don’t know.  Woman shout

A Fresh Start

It feels good to have a new home.  You know how you can get tired of looking at the same old dingy floors, the tired drapes, and listening to a dripping faucet?  Well, I guess that’s how I have been feeling for a long time about blogs and websites – uninspired.  My last home never really felt like me and so I ignored it for quite some time.

So this is the new home I’ve moved into, and you know, I really like it.  I just got finished decorating and I hope you will like it too.  I’m sure I’ll end up tweaking something here or there but for the most part – it feels good.

Oops, it’s after midnight here and I need my beauty sleep (right).  We’ll talk soon.

__Wendy