Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Year Down

* Not me. Not how I eat cake.

A year ago today I started blogging. It feels like I should commemorate this somehow; but, truthfully, I'm not certain what to say. You need not worry. If you haven't yet noticed, I tend to blather on whether I have something worthwhile to say or not.

Confessions of a Rookie has grown into my lifestyle. My fellow bloggers and I tend to congregate at baby showers and dinner parties, hiding in a corner to discuss the blogosphere instead of the usual dinner-party fare. I can hardly wait to read what my favorites have written, and I think the opportunity to write for an audience (small though it might be) has been encouraging. It is an outlet I appreciate when the majority of my day is filled with poorly-written essays, complaining students and endless meetings.

So, over the past year, I've grown from a Rookie blogger to a novice...maybe even an adequate blogger. I only know that I'm glad I started this process. To me, blogging is worth staying awake just a little while longer and pushing myself to think of something to say--even when my mind feels empty.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh Yes, I Really AM that Good

I am a woman of many hidden talents, kids. While I may write at the junior high read-ability level, I'm on fire with my WPM!

99 words

Speed test

How did you get so speedy? you might ask. I chock it up to my days as a "Classified Ad-visor" at the local newspaper. Every weekday at five found me frantically entering as many call-in/faxed-in/mailed-in ads as I could before deadline hit. And, of course, all those lovely AH CRAP! Term paper. Due. Tomorrow. It's 11. Lab closes at midnight! moments I had in my college heyday. Those were a master-procrastinatorio kind of way.

And yes, if you look at the time stamp, it really is Friday night at precisely 10:14 pm. Am I out having fun? Oh noooo, I worked late and then came home for some quality Rookie-Pajama time and watched The Truman Show on TBS. That is, of course, until I strutted my stuff over to the computer for a little blogging action and the ever-important type test. I am the epitome of old, dorky school marm. I flaunt it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Do I Look?

While I should have spent my evenint paying bills/cleaning my shower/putting away laundry/going to bed at a decent hour, I opted, instead, to put my lovely blog through a renovation. I rather like the blog's new look. What do you think?

All those pressing matters aren't half as fun, by the way...especially paying bills.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Four Letter Word Beginning in F: On Failure

When I was in sixth grade I wanted to participate in the _________ Elementary 6th Grade Talent Show. As far as talent shows go, this was a big deal for my classmates and me. On a grey February day the sign-up sheet was passed around. I printed my name on the list with all of the anticipation an awkward 12-year-old could possess. I was certain that displaying my talent, whatever it might be (would I dance? sing? attempt ventriloquism?), for all the 6th graders to see could only provide evidence my unquestionable capacity for greatness. And so, my commitment was made. In the Spring I was to give what would undoubtedly be the performance of a lifetime.

Weeks passed by. The teacher reminded us each week of the upcoming performance. My friends spoke of their rehearsal schedules for the event. But life was happening as life tends to do and there was always more time. A girl with my flare and natural ability could certainly manage to pull it together by the time we performed.

You all see where this is going, of course. I didn't prepare until the night prior, and by then my practice was futile. So, on a Monday afternoon in the Spring, there in the school cafeteria, I stood before 80 of my ruthless peers with the cassette tape insert of Disney's Aladdin in hand, attempting, unaccompanied, to sing a solo of the duo "A Whole New World" (which happened to be one of my top three favorite songs of the moment). You can imagine the outcome. While the word gruesome comes to mind, I daresay 12-year-old boys took the taunting of my foible to a new level of cruelty in the weeks that followed. I seem to recall Nick C. (whom I will always loathe with a vicious hatred...until I seek intense psychotherapy) nailing quite the impersonation of my "performance." (My hatred for Nick C., lest it seem a little harsh, continued when he mercilessly dubbed me "Shamu" during the torture which we refer to as junior high school.)

Now, I tell you this story not for your kind pity (but I do deserve a little sympathy here, people). I tell you this story because I remember it in every painful, unharmonized, stumbling, Dear-God-PLEASE-Let-This-Linoleum-Covered-Earth-Swallow-Me-Whole-Until-I-Reach-College-Or-My-Untimely-Demise-Detail. Of many events during my childhood, I cleary remember this one.

My "performance" was a flop. A failure. Washout. Wreck. Bungle. A humiliation of the worst kind. Piece of pure rubbish. And oh, did it hurt. But here is the thing: I survived. Yes, survived. Now, I may not have walked myself into this kind of situation ever again (though I occasionally have nightmares of similar situations), but I made it through alive and well. And today I can even laugh at it--it is quite funny, really. (Though poor Nick C. still hasn't quite gained my full forgiveness).

Not only did I survive the Talent Show Catastrophe of '93, but I learned from it. I learned that talent or no, nothing replaces hard work, practice, and preparation. I learned that I had the ability, even as an overdramatic 12-year-old, to bounce back from the "depths of despair" and face those who mocked me with my head held high. I learned that I should never make fun of someone else's stumbles (exempting Nick C., of course). I learned that duets are best when sung by two people. And I learned that Nick C. would probably amount to very little in this life. Afterall, he didn't even try to participate in the Talent Show (my predictions, by the way, turned out to be quite true..."The Rookie is Petty Confession Time": I have been known to peruse the "head shots" of former classmates on a certain county jail's booking website which featured a certain grown "Saint" Nick).

The thing about failure is that we do learn from our failures far more than we ever do from our successes. Success is common and rather boring, really (unless accompanied by a previous failure overcome--why do you think everybody loves a good underdog story?). Failure offers life lessons that can't be taught any other way. And that is a gift we should acknowledge.

Oh, and if you think I'm original in my thinking (ha! that is something I am most certainly NOT): Click here for a more eloquent musing on failure. Furthermore, my comments seem scant of late--I'd love to hear all about your worst failures that taught you the very most.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Point/Shoot: An Ode to Small Moments

Some days you feel different. One's blog post should match that phenomenon. Today's post is a medley of moments recently found on my memory card and my late night reactions to them (which I'll probably regret in the morning).

Ode to the Welded Spinning Pinwheel
Best shot of the week--
clang of iron
shifting bone
fired clay
I will miss you, Zion.

Ode to Alice, Who Lets Me Play With Her Hair Sometimes
Your blonde around bobbypin
for the evening.
Your entertainment, however, is unceasing.

Ode to Rusted Rock
All my best poems
have been written
about red
sands sifting.

For a fraction
of this space we call being,
everything is warm.

Ode to Someday
One day you will squint and blink
and look only to that
line drawn between the earth and the sky.
For now, though,
those eyes stay focused
on what is placed
directly in front of them.
And that is exactly as it should be.

Ode to 24 Tulips in Three Mason Jars
Spring must be arriving
in her shy-blush,
quiet way
when you show up on my kitchen table.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It Just Ticks Me Off

You see this:

I think this blasphemy is bogus. A conspiracy, I tell you. A conspiracy.

I am unconsolable and distraught. It was tragic enough all those months ago when I discovered I'd ranked at the High School level. I attempted to up my blog writing prowess only to discover: I'm prefered by tweens.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Poetic vs. Pathetic

It is April, people. April. And you know what that means...(cue crickets chirping)...

National Poetry Month! Yes, isn't it grand for the pathetic souls such as myself--those that delight in stanzas and sonnets. And I seriously dig A MONTH-LONG celebration of all things poetic.

The Diet starves January. February is in honor Black History Month (and great President's Day sales). The Irish are dyeing March green. But April...April is for poetry. And I, slacker that I am, haven't posted a poem in a while--an unforgivable error.

In honor of the festivities, check out this hot spot for your daily poetry fix...or simply to dabble in the epics and ballads. And don't forget: April 17th (next Thursday) is Poem In Your Pocket Day. The day that you...well, imagine this: you carry a poem around in your pocket. All day. And share it with friends and family and strangers in need of a good poem, of course.

In order to kick National Poetry Month of right, I'm going Chilean. Yes, every poetry reader needs some Pablo Neruda. If ever I were to pluck a Latin Lover from the field, Pablo Neruda would be my perfect wildflower (does that damper his machismo a bit?). He is my poetic soul mate. Enjoy the translation.

Tonight I Can Write
by Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, "The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance."

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Monday, April 7, 2008


My job is taking over my life. If I'm not teaching, I'm in a meeting. If I'm not at a meeting, I'm grading. If I'm not grading, I'm preparing lessons. And in the meantime it feels kind of like everything else in my life is slowly unraveling. And if I'm not working, I'm left feeling guilty for not doing work. I'm whining, I know. But I can't help but feel behind in every facet of my life.

Oh, and one other thing: may the cruel and sadistic inventors of NCLB suffer through hours upon hours of worthless district ESL Endorsement courses and homework assignments while there are a myriad of other pressing matters waiting for accomplishment.

42 more work days until summer. 42. Pray that I make it.