Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Moths and More Moths

"Between our birth and death we may touch understanding, As a moth brushes a window with its wing." ~Christopher Fry

You never know what will strike a cord with your readers.  Or for that much what will bring understanding.  I wrote a post about that very quote and had  a beautiful picture of a moth.  That moth was a popular guy. He has made that post the most downloaded international post I have yet to produce. Like the moth's wing the post brushed with understanding...or maybe people just love them some moth pictures. 

As a tribute to those...I honor your passion.

I give you wings of butter carmel and robin's egg blue.   Simple elegance.
The foreign alien of the collection.  Leaves must envy the free flowing form and angry read eyes.

The Colombian favorite.  Smoky wings contrasted with blood read stripe he sits on a prickled paradise.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are we...Waiting for Superman

"Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself."  ~John Dewey

I have been in the Education business for the last eleven years.  I know it is not perfect, but I am beyond passionate about my profession. An industry that is so important will always be much criticised.  There are constant worries that we don't measure up.  The other guys are scoring higher test scores,  their graduation rates are better- are worries that echo in our ears every single year.  

The upcoming release of Waiting for Superman is making these echos grow louder.  I know that there are some schools and school districts that are not working and they are failing our future.  There are some, like mine, that work and we are not alone in huge nation.   

Eager to be see if my passions were correct I have done a little research.       

The National Assessment of Education Progress has been tracking the schools progress since 1973.  There is progress it is slow but test scores show that we are improving. Not just in Math but Reading too.  The education gaps between the races is slowly closing.  Public schools still lag behind Catholic and private schools in these test but all three groups are moving up the scale to progress. Progress and increases have a statistical relationship with the amount of money that are invested in schools.  

Miller-McCune, did an incredible posting, "What are American School Doing Right?" about researching what those top countries are doing that is working.  Unlike what many are touting here in the states of privatizing schools the countries and townships found that the resources in the district model were best to turn the system around and keep it working.  That even though we keep hearing the barrage of criticism we are doing a ton right.  We may not be at the top of the list for test scores but we are still the global standard.  Our graduation rate maybe 70% but we have not gone down we are still getting better. His findings are that despite our diversity we are doing a great job, but it all boils down to money.   

Before you rush out to see a movie that shouts at what we are doing wrong check out what we are doing really right.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Touching Understanding

"Between our birth and death we may touch understanding, As a moth brushes a window with its wing." ~Christopher Fry

It has been raining here for the last two days.  It is always a sad event.  Three large dogs caged for sleep wake with a giant mud pit for a backyard.  Rain means wet walks.  It means dirty carpets and bad hair days. 

Yesterday driving to work I was grumpy and running late.  Rain sprinkled all around while the traffic crawled.  Parked at a particular light way too long my morning trance was broken. A big movement caught my attention.  Turning I saw it.  I dove attempting to fly past my truck stopped and took a bit of a break on the hood of my car next to the windshield.  Worried it would get hurt I slowed down.  It turned and faced the wind holding its head up enjoying the break.  I enjoyed giving it a ride.  She sat there and took the ride from Davis to Precinct Ln, four blocks.  Stopped at another light she walked to my side then flew away.  I drove on my grumpiness melted away.  Smile returned.  It was a good day.  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Query, Query oh thou douth slay me!

Two days straight and I am wearing out the delete key on the computer.  Same page has been filled and erased more times then I care to admit.  I've searched, googling my way into utter confusion. I some how end up completely spent on Facebook feeling guilty knowing the stupid letter won't write itself.  Peering around my laptop screen at the pile of hard work that has haunted me this last year I see it sitting nice and neat in the 3 inch binder. 

Why do I query?  The only way to break into the  sainted "Six Sisters," the six major publishing houses is to have an agent.  After hunting through the list of thousands filtering the correct genre, the type of experience, the locations and the authors they represent the list has taken major cuts.  Now down to two list the 'super wish list of champions' and the 'eh at least I will be published' list. I sit with a wretched sad start of a letter that is meant to be my foot in the door.    

The little articles make it sound simple.
  1. Purpose for contacting.  Holding back the overwhelming urge to beg and plea for representation, I instead have modeled it after what I have seen others do I settled on the..."I am seeking representation for my contemporary mystery, In God We Trust complete at 62,000 words. Enclosed are a synopsis and a sample chapter." Not thrilling but it is professional. 
  2. Prove you have done your research.  There is a fine line between kissing up, complementing someone and being snarky.  I have to admit I hate this part.  Giving complements to someone I know has had huge amounts of success is awkward for me.  I got nothing for this.  Thinking of skipping it and hoping that the fact that I am querying them says enough.
  3. Summary of plot, 5-7 sentences.  Up until this point I have worried that summarizing the book to those who ask would be like ripping the soul from the book and giving it to a stranger.  Trying to put the giant living being of this project into 5-7 magical sentences feels impossible.  Having written three different summaries each represent it, but each completely different I am at a loss as to which to go with. 
  4. Credentials.  This paragraph reeks!  A B.S. in History and Secondary education says nothing to my my ability to write.   I am not a journalist.  I blog...looked down upon by those in the 'writing community' because it takes no ability, anyone can do it.  I haven't even outed my writing ability to those around me till this book was completed.  There are no awards no past experience.  I sit alone with my finished book.  Hoping for a chance.