Showing posts from January, 2010

More evidence that spelling maters

I once saw a student misspell 'Turn of the Screw' as 'Turn of the Shrew' ... So, what else to do, but to browse one's bookshelves for other potential animal classics ...? ' Mansfield Bark' - a novel set in 18th century England countryside in which the main characters are well brought up dogs who wear bonnets, bows and dresses.  These dresses reveal a not-inconsiderable portion of their chests.  They live in a manor house and hold a ball for all the local, lower-class dogs, during which there is a competition to see which of the dogs has the best bark.  Of course, the Mansfield dogs win, as it would not be seemly for dogs of a lower status to do so.  The dogs leave the ball, but do not dare complain about the injustice until they reach the end of the two mile long driveway.  Then, they all leave their calling cards just inside the tall, iron gates, even though that usually only happens between 2 and 3 in the afternoons. ' Purrsuasion' - Same s

Evidence that I can get a link right twice in a row

Hey, you poets, and even you not-poets-but-why-not-have-a-go-darn-its.  Have you seen the Applehouse Poetry Workshop blog?  It's coolio.  You get set a challenge like 'Write a 100-line poem containing no vowels' and 'Write a sonnet shaped like a limerick' No, not really - I'm only joking - although it sounds a great idea for a blog. You do get set a challenge, but they're a bit more sensible than that.  I loved the New Year one in which you write a list of things you've never done and then finish with something you have.  You'll see my poem in the comments (I've mentioned it in my 'What I've Just Read' list - go and see why) and there are some fab poems being offered. Here's the LINK, THE LINK, THE LINK, TO LILY THE PINK, THE PINK, THE PINK ... or, in fact, to the Applehouse Poetry Workshop Blog Happy poeming. (Will this woman ever stop using stupid made-up words, using capital letters, and digressing from the point?)

Evidence that it's never too late to learn, even if you are going grey and have saggy bits

Yay! Yay! I have learned how to create a link which isn't just the boring old URL by attending the Mark Kerstetter school of blogology and listening carefully, so thank you, Mark. The link (I did a link! I did a link!) is way, way longer than the URL itself which is the kind of irony I really, really like. If you press on this link (link! link! I did a link!) you will get to my guest blogger spot on Mark's blog on which he posts arty-farty things I barely understand but also Friday Flash pieces which I think are great. Enjoy using My very first ever link. Yay! Yay! Yay! I'm not as past it as I thought I was. (Yawn, yawn, oh my word, is that 8pm, it must be bedtime, bring me my cocoa, dear.)

Evidence that spelling really does mater

Have you heard of the novel called 'Turn Off the Screw'?  I noticed it mentioned in a student's exercise book once and I was most intrigued.  I have read one with a similar title by Henry James, but this one was new to me.  Perhaps it was about some children whose governess has special skills in plumbing and who, to keep them busy and to keep their minds off some strange behaviours she indulges in, gets them involved in helping her sort out all the water systems in their large Gothic house.  (Large Gothic houses are well known for not having the best plumbing - this explains why so many of them burn so easily and quickly in books.) How different things would have been if similar misspellings had changed the titles of other well-known classic texts ... The Picture off Dorian Gray - the tale of Mr Gray, a handsome young Victorian who has his portrait painted, but then refuses to have it hung on the wall, instead insisting on taking it everywhere with him.  This makes rom

Reasons why you should do army training before teacher training

A tragic and moving poem in which a new teacher realises that her expectations may have been somewhat unrealistic ... I’d read all the guide books on classroom control. I’d got it all sussed; a quiet class was my goal. I’d a will made of iron and peace in my soul. I was calm. I’d browsed on the Web for discipline tips. I was fully prepared and completely equipped. And I just would not tolerate anyone’s lip. I’d no qualms. These things I remember now, here in the gloom, Locked by Tyler O’Neill in the stationery room Hoping someone from Senior Staff will come soon With a key. These things I recall as I massage the bruise Shazza Rogers inflicted with mile-high shoes When I dared to mention her F—k me tattoos. Silly me. Those nostalgic days when the future seemed bright Before Shannon and Julie used set squares to fight And Ryan McPhee set the waste bin alight With a fag. I’ll be here all night long on this chewing-gummed floor Reading John Barrett’s conquests he’s scratched on the door.

Reasons why one should live in a detached house if one thinks one might be misunderstood

I bought my husband a CD about birdwatching for Christmas for him to listen to. It has information about different kinds of birds and their individual songs and calls. He plays it very loud.  The neighbours are bound to be able to hear it. What are they thinking is going on?  It's the middle of winter, for heaven's sake, and thick snow is on the ground.  Basically, there ARE no birds around.  Just, it must seem to them, in the living room of those crazy people next door. So, our neighbours could be thinking any of the following. 1. We are trying out some unusual romantic games from a book written by an ornithologist/sex therapist entitled 'Whisper Tweet Nothings in His Ears and Spice up your Marriage'. 2. One of us has developed a rare form of Tourette's which means we punctuate our sentences erratically with bird noises ... 'Darling, would you like a cup of CHIRRUPCHIRRUPCHIRRUP - sorry, I can't help it - hot chocolate and a TWEETTWEET - oh, I&#

Evidence that I too can write about Art. Just not in an intellectual way ...

' 'Okay, so diagnose ahead, Mr SmartyPants Doctor, but try sending me the bill!  Ha ha.' I wonder how the Mona Lisa feels about getting her medical diagnosis hundreds of years after she's died.  I thought waiting lists in the UK were long, but that's taking it too far.  (See the link below if you haven't heard the story.  And can someone let me know how to do the link thing properly so it's included in the sentence and I can overwrite it with something like 'do your clicky thing here for a dead fascinating story about the Mona Lisa's cholesterol' and then people can just link to it straight away?)     (I mean, does that link look boring, or does that link look boring, compared to 'do your clicky thing here for a dead fascinating story about the Mona Lisa's cholesterol'?) Anyway, doesn't this diagnosing of medical conditions in famous paintings take the romance out of art

A shape poem. Unfortunately, not my shape.

DIET or MENSTRUATION IS NOT THE ONLY CYCLE A WOMAN GOES THROUGH I went on a diet on January First.  By Feb I felt quite a success.   By March I was thirteen    pounds lighter and     could get on      my little     black      dress.      In April       I stayed on       a plateau, but      by May I was finding     it tough.    In June I had    quite a few bad days.  By     July I had had quite enough.      I decided, as it was near Christmas,       Though the pounds were beginning to tell,        I would eat fit to burst until January the First         And         from            then          on          just          diet           like           hell.