A well-read edition of Great Expectations
Okay, so I'm down to the wire with my schoolwork. One more book, two more assignments for English, two more units and one more assignment for Geography, plus film watching and exams, all to be completed by the end of June. Phew, gonna be close!
Anyway, next up on the list to read, and my final book for this course, is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I'm really excited to read it. It's such a classic that all the *real* writers out there talk about. I read the first chapters a while back and was in love. The language, description and scenery are a lot to handle, so I'm a little nervous with the time frame I have, but it should be good. Have you read it? What did you think?
To the classics!
Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story in 6 words and called it his best work. The story?
"For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."
I told my husband this legend and he scoffed and said he could do that, "No problem." So I asked him to try, and here's what he came up with. (I'm actually really impressed!)
"He left. Became a changed man."
Then I tried it myself, and dang if it isn't hard! Here's what I came up with.
"The mausoleum opened. He walked out."
What do you think? Give it a try and leave a comment below.
Hedda Gabler was the most recent book on my scholarly list. This play was written by Henrik Ibsen and is considered a naturalist play. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this play and it was a lot easier to read than Othello. It's written in everyday language and is far more entertaining to read than Shakespearean prose and blank verse, for me anyway, despite it's darkness. Cate Blanchette starred in this play in New York with the Sydney Theatre Company in 2006. I think there was varying reviews that stated either her greatness, or her apparent...not so greatness.
Apparently, there are various versions on film as well, which I've got to watch.
Grab a copy of the book if you enjoy reading plays. It's a quick, but engaging read. And is, of course, ripe with many literary devices.
Just some quotes for a little inspiration:
"You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it. Period." ~ Pursuit of Happyness film
"I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round." ~ Mohammed Ali
"I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want." ~ Mohammed Ali
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya
hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!" ~ Rocky Balboa, Rocky Balboa film
Go get 'em tiger, and don't give up until you've got it!
I just finished reading the next book on my study schedule, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Although it's considered a great classic, it's not my favourite book. It's also not the absolute worst though either. His style is very simple, which is supposed to be the best part of his writing, but I just wasn't feelin' the story.
First edition cover published 1926. wikipedia.org
The cover of my book. cherylwhitten.com
Have you ever read this book? What do you think about it?
A nine-year-old boy recently told me about some gruesome facts he'd learned from school of what had happened to some kids his age who'd been bullied: one hurt himself and one "ended up dead." The conversation was very candid and very organic, but at first I was taken aback. I wasn't sure how to respond, partly because I didn't like that such a young person knew such horrible things. Eventually, I said something about the serious consequences of bullying and the conversation turned to something else. I couldn't forget it, though. For some time, I've wanted to write about bullying and it's effect on me as a person and as a mother, but I've been too afraid, or nervous, and unsure of exactly what to say. Thanks to this boy, I've realized that if a little 9-year-old can talk about, why the heck can't I?
According to StopABully.com, a study on bullying was conducted by the University of British Columbia in 1999 based on 490 students (half male, half female) in grades 8-10. This study showed that 64% of kids had been bullied at school, 12% were bullied regularly (once or more a week), 13% bullied others regularly (once or more a week), and 40% tried to intervene.
The question I ask myself, and I ask you, is what would I do if my child was being bullied
? What would I do if my child was the bully
My children are age 5 and under and we've experienced bullying already, some at school and some not. Some has been with friends and family, and some not. It seems like it would be cut and dry when it comes to addressing it, but it's not. For some reason, I tend to think that I should teach my kids to be tough, to "shrug it off", that I shouldn't offend the mother by saying something isn't acceptable, and yet these things don't even make sense. I
should be the one offended that my friend has let his/her child hurt mine, not him/her because I've said something about it. Kids should never have to "take" someone's aggression, nor should they just be expected to "shrug it off." There is a line, and the key is to address it.
I have recognised that in trying to teach them that some things just aren't a big deal, I've totally confused them, and myself, about what IS a big deal. I've seen many, many kids being bullied and parents of the bullied, including myself, trying to address it, but totally unsure what to do about it. But, I now see that the answer is so very clear: When it comes to bullying, we don't take it. We make a stand.
If I don't, what kind of message am I sending my kids?
Children need to learn and be taught to stand up straight, use loud firm voices, and tell people to stop. And if the aggressor doesn't respond, find an adult. Children must learn to stand up for themselves, but there are times when it's just too much for a child and then it becomes the parents' job to intervene. And parents, I fully believe that stepping in and demanding responsibility and action from the other parents, teachers etc is required. Address the situation because if you don't, it could grow into something with dire consequences.
And the same goes for parents of the bullies. If your child is a bully, address the situation. Sometimes parents aren't even aware, but if it is brought to your attention, do something about it.
If my child was a bully, I would be so incredibly embarrassed and disappointed, but I sincerely hope I would use that embarassment as motivation to fix the problem instead of excuse it. I actually have no idea exactly what I would do. I've even talked to my husband about what we do, hypothetically, and we both don't have an answer. I do know that either way, bullied or bully, I am or would take a stand. It is never okay to be bullied, to bully someone else, or to sit back and watch it happen without stepping in. No one ever
deserves to be treated cruelly.
For more information on bullying in Canada, visit The Canadian Safe School Network
So, you've got a few things on your plate and you're wondering how to balance them all. Welcome to the club. With 3 kids, school, writing, household duties, job commitments and more, I have learned a few tricks to keep everything straight. Here's three things that help me:
Some people like to fly by the seat of their pants. Me, I like to have a plan. In fact, I've already got my summer holidays planned nearly down to the minute. Some people call that OCD, but in order to juggle everything and make things work, everything is planned. The Plan also usually contains some sort of contingency plan because it's guaranteed that at some point someone is going to barf. My kids even love The Plan. They ask every night what we're doing tomorrow, and if The Plan calls for free time, they're confused. The Plan usually means something is happening, so the idea that The Plan is actually not to have a plan is beyond a three year-old's comprehension.
"Ya, but what are doing tomorrow?"
I plan for the month at the beginning of the month, and then for the week at the beginning of the week, and then for the day at the beginning at the day or even the night before. It's the most effective tool for managing everything. I even plan times of the day for bathroom breaks. Not on the plan? Not doing it. Anal retentive? In more ways then one...
Think about it, though. Businesses aren't run on whims. They're run by appointments and planning. For example, if you're a doctor and you don't have appointments booked for the day, what the heck are you gonna do all day long? Planning is an essential part of any well-run establishment. Even Supermom has a schedule. She didn't become who she is without one.
How funny is this picture?
This second one really ties in with making a plan, but it is somewhat different. Every day I make a list of everything that needs to be done. It's usually in chronological order and errands are numbered by geographical positioning for which route will get everything done and me back to my house without having to drive down the same street multiple times. Ok, so now I really sound like I need a psycholical assessment, but, people,
time is everything! And, if I get a few extra minutes to read a book, then it's worth it. One of the best feelings in the world is scratching something off my To-Do list. It makes me feel like an olympic champion. Without the list, the plan goes to pot, and without the plan, the whole day is shot.
Work in intervals.
The third thing that works wonders for managing everything is to work in intervals. I work 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off. I set a timer and then bust my butt for 25 minutes. This works best for writing and schoolwork because it helps keep me focused and brings up my production. I get more done in two hours doing it this way than if I just tried to work for two hours straight. By the time the first hour is up, I'm "working" on Twitter and Facebook, or buying "supplies" on Gap.com.
You might ask, how do you teach your kids (or yourself) to enjoy the moment if you're always guiding them to plan the next one? Well, don't involve your kids in the planning. If you told them today that Grandma was coming next week, you'd never heard the end of it! Plus, they can't handle more than what's happening right now or today, so limit your announcements to the present day. My daughter always gets caught up in "what
comes after the next sleep", so I constantly have to remind her that we're only worrying about today. As for yourself, if you plan the way I've suggested (at the start of the month, week and day) you'll already know what's happening today and you'll be able to enjoy
the time you've allotted to working on what you want to accomplish. Don't give up on all spontaneity, though. You may just miss some good moments if you're too focused on your goals for the day.
Ok, so whoever invented the Easter bunny who hands out chocolate to children in copious amounts clearly does not have children! Have you ever seen a child with a sugar high? I mean, wow. It's just something else. I really don't think there's a drug out there that can do the same thing for half the price. (Wait a minute. I see a marketing opportunity here...)
Picture this: Three kids with chocolate-smeared faces shucking candy wrappers to the floor like matches on fire while jumping on beds, doing "tricks" (which really means throwing themselves against the wall like a bird flying into a window), and singing loudly. Much too loudly. Clothes do not get taken off or put on for bath time, bums are bouncing on chairs while "listening" to a story, and a faint humming can be heard throughout the house. The humming is me trying not to screech at earsplitting levels for everyone to shut up.
It might also have something to do with diabetic shock.
Really, though, who invents such things? I'm sure it was an old, shaky granny who said to herself in a wobbly voice, "Boy, those children really need another fairytale character to believe in that will break their hearts when they find out it's not real. And that character will be a bunny who hands out chocolate eggs, and it will be called...The Easter Bunny!" Obviously, it was a granny.
While we're on the subject, why is it a bunny and not a chicken? Shouldn't bunnies hand out, carrots? Or terds? Think about it. Bunnies don't run around leaving eggs behind. They leave little brown treasures. Wait, is that where the chocolate connection comes from? (If I just ruined chocolate Easter eggs for you, you're welcome. Check the calorie count, friend!)
Someone thought up this genius idea (and genius it is! Hello, candy!) to have holidays where candy is the only gift given, and he or she clearly was not a parent. Or if he was, he wasn't very smart. (Or maybe he was!) Then again, why do we, as parents, continue these holidays? Right. Memories, bonding, family traditions. Seriously? My kids are fighting over whose chocolate is whose and who gets more five seconds after they find it. And tomorrow I'm going to be fighting with my 3 year old about whose chocolate it really is. And then I'm going to gain that 5 pounds I actually haven't lost yet.
Clearly, we're not that smart either.
And clearly, the invention of the Easter bunny was both supremely dumb, and utterly Einstein-ian.
(And clearly, this post is totally random!)
**To be fair, my kids were actually really good this year, although the chocolate high really did happen. And my daughter went to bed with a sore stomach. I'm not sure how the rest of the week will fare though.**
**This event is now closed. The winner is Star, as chosen by the random number generated at random.org.**
In honour of the streamlining of my blog with my website, I'm doing a book giveaway. The book up for grabs is Greg Iles' The Devil's Punchbowl
. All you have to do is head over to my Facebook
page, hit "Like" on Cheryl Whitten, Writer, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know you've liked the page. Those of you who've hit "Like" since April 1st are eligible as long as you comment here to acknowledge your entrance. The draw will take place on Monday April 9th,2012 at 9 pm. Winners will be announced here and on Facebook. Good luck and thanks for entering!
**Blurb from author's website*
*Bestseller Iles's stellar third suspense novel to feature Penn Cage (after Turning Angel) finds the former prosecutor and bestselling novelist serving as the mayor of Natchez, Miss., his hometown. Frustrated by his limited ability to change the system, Cage is plunged into a deadly duel of wits with some bad guys after a childhood friend, Tim Jessup, now a card dealer, alerts him to illegal dog fighting and sexual abuse connected with a floating casino. Before Jessup can deliver proof of his allegations, he's tortured and killed. Convinced Jessup managed to pass on the evidence to the mayor, Jessup's boss confronts and threatens Cage. Daniel Kelly, an old friend working for a private security organization, lends support, sneaking Cage's 11-year-old daughter out of town to safety. Iles brilliantly creates opportunities for his characters to demonstrate principle and courage, both on a large and small scale, making this much more than just an exciting read.
Things a husband should never ask his wife while she's examining her wrinkles in the mirror and dreaming of Botox:
"If you could have five million dollars or me, what would you choose?"
Is he looking to be disappointed? She's going to pick the money. Every time.