What I Did On My Summer Vacation
by Despina MacKenzie
No longer single in spirit.
(End of the interior story's title page)
How I Came to Write This Book
This story is written as fiction, but there's some background here you should know about.
I teach high school English in Podunksville, Iowa. (More about that fascinating place later....) This past May, I challenged the handful of English III students who were going on into my senior Creative Writing Seminar to journal during the summer.
Oh, I was SOOO righteous! "My life is no more busy than yours. Write in your journals all summer long, and I'll write in mine. Every day. The first day we're back in the fall, you all already know what the cliched English assignment will be..."
A chorus of laughing and groaning student voices did a sing-song chant reminiscent of hundreds of grade school teachers, "What I Did on My Summer Vacation!"
"How I Spent My Summer Vacation!"
"My Summer Vacation."
"Let's turn it into a contest," enthused Aaron, a tall, string-bean of a sixteen year old boy with a rapier-sharp wit and a keen sense of competition. "The winner of the essay contest can be selected by the entire class. I'll even make the winner a cake with my own two little hands."
Jerry catcalled, "I'd rather have MINE made with flour, eggs, and water..."
I readily agreed. I promised to follow the "one head, one vote" rule scrupulously and to abide by their decisions.
But, as it turned out, an essay just didn't cut it in my case. The BOOK has about 400 pages, uncut...
If you'd like to read more about Podunksville and the fascinating area that created these beautiful children with such a joye de vivire, all you have to do is not skip the Preface
-- penned August 13, the last Monday before school started this year.
Last updated 11/7/01 from a question about the meaning of with alacrity. Despina, being a teacher, is supposed to be well educated, but bright enough not to leave her intended youthful audience in the dust.
I evidently really like the phrase with alacrity. I just found it again in Range War III, but there are plenty of context clues to aid understanding. Despina is enough of a teacher to improve her student's vocabulary painlessly. LOL
Last updated 11/18/01.
Sue suggests dropping the paragraph about Aaron loving to eat... 11/22/01.
Aaron also loves to eat. You probably guessed that when you heard sixteen and boy said in the same breath.
How do you think it reads without it?
The Sage of
Travels Far Woman
by Sandra Hugus
She lay sleepless yet again, wriggling around in a futile hunt for a more comfortable position, as if creating the right "nest" among the sheets, blankets, pillows, and comforter would bring the bliss of sleep.
Focus your thoughts on something, someone, or some place serene and peaceful. Imagine yourself in that place, with that someone, doing that something, or using that something, whenever you feel anxious.
"The modern mantra to replace counting sheep," she thought, cynically, squirming into yet another equally un-restful position.
Don't knock it until you give it a fair try.
"Okay. I will. I will dream up the perfect lover, and take him to bed with me each night I can't fall asleep," she resolved as a way to end her inner dialog. She dropped off before she got him created.
Last updated 11/22/01