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?