Friday, December 15, 2017

Tweet by New Pages on Twitter

New Pages (@newpages)
#Writers, don't forget online #litmag @trampset wants your brave, honest work of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction for publication in future issues.

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Paul R. Koch

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tweet by New Pages on Twitter

New Pages (@newpages)
#Writers, remember @criticalread is accepting true stories of the fine, literary, and performing arts. Check out pieces online and consider submitting your own personal essays.

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Paul R. Koch

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Danger of a Single Story

Of Mice and Men Socratic Seminar

Prepare for the seminar by reading the text, preparing your notes, and thinking about connections between this story, other stories we have read in class and other stories you, or your classmates, researched during the project.


The Setup


The Rubric

Why do you think the novel Of Mice and Men named after this poem?

List 5 stereotypes for men and 5 stereotypes for women.  Where do stereotypes come from?  How are women portrayed in the novel?  Why does the author portray women this way?

What is empathy? Why is it an important human characteristic?

Why is it important to society for people to be accepting of those who are different? What lessons can we learn from those whose live lives different from our own?

What is an individual’s duty to others?

Why is it important for people to feel like they belong?

What can the struggles of others teach us about ourselves? How can people’s struggles define who they become?

What are the elements that build a strong friendship? Lennie and George had an unusual friendship - how are people transformed through their relationships with others? How do you know if a relationship is healthy or hurtful? What can we learn as readers from the relationship between George and Lennie?

Can mercy killing be justified?

How are the experiences of migrant workers like Lennie and George similar to what people go through today?

What is the American Dream and to what extent is it achievable for all Americans? In what ways does the American Dream mean different things for different Americans?

ON TURNING UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785(A farmer ran over a mouse nest with his plow while tending to his fields)

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

          Wi’ bickerin brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee

          Wi’ murd’ring pattle! 

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion

Has broken Nature’s social union,

An’ justifies that ill opinion,

          Which makes thee startle,

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

          An’ fellow-mortal! 
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
          ’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
          An’ never miss ’t! 
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
          Baith snell an’ keen! 
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
          Out thro’ thy cell. 
That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
          But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
          An’ cranreuch cauld! 
But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy! 
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
          On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
          I guess an’ fear!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Tweet by the Same on Twitter

the Same (@__the_Same__)
Call for submissions: We are now open to #poetry #submissions ! Send us your best work, Ladies! (All work accepted before the end of the year will be considered for the annual print #anthology, regardless of publication date.) @submittable #womenwriters

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Paul R. Koch

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Six-Word Memoirs: Life Stories Distilled : NPR
Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."

In this spirit of simple yet profound brevity, the online magazine Smith asked readers to write the story of their own lives in a single sentence. The result is Not Quite What I Was Planning, a collection of six-word memoirs by famous and not-so-famous writers, artists and musicians. Their stories are sometimes sad, often funny — and always concise.

The book is full of well-known names — from writer Dave Eggers (Fifteen years since last professional haircut), to singer Aimee Mann (Couldn't cope so I wrote songs), to comedian Stephen Colbert (Well, I thought it was funny).

The collection has plenty of six-word insights from everyday folks as well: Love me or leave me alone was scrawled on a hand dryer in a public bathroom; I still make coffee for two was penned by a 27-year-old who had just been dumped.

Larry Smith, founding editor of Smith magazine, and Rachel Fershleiser, Smith's memoir editor, talk about the experience of capturing real-life stories in six words — no more, no less.Fershleiser's six-word memoir? Bespectacled, besneakered, read and ran around. And Smith's: Big hair, big heart, big hurry.

Six-Word Memoirs: Life Stories Distilled : NPR:

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Make It Better List - 1st Q mini lessons

On Cracking White City

On Cracking White City
The following oral history, recounted by James Farmer Jr., explains how the
Committee of Racial Equality (which later became the Congress of Racial Equality)
successfully integrated the Jack Spratt Coffeehouse in Chicago in 1941.

We went in with a group of about 20 — this was a small place that seats 30 or 35
comfortably at the counter and in the booths — and occupied just about all of the
available seats and waited for service. The woman was in charge again. She ordered
the waitress to serve the whites who were seated in one booth, and she served them.
She ordered the waitress to serve two whites who were seated at the counter, and
she served them. Then she told the blacks, “I’m sorry, we can’t serve you, you’ll have
to leave.” And they, of course, declined to leave and continued to sit there. By this
time the other customers who were in there were aware of what was going on and
were watching, and most of these were university people, University of Chicago, who
were more or less sympathetic with us. And they stopped eating and the two people
at the counter she had served and those whites in the booth she had served were not
eating. There was no turnover. People were coming in and standing around for a few
minutes and walking out. There were no seats available.
So she walked over to two of the whites at the counter and said, “We served you.
Why don’t you eat and get out?” They said, “Well, madam, we don’t think it would be
polite for us to begin eating our food before our friends here have also been served.”
So a couple of minutes went by and she announced that she would serve the blacks,
the Negroes, which was the term used then, in the basement. We, of course, declined
and told her we were quite comfortable. She then said, “If all of the Negroes will
occupy those two booths in the back we will serve you there.” We declined again. She
said, “I’ll call the police.”

The Gandhian Motif
Then I said to her, “Fine, I think that might be the appropriate step.” By the
way, we, still following the Gandhian motif, had called the police in advance, being
completely open and above board, everything, in notifying the authorities. We called
the police department and told them what we were going to do. In fact, we read the
state civil rights law to them. They weren’t familiar with that. [Laughs] They assured
us that if we followed the pattern which we outlined to them over the phone, there
was nothing they could do to arrest us. They’d have no grounds for making an arrest
because we were within our rights to insist upon service. And we asked them if they
would see that we were served as they were obligated to do by law, but this they
would not do. No, they wouldn’t do that, but they wouldn’t arrest us.

Police Arrive
So we said, “Perhaps you should call the police.” She did. Two cops came a few
minutes later, looked the situation over, said, “Why, lady, what did you call us for?
I don’t see anybody here disturbing the peace. Everything seems to be peaceful.”
She said, “Won’t you throw these people out on the grounds that we reserve the
right to seat our patrons and would serve some of them in the basement?” The cop
didn’t know. He went to a telephone booth and made a call. I guess he was calling
headquarters to see if they could do that. He came out and said, “Nope, sorry, lady,
there’s nothing in the law that allows us to do that. You must either serve them or
solve the problem yourself.” And the cops then walked out. On the way out they
turned around and winked at us. [Laughs]
We stayed there until closing time and then got up and left and went back the
next day, a little bit earlier, and stayed until closing time. And so on. They then tried
again to negotiate — without success. We went back in, oh, several more times and
tied up the whole afternoon, tied up all the seats. They were doing no business at all.
Finally they cracked. The next time we went in, they served everybody. And
accepted money. Did not overcharge us. We then sent an interracial group, a smaller
group, in the next day. Everyone was served. We then sent an all-black group in and
they were served. We waited a week and sent another black group in, and they were
all served. We sent individual blacks in and they were all served without any problem.
So we then wrote them a letter thanking them for their change in policy.

“Prelude,” from My Soul Is Rested by Howell Raines, copyright © 1977 Howell Raines.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Bullying: Why Zero-Tolerance Policies Don't Work | HuffPost

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Paul R. Koch

The New Stephen Curry: How the Warriors’ Super-Shooter Has Transformed His Game in the Playoffs «

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Paul R. Koch

Modern Family: “A Hard Jay's Night”

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Paul R. Koch

Review: In ‘Between the World and Me,’ Ta-Nehisi Coates Delivers a Searing Dispatch to His Son - The New York Times

Review: In ‘Between the World and Me,’ Ta-Nehisi Coates Delivers a Searing Dispatch to His Son - The New York Times:

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12 Creative Writing Templates for Planning Your Novel

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Paul R. Koch

Monday, October 30, 2017

In the Spirit of Halloween...

Let the Night Bring You Sweet Dreams
     When the old woman with wispy gray hair saw the baby at her doorstep, she was tempted to leave the child to die. The old woman never liked children and never had or wanted any of her own, but she was not cruel enough to leave the child. She would have gotten rid of the scoundrel, but no one lived in the woods where the old woman’s cottage sat, so she hesitantly took the baby in. When the old woman first held the baby, she did not gaze, but rather studied the child with disgust, expecting the vomit to erupt at any moment. Despite the old woman’s resentment for the child, even the old woman could not deny the baby was beautiful. She was a perfect baby girl, chubby cheeks and smooth, pale skin. The little tuft of hair on her head was a soft black and her mouth was the prettiest shade of pink. She was the doll every little girl wanted when the old woman was a child, every little girl except for the old woman, of course. Every part of the baby resembled an angel, except for her eyes, which were the purest obsidian, the color of the darkest night.
     The old woman’s disgust for the child lessened, though rather slowly. But as the old woman’s feeling of disgust lessened, a feeling of unsettlement began to settle in its place. The old woman could not deny the baby appeared an angel, but whenever she looked at the baby, the back of her neck would begin to tingle. The child merely sat. She did not cry, babble, giggle nor coo. She sat. Lips closed. Emotionless. Silent as the night. The old woman told herself she did not mind this. She did not desire a screaming red-faced abomination, but the sickening, prickling sensation would not go away.
     The old woman created a makeshift cradle from an old wooden drawer, which she kept by the fire. Every night, the old woman would sit by the fire and rock the child in her arms back and forth, back and forth, the soft cadence slowly lulling the baby to sleep. The old woman could not bring herself to gaze at the child, so she would stare at the child until the baby fell asleep. She would then look into the fire until the last ember’s glow faded into the night. Then she would take the little child and lay her in the cradle. Soon after, the old woman would fall into a dreamless sleep.
     One night, the old woman sang the baby a raspy lullaby and watched as the baby slowly drifted to sleep. She watched the baby for a few more moments in silence, then turned toward the dancing flames, entranced by its flickering tongues. When she finally turned back to the baby, she was surprised to find the small child staring back at her with wide dark eyes. The old woman frowned and said, “Go to sleep now, little child.” The baby stared back, expressionless. The old woman repeated, ever so slightly kinder this time, “Go to sleep now and let the night bring you sweet dreams.” The baby remained frozen. Then she smiled, but her eyes didn’t twinkle like the stars in the clear night sky. Her lips simply curved up at the sides, her eyes still and unchanging. The old woman found this a bit strange. This was the first time she had seen the baby smile, and she had not been expecting this. As the last ember’s glow faded into the night, the old woman laid the little child in her crib. The old woman then took her candle and walked back over to the crib to find the peculiar smile still on the child’s lips. Then the old women headed off to bed to fall into a dreamless sleep.
     The next night, as the old woman rocked the baby to sleep, she again became distracted by the flickering, scarlet tongues. When she looked back down at the baby, she saw the child’s wide obsidian eyes again, but this time, she noticed the slight smile on the baby’s lips from the night before. “Go to sleep now, my little child, and let the night bring you sweet dreams,” the old woman said to the baby. The child stared back, unmoving. Then the corners of her mouth curled upwards, ever so slightly, her eyes unchanging. The woman turned back to the fire and as the last ember’s glow faded into the night, she laid the little baby back into her cradle. The old woman then took her candle and walked over to the crib where she stared at the little child’s smile. Then she fell into a dreamless sleep.
     On the third night, the old woman rocked the baby to sleep. She stared at the flickering tongues until the last ember’s glow faded into the night. Then the old woman carried the little baby to her cradle. The old woman went back to her rocking chair and taking her candle, turned back to the cradle, only to find it empty. The old woman searched every corner of her small cottage, but she could not find the child. She checked her bedroom, looking behind her pillow and under the bed. Still, the baby was not to be seen. As the old woman walked back down the hallway to check the crib once more, she saw a faint glow and a soft flickering. The old woman slowly approached the growing light, and finally came into view of a roaring fire and sitting in front of it... a little child. The old woman stood, unmoving, and then the little baby turned her head. The child’s smile grew into a leer with a full set of glowing white teeth. Then the baby spoke. “Go to sleep now and let the night bring you sweet dreams.”

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Novel Writing Structure - NaNoWriMo

I took the following notes on novel structure while talking with Alex Scarrow, author of the Time Riders Series.

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