Friday, October 31, 2008

No Lazy Novembers

I must admit that this time of year, I stay busier than ever. Just home from two conferences (the community college system conference in Raleigh and the North Carolina English Teachers Association in Winston-Salem), I see no need to unpack my suitcase. Next weekend I will travel by train with members of the Holocaust class to Washington, D.C., where we plan to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as Congress and the Supreme Court. With free time to see what we wish, I eagerly anticipate returning to the National Gallery. Although I have absolutely no creative artistic ability, I am a great appreciator. I also hope to pay my first visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library. I've used their paperback editions for years when teaching the plays, and I have so many excellent lesson plans they have shared following summer teacher institutes. I guess it's as close to Mecca as a Southern Christian English teacher can get.

At the end of the month, I will attend the fall convention of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). I've been fortunate enough to attend the conference several years across the country, and I have never been disappointed. I always return rejuvenated and assured that I am indeed in the right profession.

So what am I doing in my spare time, you ask? I learned last week that November is National Novel Writing Month. Check out for details. The challenge is to write every day, logging a word count online, and to complete 50,000 words--the equivalent of a 175-page novel--before midnight on the 30th. Although participants are assured that quantity is valued over quality this month, I was also intrigued to learn that several past participants have sold their novels, including Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, a novel my book club enjoyed so much. Meanwhile, Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides (see my blog link) is offering an opportunity for poets in November: a prompt a day with a goal of a completed chapbook at month's end. So which am I planning to do? Both. Now I just have to decide whether to pack my laptop on the train to D.C.

If you're interested in participating in either, let me know. Otherwise, I'll let you know where to check for my daily word count. I'll keep you posted on when the book is due for release.

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