Showing posts from May, 2010

A Winning Spirit of Contagious Enthusiasm

Their enthusiam rolled over me in waves of joy and excitement.  Each time I read a name, their raised voices drowned out anything else I could say.  I had to wait and give their acknowledgement and cheers its due. Where was I?  Attending an awards ceremony at the SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.  My purpose?  Presenting the awards from the state-wide high school writing competition sponsored by South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW), a non-profit organization that I've had the honor of serving for the last three years. Each year, SCWW sponsors a writing competion for high school juniors and seniors.  We award a First Place, Second Place, and three Honorable Mentions in each of the categories of Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction. Last year, I discovered the incredible atmostphere at the Governor's School in Greenville, SC when I presented the awards to the 2009 winners from that school.  This year I returned, amazed at the accomplishments of these 

Some Weeks

Time challenges me today.  Not because I'm overwhelmed with things to do, but because my neck won't turn left or right.  So, this entry will be quick, down and dirty (ie very little fine tuning). A lock down like this makes me re-evaluate the past week and note the steps leading up to my immobility.  A week ago, I spent Tuesday fasting in preparation for a colonoscopy.  Woo hoo, good times.  I'm thankful to say that no major problems surfaced from this procedure that confounds the digestive system.  Just a note to those who've never had the pleasure of the big C, they blow air into you and you spend several days waiting for all of it to escape.  Got the picture? Last Thursday I logged into my work email to try and figure out how to manage the incredible volume of work headed my way this month.  Alas, every single class rescheduled and my last week in May went from 4 training classes to none.  Maybe it's good that all of them rescheduled, but that's a blow to

Hook Line or Sinker?

We stared in horror, our feet stuck to the pavement, too shocked to move while the man we nicknamed Jesus climbed over the railing, turned and lifted his hand in a twist of a wave, and tilted his body forward until he fell into the raging water below. OK. I just made that line up. The question is does it intrigue you? Would you want to read more? Writers need to ask these kinds of questions every day, especially about the first sentence of any story. Gone are the days when a writer devotes several pages to creating the setting of a story and to bringing you up to speed on the main character’s past. Writers must start with a bang and move quickly into action. This is nothing new in the world of media and entertainment. Journalism 101 instructed us to get as much of the crucial facts in that first sentence. Readers of newspapers don’t typically stick around for the whole article, so that first sentence better wow them. The internet makes this truth even stronger today. Movies and

"I" Before "E" Exceptions by Me

I just learned that I have a new power! I can rewrite the rules of English grammar. No, I wasn’t bitten by a spelling bee or a writing spider, although that would be a cool concept for a story. Other people give us power. Mine came from a participant in last week’s Business Writing class. At the end of the one day class, participants filled out the evaluation form to rate the instructor’s skills (that would be me) and the provided materials. The form, also, provides comment sections. Under the area that asks for recommendations for improvement to the class, a participant wrote, “Exceptions are confusing.” This class devotes about two hours in the morning to common grammar mistakes. Exceptions to the rules are not typically covered during this time—because they can be confusing. We discussed a few rule exceptions because of questions that surfaced during the class. But really? A recommendation for improvement is to fix the exceptions to the rules of English grammar? Wow, the