Ultimately, Distracted

Sample entry for the Readers' GuideCan’t write with it. Can’t write without it.

Naturally, I’m talking about the Internet. (I could’ve been talking about computers in general, but I’d rather be specific.) It’s sad, really, that I think I can’t write without the internet, because obviously, I could. I’m just not sure that I can.

For millennia, authors have been penning the great works of literature, and even the great works of science, mathematics, medicine, art, and every other branch of knowledge, without access to the Internet. I’ve written plenty of things without benefit of Google, or any other search engine. I think back to scanning volumes of The Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature that was the mainstay of every paper I wrote in high school and my early years of college. My arms ache in remembrance of hauling stacks of ponderous books to wooden library tables. I made enough 3×5 cards to fill the drawers of my school’s card catalogue many times over.

When it comes to sheer creativity, I don’t need the Internet. But when it comes to verifying information, it’s a must. I am all about verification, and citing my sources.

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Editing, Writing, and Proofing—Oh My!

Term-Paper-Under-Construction3I’ve been called upon to do one of my favorite things: proofread my daughter’s final papers for school. I really enjoy this. She’s a great writer already, so reading her papers is a pleasure, especially compared to the writing of other students, regardless of their level of education. I’ve honestly been quite surprised at the dismal writing that most students offer their professors.

Today, she is finishing a paper on gender roles and stereotypes as demonstrated in Junot DíazThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Jhumpa Lahiri’s unaccustomed Earth, both of which I have read. (Great books! I was pleased with both, especially Oscar Wao, since I work with Hispanics.)

Sophia reads me sections of her paper and asks for advice about word choice (“Mom, what’s another way to say, ‘provocatively’?”) or phrasing (“I don’t like how this is worded. Can I say this a different way?”), though most of the time she’s right on the money. She writes thought-provoking papers that inevitably raise questions, and I like that.

Might April showers bring something else?


Of course, that’s not how the rhyme goes. But with any luck, tonight’s rain will bring a shower of poetic inspiration! Because I just found out today that April is National Poetry Month. (The picture at left is this year’s poster. You can click on it to go to the Academy of American Poets website for this event.) So, since it’s raining, which renders it particularly unsuitable for more outdoor pleasures, like gardening, I think I’ll go write some poetry.

It’s been about a year, maybe, since I last wrote a sonnet, which is my preferred form. The mood strikes me from time to time. I wrote this on 4 January 2010.

When inspiration comes, sometimes she finds
Me ready, willing, able, even poised
With pen in hand, no need to coax my mind.
The words fly fast flowing scarcely making choice
So fast they fly I’ve barely time to write
And stumbling now across the sheet they come
Almost unbidden. Such is this delight—
A sweet, unfettered joy—And then I’m dumb-
Struck, dense, and useless, like some rock
That sits unseen beside a less-trod road.
I’ll pace the floor, and pull my hair, and knock
My head again the wall to try to goad…
My mind will not be mined despite how I
Put ev’ry effort forth if soul won’t sigh.

Let’s hope inspiration comes, since I’m poised with pen in hand.