Tag Archives: writing

Busted for Plagiarism in 1974

It’s true, my life as a writer was derailed in the fall of 1974paper_school_story_writing by my third grade teacher.  I was caught plagiarizing and the truth is, I was guilty.  Not only that, it was one of those moments that I can recall like it was yesterday and I know it has had a profound impact “writing” life.

In my defense, the expectations were way too high for an eight year old.  A new three – four sentence story every day, really?  And, it had to have a picture to go with the story that filled the top half of the paper.

You remember story paper, one half has lines for neat printing and the other half is a giant blank space for the picture.  “Make sure you fill in all of the paper with your picture” said teachers everywhere.

If the diagnosis for ADHD existed back in the mid-seventies, I’m sure I would have been a candidate.  That being said, my teacher’s took care of my symptoms the old-fashioned way and found many reasons to send me out of the classrooms.

In third grade, my teacher discovered that I liked to write stories. (I was not so happy about the drawings, but apparently not bad at the story part.)  Each day I was given a blank piece of paper and told to write a story and THEN, the best part, I was allowed to go down to the kindergarten rooms and read my stories.

This little charade went quite well until that fateful day when I met writer’s block.  I couldn’t think of a story and I was desperate to get out of the room and visit the other classrooms.  So, I did what any anxious, hyper, third grader would do, I plagiarized a story and I got busted.

How can I remember something that happened nearly 40 years ago, because I got caught in the most mortifying way possible, in front of everybody.

I had watched an Easter special on television the night before and basically I retold the story as my own the following day.  I read that story to a room of kindergarteners and as soon as I finished a little red-haired boy in the second seat of the second row jumped up and yelled, I watched that story on television last night.

It got louder and louder with kids yelling out that they had seen that show too.  They were pointing and laughing.  I can see the teacher coming from the back of the room and asking if I had written the story.  I kept my head down and begged the black and white tile floor to suck me into the basement.  I can still feel the redness burning through my cheeks.

“Did you plagiarize this story?”  bellowed the teacher.  (I’m 8 years old lady, do I know what plagiarize means?)  “You can’t take someone else’s story and pretend it is yours.”  (Well aware of this fact right now.)  “You need to go back to your room.”  Without a word I bolted out the door and ran down the hallway to hide in a bathroom stall.

Eventually, I returned to my classroom and told my teacher that I didn’t feel like reading today.  She seemed preoccupied and didn’t ask me anymore questions, thank goodness for small favors.

Busted for plagiarism at age eight, a lesson learned and never forgotten.  I never wrote another story and English classes made me feel anxious right through college.  I have since recovered and learned to write again the first time I had to deliver a eulogy (click here to read more about my writing).

 

I write the blog that no one reads…(sung to Barry Manilow’s I write the songs)

Do you ever feel like you write and write with absolutely no certainty that anyone is actually reading any of it?  As I skimmed my latest “stats” I began singing the song “I write the blog that no one reads…” When my son asked me if that is an actual song, I googled the following for those of you who are too young to remember Mr. Manilow’s big hit!

http://youtu.be/0VH2SVes0E8untitled (15)

After playing the song for him, I reworked the lyrics to fit my blog writing to date!  I hope you enjoy my new song and if you read this, then let me know, perhaps I will be able to sing a different tune in 2014!

I Write the Blog Lyrics:
I’ve been writing for a year,
And I wrote my very first blog.
I hit publish and waited anxiously
I am writer
And I write a blog.

I write the blog that no one reads,
I write the blog of spammers and money schemes.
I write the blogs with stats that make me cry,
I write a blog, I write a blog….

Sing it with me now and if you are singing, consider giving me a Like or a Comment so I know I’m not singing alone!

Cheers! Happy 2014  and I hope you are writing the blog that everyone reads!

Spanglish – “No Space Between US!”

Spanglish quote

I love the unexpected.  I especially love when life gives you a moment in time that is so truly ordinary and void of expectation and suddenly (or even slowly) it turns into a pivotal moment.  An aha moment if you will, a moment of clarity and understanding.

Now, I never could have anticipated being thankful for the nasty cold virus that descended upon my house this past Spring.  As it made its way through the house, I suddenly found myself home on the couch with my teenage daughter, a shared box of tissues between us.

TV remote in hand, we found the movie Spanglish about to start.  I knew that I had seen it before but honestly my recollection of movies is sad at best.  I remember saying something like, let’s watch it, I think it’s pretty good or at least funny.  (A little sidebar from this post.  If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend it.  As a middle age parent, I think I related to every character at some point, even the drunken grandmother.  I included the trailer at the bottom of this post…let me know what you think.)

By the end of the movie the tissues were for more than the runny noses.  You see the end of the movie is a seen between a teenage daughter fighting fiercely for her independence and friendships all while she tries to shame  her mother by screaming at her on the way to their bus stop.  When the mother tries to speak to her daughter at the bus stop, the daughter stops her by saying “I need space.” The aha moment for me was the response from her mother when she says, “There is no space between us!”

The movie is narrated by the daughter as she writes her admission essay for college.  In the end she writes about “being her mother’s daughter ~ there is no space between us.”

At first I struggled with the concept because as a parent we worry about our children’s development and independence, “when to push them… when to back them”. If there is “no space between us” then does that mean she is not her own person?  Is she not living her own life, not mine?”

It has been several months since I saw the movie and have mulled over its message.  I am proud to be my mother’s daughter with all her strengths and her weaknesses, it is her blood that courses through my veins and I am proud.  I am not a perfect mother but it is my blood (sweat and tears) that courses through my children’s veins and for that, I am proud.   “No space between us ~ I am my mother’s daughter”, I thought that this was wrong, until I realized it was so right.

I would like to thank the cold that put life on hold and allowed me to watch this movie.  More importantly, I am grateful to have watched it with my daughter for whom I am absolutely certain, no matter where life takes her, there will be no space between us.

I don’t Tweet … does that make me a Twit?

twitter-bird-white-on-blueFirst let me fully admit that I am a social media newbie!  I have only recently learned that I can have a Facebook page for my business and that I “should” be marketing through a slew of other social media options.  I am currently “stumbling” through “Pinterest”, but it is twitter that I truly do not understand.

I have given it a couple of months and I am really trying to wrap my head around why I might need a twitter account. The only thing that I have tweeted are links to my blog (and I think that happens automatically). I have never found the need to tweet anything…ever?  Am I that boring?  Am I just a Twit?

I have been reading twitter posts to see what others tweet and here are the most recent tweets on my page:

@ a picture of Oprah and her French toast  (really?)

@ 15 things you should never say to parents of biracial kids (good to know, I guess)

@ From fairy gardens to butterfly kites, these kid-friendly projects are perfect for spring  (absolutely no interest)

@Does Twitter Distract From or Inspire Your Blogging?   (in this case I will say Inspires!)

@Building my herb garden pallet and using the Kreg. Love this thing!  (okay I might check this one just to find out what a Kreg is…)

Clearly, it is me, as millions of people cannot be wrong.  Perhaps I am just not following the right people.  Tell me in a tweet why I should follow you?  You can click on the cute little bird above or leave a comment below!

P.S.  I see future blogs about Pinterest and Stumble?????

Why does your brother even play basketball? by Tom and Jerry

For the Love of the Game

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, I know, I promised this would be about the “best” of youth sports, inspirational and humorous.  Even though the event was ridiculous and humiliating, the outcome was unexpected and perfect.

My twins, like most siblings, are as different as night and day.  They are tremendously talented in so many ways both complementary and distinct.   At these tween ages, ”Tom” is more athletic than his brother, while “Jerry” shows incredible talent for all things computer science.

This winter, the boys decided to play “town recreation basketball”, everyone makes a team, all teams even, etc…. The unfortunate side is that they were playing with older players this year.  Jerry is, no joking, half the size of some of these boys.  Basketball is not his sport, he did it to have fun?  Fast forward through a season of constant yelling, eye rolling, etc… by his coach.  He took it in stride and showed up week…

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Halfway between Newtown CT and the Boston Marathon

The Very Best of Youth Sports

IT’S MARATHON DAY!!!!!!! Going out to run my 26 minutes~~~
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I posted this comment this morning, thinking it was pretty funny.  And now a mere 12 hours later, we will never think about the Boston Marathon (any marathon perhaps) the same way again.

I live in a town midway between Boston, MA and Newtown, CT.  Both are now sites of unimaginable, unanticipated, tragedy. Both were beautiful sunny days, days to be celebrated.  Instead, today, once again, our televisions are full of news broadcasts, replays of the horrific ordeal and guesses as to the who, the why, the how.  With just a mere four months between them, it makes you wonder if this will become normalized, will we come to expect tragedy at any time, for any reason?

Family and friends are running/watching a time honored tradition in Boston, one I have attended countless times myself.  Photos of the first blast are taken directly in front of the building I watched the Marathon from numerous times.  Our next door neighbor and seven other high school seniors took a group photo not 20 feet from the bomb blast.  The picture is posted to Facebook and sent our little town, halfway in between, into a tailspin.  Thankfully they wandered away before the blast and they are safe.

My children were toddlers during 9/11, we were at a playgroup at the airbase where the jets departed to try and intercept the planes that had struck the towers. Our children don’t know a world without terrorism and I worry that they accept it as normal. They believe, for the most part, that the world is good and safe and that life will go on.  I can’t help but think that our children don’t really know what is good and more importantly, what a safe world looks like.

“Level One Mobilization” is what the news is saying now.  “Don’t say terrorism, you’ll scare the public.”  The President vows “to find out who did this”.  “Are the perpetrators foreign?”  “One of the victims is an 8 year old child.” The stock markets are plummeting.   They are telling us to be “alert and vigilant”.  “Homeland security – all cities on a heightened state of alert.”  Meanwhile the video streams endless pictures of fear and suffering.

558858_10151855786024815_1762904206_nI grew up with Mr. Rogers and I do like his sentiment.  The heroics of the first responders, “the helpers” are unbelievable today.  Firefighters, police and medical personnel ran towards the blast and for this we are grateful and proud.

I’m not really sure why I write this except that writing seems to be how I process tragedy.  In the days following 9/11, I wrote letters to my children as a way to assure myself that things would be okay (the letters are in envelopes to be opened at some later date).  Perhaps by writing it down and sealing it up, this will never happen again.  I was wrong, it is happening with alarming frequency and these past two events are ever so close to home.  I live halfway between Newtown and Boston….

The thrill of the “LIKE”

facebook-like-button-takes-over-share-button-functionality-28804238fe

As I sit here with my son, (aka Marketing and IT Director) we successfully launched my new blog and linked it to my facebook account (not as simple as it may sound).  Relatively quickly thereafter, someone clicked the LIKE button and I couldn’t help but shout “they LIKE me, someone actually LIKES me, they read what I wrote and they LIKED it”.  I would like to say that I write this tongue in cheek but the reality is I am thrilled to be LIKED!  Next perhaps a comment?

…the only mistake is not to begin (the irony of my tagline)

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I am a planner, there is no denying it, but sometimes you have to be a jumper. You can plan yourself to death, this I know. However if you are always planning, then you are not actually doing.

I can’t help but hear a very wise old priest, my uncle, saying “if you want to see God’s sense of humor, just tell him your plans!” So today I jumped, sort of by accident, but a jump nonetheless. I created a Facebook page for the website and future book that I am writing. I sent the page to a few friends hoping they could give me some feedback, when they of course they “liked” the page therefore making it public.

After a quick panic, I realized that even though I write about organization, and emphasize to everyone that  “it is not about perfection”, I somehow felt that this did not apply to me. Well, shame on me. The website is a work in process, the book is well outlined with a couple of chapters written and today, I jumped. The only mistake is not to begin….