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Showing posts from November, 2007

Virtual Non-Reality

If asked what I think endangers America's youth today, I'd reply that virtual non-reality is the greatest danger because our youth haven't lived enough to recognize that illusion can lead to delusion and nihilism.

How do we fight virtual non-reality among our children when they would rather play video games or chat online than read a book or write a short story? Is life so harsh that they must escape this way or has this way replaced life?
Just some thoughts on a topic that concerns me and other teachers I know, especially creative writing teachers. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

A Call for Student Short Stories

Students Publish Here is calling for student short shorts that address the qualities of gentleness and patience. The stories must be between 350 and 550 words and should be edited before they are submitted. A panel of 3 published writers (also English teachers) will judge the submissions and the three top stories will be published here with the students' names and states of residence. The Deadline for emailed submissions is Feburary 15, 2008. Work may be submitted in pdf form or as a Word document.

Here are 4 recommendations:

Develop a strong main character who the reader can identify with quickly. The character can be quirky, but the problem he or she faces should be something many people can identify with or have experienced.

We want to see the characters and where they are. Use descriptors that show significant small details and/or evoke sense memories.

Start the story as close as possible to the climax. We want to start reading where the drama peaks!

Provide a satisfying resol…

Moral Courage

On this Veterans' Day I give thanks for the many brave Americans who have served in the United States Armed Forces. My father, a former Air Force pilot and JAG, was among them. He died 18 years ago this week.

I give thanks also for those who still serve, including my son who recently returned from Iraq. I've experienced first hand the anxiety of mothers and fathers whose sons and daughters have been in harm's way. These parents too have sacrificed and deserve to be remembered and thanked.

For two years I taught writing at a boys' military academy. I also wrote the curriculum for the school's Character Education and Training for Leadership. Our school's President was Colonel James P. Carruthers, a fine leader who instilled moral courage in our cadets. On April 29, 2005 James P. Carruthers, fourteenth President of Millersburg Military Institute, spoke to the Corps of Cadets on Moral Courage. This is an excerpt from that speech.

"Gentleman, I have come to see t…