Last weekend I was bored. I picked up Once by LT Smith, and let me tell you, I wasn’t bored any longer! Wow! It was a fantastic read! (And for anyone wanting to know the thought process of an author sitting in front of a blank page, the opening scene of this book is perfect.)

Beloved Lady Mistress (note the slight name change) is still going like gang busters. I’m into the final quarter of the book, and liking what’s on the page. I haven’t reached the point of complete and utter annoyance with it, yet, which is amazing in itself. Even now each new scene surprises me! That’s very unusual.

Heard from my PD Publishing editor! Yay! Looks like Broken Trails is on its way through the editing process! Can’t wait to get back to this one, especially with the Iditarod going on right now!

This week, I had in mind to do a writing prompt. Just something fun to keep things fresh on the site. I’ll be doing one every three months or so, so beware! I picked this one up from this site, which has got a lot to choose from! I randomly chose:

Ten Things I Learned in School — NOT in the Curriculum

1. Avoid Drinking Fountains — In second or third grade, I developed mononucleosis. Ugh! The doctor informed my mother that it was from the drinking fountain at school. I’ve avoided the things like the plague ever since. I have to be really thirsty to drink from one. I remember my mother having a mumps scare because of the swelling glands, and forcing a dill pickle down me — how she could determine it wasn’t mumps when I hated dill pickles, I’ll never know!

2. What Goes Up Must Come Down — I’m not speaking in the scientific sense here. Through the first few years of grade school, my social position was pretty high. I might not have been one of the uber-popular kids, but I certainly wasn’t bottom of the heap. For various reasons, I spent several years moving from place to place, school to school, and it occurred to me in my junior high school days that I had been one of the popular snots in elementary that I so detested in junior high. Definitely a humbling thought for a budding teenager.

3. Mouthing Off Has Immediate Consequences — My freshman year was fairly decent overall – one school, kids I’d known from the previous year, a couple of good friends, and a decent art class. (Not to mention that the previous years’ bullies were now lowly little freshmen themselves, and much nicer to me as a result.) There were two sophomore girls who acted pretty badass, girls I didn’t know. One day one of them made a comment about me kissing her ass. I off-handedly remarked that it looked too much like her face. Next thing I knew, I was being pounced on in the hall! ACK! They hounded me for the rest of the term, tripping me between classes, and pushing me when they could get away with it. Which brings me to the next lesson:

4. You Can Avoid a Fight — Always being the new kid made me quite adept at this. Of course, my ‘fresh meat’ status also gave me the freedom to be a coward without much in the way of social liability. (No need to prove you’re tough if you don’t have any friends to prove it to.) As mentioned above, I was the target of a pair of bullies in my freshman year. All in all, there was only one time that a teacher saved me from a fight; he stepped out of his classroom as the Deadly Duo had be doubled-over by the hair. Whew! Thank gods for a natural talent in sneakiness!

5. Shakespeare’s Actually Alright — In Lewiston, Idaho, the local theater troupe put on a production of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’. Arrangements were made to use the high school theater, and the entire school attended it over the course of two days. Wow! I’d had to read it in Drama class, but could never get into the thing. Seeing it on stage was a mind blower! In fact, I learned that plays themselves are pretty cool!

6. Don’t Get Comfortable — An unfortunate side effect of constantly being on the move, I learned fairly early on not to make many friends, and not to make plans for the future. We’d stayed for two years in Lewiston. At the end of my junior year, I was eagerly awaiting the next. I had big plans, you know! Computer programming was one of the science options, and I really wanted to go into the computer sciences. That summer, we moved to Caldwell — a smaller school, fewer resources, and certainly no computer science classes. In fact, I had to take a couple of classes to make up credits, as that school district required things I hadn’t needed up north. It took a number of years to get past the mind set of not putting an effort into anything.

7. Creativity — Ah, third grade, with Martha Anderson and Denise Stevenson. Martha was new that year, and she was an excellent addition to Denise and I. If memory serves, I believe we played Star Trek that year! LOL! (See my last post, The One Constant!) We had a really decent teacher that year, who encouraged us quite a bit. We ‘studied’ American Indians on our own time, and the teacher allowed us to do art projects during recess to continue our education. Do you remember those brown cardboard notebooks, similar to the Composition Notebooks’ you see today? We salvaged ours and created Star Trek communicators out of them. LOL! I remember getting my taken away in class! Geek from the word GO!

8. Sign Language — Seventh grade in Notus, Idaho, probably one of the most decent classes I had the fortune to enter. It was a one classroom grade, only thirty-some of us there, and I didn’t receive any of the crap that I got before or after when attending a new school. A handful of the kids knew the American Sign Language alphabet, and taught it to me as a matter of course. I spent the entire year passing sign language ‘notes’ in class to my friends. It was fantastic!

9. Every School Has…Something — I’ve attended twelve schools in twelve years. (Seventh was the Hel Year — three schools that year!) In almost every school, there was something unique and fun, despite the constant ‘new kid’ torture. Up in Donnelly, Idaho, they had Pioneer Days. We met a real mountain man, learned how to build a log cabin by doing it, made toys and played games that our forebears had. Lewiston High had a cool science department. Every semester you moved to the next classroom over, and learned something that appeared completely unrelated, but was still based in Biology. Even depressing Caldwell High had Mrs. Olive Elliott and the Literature of Tomorrow class! I never attended a school that didn’t have something going for it.

10. Flexibility — For many years after graduating I drifted along without any real goals. I know my education had been sketchy because each school was teaching things at different levels than the one I’d just left. It got to the point that I hardly tried toward the end, graduating with a piddly 2.79 grade point average. (Max is 4.0, for those who don’t know the American education grading system.) But I knew what it was like to be popular, to be the lowest of the low, to be picked on, to viciously tease others, to strip a log for a cabin, to program a computer, to avoid a fight, to smart off, to act in a play, to write a poem, to market a product, to write shorthand, to type… The list is endless, not just the prepared lessons, but how to get along with people outside of class. I’ve been the bully, the new kid, the thief, the asshole, the whiner, the class clown, the freak, the brainiac and more.

I don’t think I could write as well as I do, or understand characterization without my educational history. I used to curse my childhood because it separated me from everything that it means to be a kid going to school. (Sometimes I still do. LOL!) But these days I marvel at the things I come up with, and can easily point to my past as fertile ground that taught me so much about the human spirit. And though I occasionally daydream about what life would have been like in a stable environment, I have to say I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything.

Can I get some assistance? If you have any questions for me, or suggestions on what you want me to write about, please let me know! The comment form below will require a valid email address to ensure you’re a real person. (I don’t collect the addresses or do anything with them, so you won’t be getting future spam from me.) If that’s not to your taste, you can email me — the link is up above on the left.