Teach Me Something That is Deep In Your Bones

Life, Writing

How to read stories to a group of children.

First of all, DO NOT be afraid of them. They can detect fear like nobody’s business and if you are afraid then they will either be afraid also, or they will use that fear against you to manipulate you. Leave all fear at the door. Instead, think about what it was like to be a child.  Didn’t you just not care at all about what others thought? Wasn’t it silly and fun? That is how you approach a roomful of preschool children.

Remember that, in the kid’s eyes, you are a rock star. This will boost your ego and, thus, help relieve some of the fear.

Don’t even dare think about the parents. Pretend they are not there.

OK. So now that we have the right frame of mind everything is cake. Now you can have fun. Fun is very important. If you are having fun they will have fun, too. Why is this element important? Because we are teaching kids literacy skills when we read to them. But if you tell them this the whole facade comes crumbling down. We are offering literacy skills dipped in chocolate with rainbow sprinkles. And we are offering them with song and dance. FUN. Always have fun.

It is important to come prepared. Always read the book beforehand. If not you will find yourself in the middle of a terrible, horrifying story and you will be embarrassed and parents will hate you and there goes the “fun” facade. Always be prepared.

Read stories that you enjoy. If you don’t like the story the kids won’t like the story.

Read the story in a way that is engaging. Get the kids involved in the story. Have them help you tell them the story. Use silly voices. Use sound effects.

The most important advice, though, is to be present. Don’t be off, in your mind, somewhere else. Be right there with the kids, having fun and enjoying the moment. They are the most important thing at that moment. Treat them like that. Treat them with all of the respect in the world.

Sweet moment

I love this photo. It almost brings a tear to my eye. I don’t have very many photos of my mom and I together when I was a child (she was the one taking all of the photos). What a sweet moment between a mom and a daughter.

My cousin is the woman in the middle. This was taken on her wedding day. Her new husband is playing the guitar.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward


Rafael walks into a portal

This week’s theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is “Forward” and this image from my film swap with Brendan from Aware of the Void popped instantly into my head. I am still so stunned and blown away by these images, in fact this week everyone around me has been forced to sit down and see them all and listen as I analyze in great detail every single one.

If you didn’t catch the recent post on this particular project, I shot film here in Oregon and sent it over to Brendan in Ireland. He red-scaled and double exposed with images from around where he lives in Dublin. The effect is really cool and sometimes uncanny, as the case is in the above image. In this particular photo, my husband is walking down a road here in Oregon but looks like he is walking into some strange portal, which is really a ruin of a building in Ireland.

This photo, and this project makes me think of all of the exiting things I have yet to learn in film photography. I am taking a darkroom class in March and I really look forward (ha!) to it. I feel like I am on the road to a really exciting time, creatively.

International Film Swap


I mentioned awhile ago that I am participating in Aware Of The Void’s international film swap project. I finally sent some film his way a couple of weeks ago, he shot a couple of rolls and developed them this past weekend and the results are AMAZING. Honestly. The serendipity of the way some of the images are super-imposed is nothing less than, well, what is the word? Metaphysical? I don’t know. This is what I love about art. I love how things just happen. Art is experienced, rather than explained. And there is no way to explain this with words, so why don’t I just show you.

My part of it was shot here in Oregon, some of it on a walk to Wahclella Falls on the Columbia River Gorge. Some of it shot at McMenamin’s Edgefield in Troutdale. Brendan’s side was shot in Dublin, Ireland. If you are interested in participating check out his really great blog, Aware of the Void! You can also find more of his excellent photography on his  Flickr stream.

The story


Many of you have already heard this but I wanted to blog this anyway because it is SO AMAZINGLY WEIRD. I just don’t know what to make of it.

I have been weeding the Young Adult Fiction collection at the library. For those of you not familiar with library jargon, weeding is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. We need to make room for new books so we get rid of books that aren’t circulating. I’ve been going through each book in the collection, seeing when it has last checked out and figuring out the average times it has checked out in a year. If it has checkout less than two times per year on average, it’s outta here.

It’s valentines day.  I’m humming along, doing my librarian thing, minding my own business. I scan a (kind of dorky looking) book and see that the last checkout was storage. Which means it has been years since it was checked out to a human. The book was in storage a year ago while we were in our temporary building. I was getting ready to send it to the recycling bin but instead I opened it up because I noticed something inside. What I saw completely floored me completely because it was valentines day and THIS is what was inside this book that had not been in the hands of a human being for I don’t know how long: