Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Squirrel and the Donkey: My Life in Media

Today, Class, we'll be learning about Topic Sentences.
When I was in graduate school and teaching Freshman English at Stanford University (yes, parents of Stanford students, you paid bazillion $ to have your child taught by a 22YO who had no clue what she was doing), one of the requirements was to have my class filmed and then to go over the tape with a pedagogical Jedi Master. Seeing yourself on film, so the theory went, would reveal your great teaching moments, your missed opportunities, and any possibly distracting tendencies or mannerisms. Maybe. What I learned is that I move like a squirrel. You know--quick, jerky movements, a tendency to hold things to my mouth with both hands and gnaw on them with little buck teeth... Okay, maybe not that last item, but check the boxes on the first two. Ugh! How could anyone learn from a squirrel?

I've since been videotaped two more times, once for the Seattle University Book Festival and once for a promotional video about Eastside Academy, and let me tell you, I am not cut out for television. The squirrel impersonation continues (Seattle U), and the critter has really big pores (EA video, which thankfully I have no link to). How actors can stand to have their faces projected on a two-storey-tall movie screen is beyond me. Not flattering.

This week I discovered another animal lurking in my media arsenal: a donkey. As in a braying laugh. Hee-haw. (N.b. -- donkeys really do "hee-haw." We were (un)fortunate enough to see our first "Living Nativity" a few weeks ago, complete with live donkey, live camel, live sheep, bored angel, and eight-year-old in patriarch beard. The baby donkey stole the show, pacing and hee-hawing and eating the set.) I discovered this tendency to make an ass of myself when Bill Thompson of "Eye on Books" interviewed me about Everliving for his new site/program The Bookcast. Bill is professional and pleasant, and the other authors he's featured managed to behave themselves, but I seem to do an awful lot of nervous laughing during my interview, including one outright bray. Sigh. He does ask some interesting questions, though, and we have a good time, so if you're in the barnyard kind of mood, give a listen.

Meanwhile, writing continues. Chapter 21 and counting!


  1. You mean the laugh right after "Victorian comedy" @ -31 secs? Laughing with you NOT at you.

    Melissa T.