Wednesday, March 30, 2011


“A kiss, a cry

Our rights, our wrongs

A moment, a love

A dream aloud…

And we won’t stop until it’s over

We won’t stop to surrender”

- McKenna, Lori. Song “Sweet Disposition” Temper Trap

When I first started the Social Studies job in September, I was overwhelmed. I had a textbook, an accompanying notebook, and two fat curriculum binders. The teacher had only introduced me to two classes before she left.

No plans, little direction.

While I was pretty sure it was impossible, I wished for the weeks to somehow fast forward like magic. Rather than experience them, I wanted to arrive at the end of them. One day at a time. I jumped from rock to rock across a wild river.

I lived for:


Field trips


Weeklong breaks

Where was the teacher I had trained to be? Where was the woman who made eye contact, full of confidence at the interview? Where was the mother in me who had rules, standards and consequences?

I was ashamed at my fear.

When I came home, I was a seashell without body. Nothing left to give. Meals were mediocre, time was spare. Weary bones hit my pillow an hour earlier than before.

I had little to give as a wife, mother, and WRITER.

I clung to the textbook like a life raft, knowing I needed to loosen my grip because I wouldn’t drown without it. Even if the teacher needed it, I had to trust myself. And I had to be willing to make more time. Precious little time. To plans lessons. Innovate.

Didn’t I promise innovation in my interview?

Hadn’t I mentioned differentiated instruction to reach all students?

Some children demanded it in their own ways. Protesting against boredom. So I planned a project. And another. And another. The hallway walls became lined with evidence of learning:

A few students thanked me for the fun they’d had.

And I began to have fun too. And I relaxed.

There was less:


Work to take home

Sleep needed.

And more:


Time for my family


What about discipline? Ups and downs like waves, was no way to run a classroom. I still struggle with that. But I’m getting there. In fact, this week, I get it.

Near the end.

Friday is my last day with the students as their sole teacher. Monday is the day the teacher returns. On Tuesday she takes over.

And I will go.

Students, parents, and teachers have said lovely things. I’ve received gifts. Hugs. My eyes have begun to fill up, but they haven’t yet run over.

That will come.

I ‘m glad that magic didn’t intervene to let me get past this, when I needed to go through this experience. I’ll surrender the job, but I won’t surrender:

The relationships I’ve made.

The lessons I’ve learned.

The lessons I’ve shared.

I buoy when a parent tells me a kid loves my class. Truth is, I love every single one of my students. And I will miss them. As painful of this is becoming, it is a bridge.

I won’t surrender my dreams to become a full-time teacher, or a writer.

What lessons have you learned?

What dreams are you trying to achieve?

"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."

-Helen Keller

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nature of Magic

Most of my writing has an element of magic. My brain won’t let me write about the real world without a paranormal twist. Here’s an excerpt from my nearly completed WIP, Naked Eye:

I don’t know how long I’ve been sleeping. Maybe I am still sleeping. There’s a buzzing in my ear, and I swat at the sound, sure it’s a fly that’s survived the chill. “Go away,” I mutter. That’s when things get weird. The buzzing becomes an old woman’s words, I am sure of it, even if I can’t understand the words. Then I can.

“Lucienne, when you wake tomorrow and begin to see people, they will seem different to you. Do not be alarmed. And do not tell anyone what you see. I’ll contact you to explain everything soon.”

I sit up, swatting the ear that had been exposed while I’d slept on my side. Whipping my head around, I’m sure I see a fly or even a person in the room with me in the dark. Nothing and no one. I’ve had dreams where I’ve heard a voice before so I’m not freaked out, but I’ve never remembered the words until now. Yawning, I burrow under my covers.

I dream about losing my eye as if it were really happening again. Then my dream changes to when I first received my fake eye, that strange tugging on my lid and inserting the foreign object I still hate.


In the morning, I empty a bowl of cereal and slump into my seat, cursing my alarm clock, wishing it were Saturday. My mother; all dressed in her real estate best chirps, “Morning, Lucienne. I have a meeting with a business associate tonight. Don’t wait up for me. And don’t forget the real estate conference is next weekend,” as she pecks me on cheek and then turns to the coffeemaker.

While she pours coffee into her cup, I gasp and drop my spoon, which clanks in the bowl. I heard her words but my eye, my fake eye, lets me know she’s lying. I know because I have x-ray vision like Superman. My mother speaks but I look past her face straight into her mind, and her true words swirl inside my fake eye. The one that isn’t supposed to see.

I don’t have a meeting with a business associate. I have a date. I’ve been seeing him for months, and I’ve been hiding it from you. And there is no real estate conference. We’re going to Cape Cod for the weekend.

Why is she hiding this from me?

Wait, why do I know she’s hiding this from me?

Whoosh, my head feels like a balloon and my heart stutters.

“Are you okay?”

I must look funny staring into space. “I just realized I forgot to do something. I’ll be right back.”

Before she can ask what the something is, if she even cares, I run out of the room and up the stairs, two at a time. So I can see better, I twist my blinds open. The morning sun illuminates my cluttered room. Slowly, I walk to the white table mirror and sit on the white bench. I’d thought the setup was glamorous as a child, but now the white bed and furniture with its pink accents looks like a little girls room. I see it for the first time.

I spot my reflection before I have a chance to sit down, and it makes me sink into the bench. My mouth is agape. My two eyes stare back at me.

And I can see through those two eyes.

“It’s not possible,” I whisper.

The doorbell rings, but it doesn’t occur to me Morgan is here. Or that I should be downstairs, opening the door to let Morgan in and squealing. I remember the dream from last night, and shiver.

“Lucienne, when you wake tomorrow and begin to see people, they will seem different to you. Do not be alarmed. And do not tell anyone what you see. I’ll contact you to explain everything soon.”

I lean so forward my nose nearly taps the mirror.

My door swings open, slamming the wall behind it. “Lucienne, why are you up here?” Then she really sees me. “What are you doing?”

Check out the other Nature of Magic participants, hosted by Tessa Conte:

1. Laura B Diamond (host)

2. Tessa Conte (host)

3. Dawn Embers


5. J. W. Parente

6. . : The Red Angel: .

7. Amalia T.

8. Donna Hole

9. Michael @ In Time . . .

10. ?HOLLY?@ On. . . Love, Life and Everything in Between

11. Artemis Grey

12. Trisha @ W O R D + S T U F F

13. Akoss@ A Search For The Writer In Me

14. Substitute Teachers Saga

15. Stephanie @ Scribbler to Scribe

16. Tizzy @ Impossible Dreams

17. Margo @ Writing at High Altitude

18. Karen Hooper@ Eternal Moonshine

19. Magenta Monster a flash fiction monster

20. A Possessed WIP

21. Natasha Hanova

22. J. C. Martin, Fighter Writer

23. Lindz

24. its KRISTAL kLEEr

25. RosalindAdam

26. Finding Bliss

27. N. R. Williams

28. Scheherazades Journal

29. Raquel Byrnes, Edge Of Your Seat Romance

30. Brooke R. Busse

31. Teralyn Rose Pilgrim

32. Rosie @ East for Green Eyes

33. Tanya Reimer- Lifes Like That

34. Sticky Note Stories

35. Anne-Mhairi Simpson

36. The Aspiring Sub-creator

37. Nature of Love, A blogfest

38. Daily Dodo

39. Blake

40. Attack of the Muses!! Monica Marier

41. MorningAJ at Jobbing Writer

42. The Wit and Wisdom of Another Sarah

43. Magick, Alchemy and Love. . .

44. Gladiators Pen

45. Mary W.

46. Stuart Sharp

47. Michelle@ beautiful chaos

I’m sorry, but putting names in Randomizer to choose winners is too much to do on my birthday. I’ll announce the winners next week, I promise! (Psssst, it's Shannon O'Donnell's birthday today too. Send her some love! )

Writers, does magic have

a role in your writing?

Friday, March 18, 2011

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… CONTEST!

5 Hundred Followers, I’m nearly there

4 Prizes, I’m going to share

3 Questions

2 Blogs

1 Elana

It’s time for a 500 Followers Contest. It’s hard to believe I just had a 400 followers contest last month. But it increased quickly when I joined Rachael Harrie's Writers' Crusade . (Thanks, Rachael.)

So, it’s time for a MARCH MADNESS contest!

You know Elana Johnson? She’s got a popular BLOG, an e-book From the Query to the Call From the Query to the Call, which helped me and is now FREE! ! She’s supported many author’s debut novels. Now it’s her turn to be supported. So most of the prizes are related to her upcoming book:

Mad-Awesome Prizes:

1. Elana Johnson's YA Dystopian Possession is coming out on June 11th. One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of the book after it’s released.

2. $25 Amazon gift card

3. 1 Possession bookmark

4. Your very own Question to Elana Johnson answered by Elana Johnson on VIDEO! In the comments section, ask Elana a question. The best, most original one will get his/her question ANSWERED on VIDEO on my blog in April!

(And if your questions are really good, I’ll compile them and interview her closer to the book release date.)

Jonathan Arnston is also having an Ask Elana two questions contest, so check out his BLOG.

Here’s what you need to do to enter

my mad-awesome contest:

1. Be a follower (1 point new, 2 points old)

2. Promote the contest (1 point each):





3. Leave a comment:

Tell me what you did

Total your points

Provide your e-mail address


Contest runs from 03/18-03/25 (ends at midnight EST)

Winners will be announced on 03/26 (My Birthday!)

Thank you for following, commenting, and for your support.

Love, Theresa


P.S. My last post seemed to resonate with a lot of people. If you haven’t read it, please check it out BELOW. I’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Effort to Seem Effortless

Paulina Porizkova, if my genes had cooperated.

I actually drew this picture in my high school sketchbook.

Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated. At least, mine was. I needed a role model to figure out:

what to wear

how to tame my curly hair

how to impress guys

and all those other mysteries that came with becoming a woman.

Problem was, my mother couldn’t help me. So I looked to my friends for help.

My family moved when I was nine-years-old. A girl my age with long, blonde hair (the kind I’d coveted since kindergarten) lived across street. Her mother made her befriend me. (It’s true.) But our proximity eventually elevated the relationship to Best Friends.

When we were thirteen, she became a cheerleader. She wasn’t the prettiest or most popular girl in our grade. But she was more than me. And while I poured through beauty magazines, practiced makeup for hours, agonized over clothing, and battled my hair…

She seemed above all that.

First of all, she had straight hair. Did I mention it was blonde? Because of Indiana Jones, fedoras became popular. She could pull off wearing one.

My curly boring brown hair and tiny head couldn’t carry a fedora.

Makeup came in two colors – blue eyeliner and pink lipstick. When my BF did wear makeup, blue eyeliner and blue liner looked perfect with her blonde tresses (at least we all thought so at the time. HORROR!) and pink lipstick gave her a perfect pout. Did I mention she had porcelain skin?

My mud-brown eyes, thin lips, and lackluster skin couldn’t pull off the blues and pinks.

And when we went Goth, she was Gothier:

While she channeled Siouxie from Siouxie and the Banshees…

…I resembled Vanessa from The Cosby Show (sans full lips).

Somehow, even with her lack of interest in her appearance, she always looked put together. And boys were interested in her.

More than they were interested in me, anyway.

My BF didn’t like to leave the house. Today, we’d call it agoraphobia, but back then it had no label. As a kid, I used to borrow a book from the library Angela the Dull Princess. Unkindly, my father called my friend that name behind her back.

When we got older, she’d go to school, say she felt sick, throw up, and return home. It took years before she was properly labeled.

Much in her life unraveled. And so did she. The ways I tried to help didn’t help much. And my own life was filled with misery. At some point my friend medicated, which changed her personality. I’d already been making the sole effort to maintain the friendship since she hardly went anywhere.

When we were about 19, I gave up.

Years later, I felt sorry I hadn’t explained why I stopped coming by. I reached out a few times, but she wasn’t interested in anything beyond an apology. Whatever we had in common was long gone.

I never really wanted to be like her, I wanted to have her Could-Care-Less attitude. Now I realize she cared too. She hid, which is different from not caring.

I suspect most of us have known people who seemed to have it together. Beneath that exterior lurked demons we may not have known, at least, not at first. It reminds me of the show "My So Called Life" because Angela is drawn to Rayanne, who appears carefree, but is a BIG mess.

In Kirsten Hubbard’s debut book Like Mandarin , Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. The premise of this book resonates with me. Check out Kirsten Hubbard’s BLOG for more details about the book.

Tell me:

Who would you have given

anything to be like?