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Showing posts from July, 2015

When the Mighty Fall

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My admiration for ToKillaMockingbird began in high school. It was one of the first books that made me fall in love with the rhythm of words. My love grew to obsession when I had to teach the novel year after year to my students in English II. Rather than analyze characters and plot elements, I used TKAM as a way to teach LIFE--to focus on the value of courage, equality, innocence, justice. Like many well-meaning teachers, I placed Atticus Finch on a pedestal as the literary hero who emulated all of these qualities. I would often tell my students: Be Atticus. I would often ask myself: What Would Atticus Do?

As a teacher, I've read TKAM an estimated ten times, but it's also imprinted on my writer DNA. I have parts of it memorized. When I'm stuck in the mire of my own writing, I open to a random page and let Harper Lee's words remind me of why I string words together to make a sentence-- a paragraph--a page--a book.

Like so many fans, I was THRILLED when I heard about the…

One Hundred Years

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"Are you really going to wear that?"  Tracie, my roommate, asked me as I slipped on sweat pants and my favorite worn hoodie.

"Yes. Why?"

She raised her eyebrows in disapproval. "No reason."

I brushed off Tracie's scoff at my clothing choice. My brain felt fuzzy from the lack of sleep after pulling another "all-nighter," which became customary as I finished my last semester at Texas A&M University. On that early December morning in 1997, I threw on sweats to turn in my last paper of my undergraduate career, and then I would take a nap. Little did I know what the day held.

After I turned in my paper and yawned my way through the last lecture of class, I met Jason near the library. We had been dating for over two years, and I knew he was "the one." Instead of his usual athletic apparel (he was a kinesiology major), Jason wore a button-up shirt (ironed!), Wranglers, and boots. I eyed his fancy attire suspiciously. "Why are you…