The Paranoid Writer

When Life Gets in the Way

Weird Students: Fodder For A Writer

Dr. Evil. Hmmm.

It was indeed a weird semester for my college English class.

I think the one thing that puzzles me about the crazy students that I get is they don’t understand their professor is a writer. Their antics make them fodder for my writing.

Fodder is raw materials, and that’s what they are supplying for my writing.

Believe it or not, I had a student that didn’t write her own papers. In fact, I don’t think she could write, but I didn’t have any evidence. I know that her writing never matched her voice. One of her family members would send me emails under her name, and then the student would actually email me and ask me the same question but with misspelled words and very bad grammar. It was like one hand didn’t know what the other hand was doing. Then, she turned into a stalker. Her antics are fodder for story ideas.

I had a couple of students that turned in academic articles for their papers, but I didn’t have the evidence. Don’t the students know that I know their papers aren’t their own? I feel very bad for them because they will keep cheating, and as they grow older, the consequences get more severe in life. They’re my fodder for future characters.

Part of teaching is having these crazy stories with crazy students, who have not yet had the cord cut from Mom and Dad and just have not learned about taking responsibility for their actions. I had some students that blamed me for their bad grades because I didn’t remind them to turn in their work. Irresponsible? Blaming others? That’s fodder for some good characters.

I have to be grateful for the weird semesters and the weird students. Every time I was frustrated with some antic that a student would pull, I just had to step back and start laughing because I knew that the student’s personality or actions would serve for some character trait in future stories.

Hmm. Do you really want to be fodder for my writing?

Bring it on.




May 18th, 2012 Posted by | Fodder | no comments

For the Runners Facing Burnout

Runner Girl

Here’s a link to a post that I wrote for the Dallas Morning News last week. It’s about when to take a break from running when you’re burned out. Thought I would share:


May 9th, 2012 Posted by | Running | no comments

Meditation – That Was Weird

I’ve never meditated in my life, unless you count taking a nap.

After my yoga class, there was a meditation class for 20 minutes. Someone asked me if I was going to take it. Well, I didn’t think I could sit still for 20 minutes, but I decided to go for it.

Meditation - Weird Experience

Boy, did I get spooked. I’m still spooked.

It’s really easy. I had to lie on my back on my mat and prop my feet up with a round pillow, and I had an afghan comforter under my head. Easy. The instructor turned on the sound of waves and turned off the lights.

Apparently, we were supposed to breathe with the rhythm of the waves, but the waves were so slow that I was holding my breath, and then I was anxious that the instructor would know I wasn’t doing it right. Not so good, so far.

I finally settled down and got a hold of my breath and the rhythm of the ocean, well almost in rhythm. I was really relaxed, but then these images popped in my head. One was my daughter handing me a folder, and I can feel my right hand actually moving as if to take it. Weird. I can’t even tell you what the rest of the images were. I can’t remember.

I’m not freaked out yet. What sent me over the edge was that I could have sworn that my instructor was rocking my pillow back and forth with the rhythm of the ocean. I didn’t want to open my eyes because if he was right at my feet and saw my eyes open, it would freak him out and freak me out.

Then to make matters worse, I thought he was pressing on my legs, and they were getting heavy and sinking into the round pillow under my legs. I was really freaking out now.

To top it off, I could hear his voice, and it wasn’t in front of me. I spent the rest of the time feeling myself rock back and forth to the ocean and trying to figure out who was rocking my pillow. Was it one of the other students?

Finally, it was over, and we rolled on our sides. I thought I was going to throw up. Was I sea sick?

I did ask the instructor if he was rocking my pillow back and forth. He said, “No. But cool.” And I got a  dirty look from one of the students. I guess her pillow wasn’t rocking back and forth.

I left feeling scared to death, and the front of my head hurt all that day, and I felt sick.

However, I did feel less anxious, and the next morning I had a fantastic run.

What happened? I don’t know. Am I going to do it again? I don’t know.

I think what scared me was that I was not in control of my mind. That’s scary.

The whole experience really was just plain weird.




May 1st, 2012 Posted by | Meditation | no comments