September 18th, 2008

*gen - tiffany

Revising myself.

Today my students worked on revisions of their final essays for our narrative writing unit. We told them to avoid abbreviations and ampersands, and to write out numerals. One sixth grader raised her hand. "So, you're saying that you don't want us to write like we're text-messaging our friends?" Hee!

Overall, this group of kids have much stronger writing skills than I've seen in the past. Many of them already know how to bring out their individual voice in their writing, which is a key component of the curriculum. We've been working on the final essays all week, with revision the past two days. That tends to sap their momentum, and understandably so. Getting it all down on paper is fun, but editing can be really tedious (especially since I don't let them type it up and use spell/grammarcheck.) Even many professional adult authors dread having to pick up the red pen. I can go both ways. Sometimes when I'm writing a short little one-off, I want to finish writing and post it as soon as possible, sometimes without even rereading it; I'll admit I didn't edit some of the drabbles I posted last night, and it shows! On the other hand, when I'm working on a long story, I often go overboard on printing out each new section multiple times -- I prefer to edit on paper -- and obsessively reading and rereading, even if I don't make any actual changes. I spent nearly all of July writing "Object Permanence", and I think I went through a couple of printer cartridges. But I still get really antsy and want to post it NOW because, well, feedback is the big payoff when you're writing fic, and it's hard to stay patient when I want to get the story out there. ;)

One of the big pop culture topics this week has been the "skinny starlets" of the new 90210. Many of the articles retread the same complaints about Hollywood's obsession with thinness, but I suppose calling attention to it is still a good thing even if it's forgotten soon. The first essay I read was a semi-scholarly one that was linked on Jezebel, "Familiar Zipcode, New Bodies: A Critical Analysis of the Feminine Body in 90210", comparing the original and new casts. EntWkly received a lot of attention for "Are the skinny starlets of '90210' setting a bad example?", though my favorite was this from the LA Times, in which the author bemoaned how it seems like "looking good in a tank top" is now a requirement for all female actors under 50. And for some laughter, check out Go Fug Yourself's review of their wardrobes.

A few more links:

-- The NYT has a surprisingly helpful list of six food mistakes parents make.
-- txvoodoo linked to True Blue Women, which has a comparison chart of where the presidential candidates stand on major issues.
-- And if you haven't read/seen Craig Ferguson's rant about how important voting is, please go check it out!
-- From Mental Floss: 5 stories about Dr. Seuss, and a cool site in which a woman applied every Photoshop filter to a picture.
-- Vulture predicts which new fall shows will be cancelled first?
-- Oooh! Creepy-but-cool new promo for Friday Night Lights! That cover of "Devil Town" always makes me tingly.
-- Finally, do you get way too many forwarded e-mails from friends? You can politely and anonymously ask them to stop. ;)