Memoir Reading Book Review

My favorite part of the book; was the idea of ABA as an interruption to some of the characteristic traits of a child with ASD is illustrated very powerfully in Catherine Maurice’s memoir Let Me Hear Your Voice. Maurice (who had a PhD in French Literature) had two children with ASD, and her memoir charts the journey through their diagnosis and treatment, as she wound her way through the minefield of therapies available in New York in the late 1980s. She ended up using a combination of treatments for her children and ABA played a particularly important role, although Maurice herself was initially hugely suspicious of its behavioral principles.

What I find interesting? Is in a social milieu dominated by psychoanalysis, behavioral therapies were considered to be an egregious violation of the child’s autonomy. ‘Behavior modification is morally reprehensible’, a psychiatrist in Maurice’s memoir pronounces. Maurice herself had enormous misgivings about taking her daughter into behavioral therapy, but the empirical validation for it was too compelling to ignore.

In Lovaas’s (1987) famous experiment, nearly half the children in the experimental condition receiving behavioral therapy made major developmental gains, with many of them being able to eventually participate in mainstream schooling.

Despite her excitement about these results, Maurice herself was initially horrified by what ABA entailed. She and her husband watched videos of children being taken through Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and felt appalled. It seemed so cold, and repetitive, and inhuman. But with few other choices, they found a therapist and began the program.

My critical analysis; like so many children with ASD, Maurice’s daughter did not want to be intruded upon, and certainly did not want to sit in a chair when she was told to do so. To Maurice’s enormous distress, her daughter would cry and collapse to the floor during this period, with the therapist calmly and firmly prompting her back to the chair. It was unbearable- Maurice was convinced that she was wrong to inflict such a therapy on her daughter, and also developed a throbbing resentment towards the therapist herself for so doggedly insisting that her daughter do things that caused her such distress.

Through gritted teeth, Maurice continued with the therapy, buoyed by her husband’s faith in Lovaas’s data, and the growing evidence of her daughter’s progress. But what I’m interested in here is the moment in the narrative when Maurice describes what for her will be a new way of thinking about her daughter’s autism, and her own relationship to it as a mother. Voraciously reading everything she could find about the condition, Maurice discovers a memoir by another mother of an autistic child- Clara Park’s The Siege. In the thick of the psychoanalytic craze for mother-blaming, and the idea that parents must somehow simply gently ‘love’ their children out of autism, Park finds solace and inspiration in one of John Donne’s religious sonnets. Here are the opening lines:

Batter my heart, three-persona God: for You

As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, overthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.

This sonnet blasted open Maurice’s thinking about her daughter’s autism. It became her ‘cry to arms’. From now on, she would intrude and interrupt; she would not wait quietly at the door for her daughter to come ‘out’ somehow from her condition, but rather break that door down herself. Maurice writes, ‘I did not learn how to wait; I learned how to stalk and hunt, how to overpower.’ The language is so strong here, and surely to some it must jar- how could one use such words to talk about one’s child? How could one strike the tone of Donne’s sonnet in relation to one’s own daughter?

For Maurice, however, a mother at her wit’s end, such a vocabulary became another kind of language of love- and indeed, it was partly the sonnet itself which made Maurice able to tolerate the intrusions of ABA therapy for her daughter in the first place. As she writes after the first painful session of ABA, ‘it was because I had been charged up by the idea of an assault that I was able to even consider this behavior modification.’ Her daughter ends up making remarkable progress, changing in tiny steps in front of her eyes.

My other thoughts; My point here is that it was terribly difficult for Maurice as a mother to see her daughter’s distress- her cries, her prone body on the floor- and that if she had not been fortified by Donne’s poem, she may never have begun the therapy in the first place. I thought of Maurice as I watched a mother similarly suffering while a therapist held her child in a chair, their body rigid with outrage and distress, their face a scrunched page of panic and refusal. The mother held her hands to her throat, and then to her mouth- and then she flew up from her chair, saying ‘Enough! They’ve had enough!’ It was unutterably awful.

And it was awful, if one looked at it shorn of context, or without the lens of behavioral principles- what it looked like was a stranger holding her child in a chair against their will, while they cried. Who in the world could bear this? No one! But it was also an instance of operant conditioning, in which task avoidance could not be permitted, and in which reinforcement would ultimately shape an entirely new set of behaviors and possibilities and powers, as indeed ABA would end up doing for this remarkable child.



Hitting the Jackpot!!

I grew up in an era when there were no video games or computers. As a youth my friends and I would sit around playing board games, cards or word games to entertain ourselves on a rainy afternoon. One of the games I enjoyed playing was a simple “word” game. One person would start a sentence with the words “what would you do if” followed by some situation and the other players would have to respond.

The only rules to the game were the situation had to be realistic and something that could actually happen, even if the odds of it occurring were remote and the answer had to be the same. Questions and answers such as: “What would you do if you hit the jackpot!!?

It wasn’t until years later while attending a psychology class in College that I learned the game I played as a 12 year old girl was actually an “exercise in deductive reasoning.” Many successful people engage in this type activity to work out solutions to everyday problems occurring in business or life. It is a form of planning or preparing for any type of situation that we may find ourselves in.

I dream about hitting the big one when I visit the casino my favorite place to be when I am stressed out. My immediate thought about buying that new car or house telling my boss what he could do with his job. These types of answers fall into the category of my immediate gratification, but they lack any long-term plans for the future of my winnings.

I admit that one logical explanation is that dreaming and fantasizing about “hitting the jackpot” is only natural for me who visits the casino. Fantasizing about winning a big jackpot is similar to the “What would you do if?” game I used to play as a child.

I will keep my money and have some sort of a financial plan to keep myself from squandering it away. I will give it much thought ahead of time and just step back and think about the money instead of rushing off on a wild spending spree.

One of the most sensible solutions for me dealing with a big financial windfall is very simple yet practical. I will put two thirds of the money I win into a bank CD or some other investment that I cannot touch for a full year.

The reason for this is that it will give me time to think about the money and formulate a plan for my financial future. I can still use the third of my winnings I didn’t lock away to celebrate and enjoy, but it will keep the rest of my money safe while I develop a plan to keep my new-found financial freedom for the rest of my life.

I hope to hit the big one! Luck comes and goes…..Knowledge Stays Forever.



Balancing Work and Family

As a single mother of two sons and one daughter I always seek a better place to work, to live, and search for ways to protect while at the same time strengthening my family. I have experienced work and family conflicts first-hand.When I lived in Georgetown, Guyana following a divorce; I dealt with the hardships and prejudices faced by working single moms. It was always tough, tending to the needs of my children and the demands of work as a K-12 classroom teacher and attending the University of Guyana for my Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.)  trying to balance it all. As a single mom I play the roles of both a mother as well as a father. This is the most difficult aspect of balancing my work and family apart from the financial challenges. I pamper my children as a mother and also scold them like a father when they go wrong.

After my baby sitter moved from my neighborhood and my dissatisfaction with existing child-care facilities; I asked my Principal at the Public School Department of Education where I worked if I could bring my infant daughter to work. I was rejected it was hard for me to argue with her because not every Guyanese single parent has understanding employers that were flexible.

I became a master in the art of multitasking; my share of daily struggles and long-term disadvantages the issues of expensive day care, shortage of quality time with my children, balance of work and home duties. My economic struggles were among the seemingly endless problems I had to solve.

My economic burden was not great; because the fact that I did not earn enough income my offshoot of this economic struggle was the balance of work and family duties. I often work overtime shifts and a second job to compensate for my low salary, thus taking time away from my children and other domestic chores. This resulted in placing my children in daycare service for up to 8-10 hours per day I paid large fees for this service.

The task of me balancing work and family as a single mom is not a joke. It was very difficult for me with such great tasks and I never tried to unleash my frustration on my children. I always take good care of my finances because the last thing I needed was a financial crisis.


Elusive Goal(s)

My elusive goal is to give refuge to refugee girls’ protection and education that are forced to flee from their homes to escape war, persecution, or a natural disaster.  The reason for this elusive goal(s) is refugee girls are vulnerable to violence and exploitation in all its forms. Women are frequently encumbered by caring for children, and along with girls, specifically targeted and subjected to physical and sexual violence from both sides of the conflict; especially those in Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, East Timor, Bosnia, and Croatia, to name just a few.  Sexual violence is a frequent feature of internal conflict as well, such as the recent political battles in Kenya and the current uprising in Syria.

My intent is not to take advantage of sexual vulnerability or exploit girls for monetary gain through sex trafficking and other forms of slavery, but to tear the fabric of society and punish the enemy; particularly in cultures where sexual purity is a source of family honor. I would dedicate to finding, sheltering, and educating unaccompanied refugee girls in Nairobi; especially girls from several nearby countries including Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi.  I would provide skills training in textiles, and education in personal health, HIV-AIDS, and avoiding exploitation.

Secondly, I would be for those refugee girls to achieve universal primary education; by ensuring that, by 2015, girls everywhere would be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. According to The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012, more than half of all out-of-school children are in sub-Saharan Africa.  No statistics are available specifically for refugees.  There are some schools in refugee camps, such as Dadaab in northern Kenya.  In Dadaab, over half of the total population of 463,000 mainly Somali refugees are under 18.  About 38% of them attend school.  A third of the girls between the ages of 5 and 13 go to school.  For ages 14 to 17, only one in 20 is enrolled.  Outside the camps, refugees are widely dispersed and impossible to track, but it is safe to say that few refugee girls are in school.

Thirdly, I would be for Gender Equality I would eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2015, and in all levels of education no later than 2017. Statistics are not available on the education of refugee children, so it is difficult for me to state with accuracy how the education of refugee girls in Kenya ranks.  Suffice it to say, few refugee girls’ have access to education.  I would improve the lives of many refugee girls. Without education, girls remain vulnerable.

When I hit the jackpot I would definitely help refugee girls because they are the most vulnerable people in the world.   In extreme and chaotic situations such as war, famine, and natural disaster, girls and women always are at higher risk than men and boys.  But for girls especially, once they have escaped the danger zone, they need help in finding safe shelter and a place where they can begin to build new lives.  This means not only safety from predators and abuse, but education and skills training. In order for them to make a life for themselves and escape a life of marginalization; my elusive goal(s) would be for these refugee girls to be educated and empowered to support themselves and make their own way in the world.




One place I always wanted to visit

I had always wanted to visit Australia, mainly to see koala bears, kangaroos, and Ayers Rock.  Last fall, I got my big chance – I had a free flight to Sydney and two weeks of vacation.

I arrived in Sydney on the morning of Friday, 12/18.  It was just the beginning of summer, and the weather was very much like California’s early summers – cooler and a bit foggy in the morning, and beautiful for the rest of the day.  I wandered around The Rocks, Sydney’s historical harbor area where many of Australia’s first prisons were established in the 1700s.  The Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are located in The Rocks, along with plenty of restaurants, pubs and shops.  That night, I met up with my daughter who was there on business, and we saw a ballet version of Madame Butterfly at the Opera House.

For the next two nights we stayed in Kings Cross, home to Sydney’s red light district which is particularly active on Saturday nights.  During the days, my daughter and I visited Manly Beach (via a ferry from Sydney Harbor) and took an Explorer bus tour of the city.  The Explorer Bus is a red bus that takes you to all the cool sites in Sydney and then some.  You’re allowed to get off whenever you want to see a site more closely and you can get back on another Explorer Bus (there are several running each day) and continue the tour whenever you like.  My favorite stop along the Explorer route was the Sydney Aquarium, which is at least ten times more impressive than the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

My daughter and I had no plans of how to get to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef, which is about 2500 kilometers (approximately. 1800 miles) north of Sydney.  We decided to rent a camper-van (“pop top”) and drive up the eastern coast.  There were several things to get used to – driving on the left side of the road, driving from the right side of the car, and operating a stick shift from the steering column.  I let my daughter do most of the driving.

After a few hours of driving north, the surroundings became more green and lush, and the air got a little warmer and stickier (this trend continued for the duration of our 10-day trek).  The beauty of the eucalyptus forests and hum of unknown bugs were broken by a siren beckoning us to pull over.  A New South Wales police officer ticketed my daughter for speeding (120 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone, which is about 12 mph over the speed limit).  We found that to be an excellent time to stop for the night at a campground, cook spaghetti and get eaten alive by mosquitoes.

The next day we headed towards Byron Bay, a Santa Cruz-ish town that is the easternmost point in Australia.  Once again, our pleasant drive was interrupted by a siren, but my daughter wasn’t speeding this time.  It turns out that I wasn’t wearing my seat-belt properly and our latest friend in the New South Wales Police Service gave me a ticket as my daughter videotaped the event.  Lesson learned: the New South Wales Police Service is really strict.

We drove up to Hervey Bay, where one can see thousands of bats fly out for the evening.  From Hervey Bay, we took a ferry to Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island.  Strict environmental regulations allow for limited activity on the island, but we were able to take a bus tour.  The vegetation was amazing and we spotted our first dingo on the shore by the site of the S.S. Mohino shipwreck.

We decided to make Christmas Day a very long day of driving so we could reach Airlie Beach by that night.  That was my first and last day driving the camper-van.  By this time, we were well into Queensland (the state north of New South Wales), getting closer to the equator (did I mention that the van did not have air conditioning?).  The gas gauge was on “E” and the petrol (i.e., gas) station we just stopped at displayed a sign reading, “closed for X-mas, next petrol 40 km.”  We forged ahead, and within two kilometers of the one open petrol station on the highway, the van started shuddering.  I downshifted twice until the van was just crawling along with the hazard lights on.  The petrol station was about 50 yards ahead when the gas tank went completely empty, and we barely coasted up to a pump in time.

Our Christmas dinner was less than spectacular – spaghetti, franks and beans.  Our most enjoyable day was the day after Christmas, when we went sailing to the Whitsunday Islands on Gretel, an America’s Cup challenger.  Once we arrived at Hook Island, we snorkeled for hours and saw amazing coral and fish life.

Our next and final Queensland destination was Cairns, which is probably the most popular city for tourists planning a scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef. My daughter and I spent four insanely humid days in Cairns, which is north of the Tropic of Capricorn and south of the equator.  During the days we toured the town (which isn’t anything special), went to a zoo, toured the Kuranda rainforest and went scuba diving for the first time.  The zoo had animal life that I haven’t seen in any American zoo.  At the zoo we had the opportunity to hold a koala bear, a practice which is banned in some states of Australia because of the stress it places on the animals.  While tempted, we chose to admire the koalas from a distance.  We were able to hold a juvenile crocodile (he was sedated) and the kangaroos were quite friendly, probably because they are used to being hand-fed by humans.  The rainforest tour was pretty amazing.  We took gondolas across a large expanse of the forest, which provided amazing views and dropped us off in the little town of Kuranda.  The scuba diving outing was more interactive.  We were able to touch several fish, sea cucumbers and certain corals.  Breathing with scuba gear on gave me the eerie sensation of turning into Darth Vader, but once underwater, I adjusted.  Also, this may have just been in Michaelmas Cay (one of the most common spots along the Great Barrier Reef for scuba diving), but many of us snorkeling and scuba diving were repeatedly stung by sea lice.  Just like the Darth Vader sensation, though, it’s unsettling at first but you get used to it.  Our nights in Cairns were spent in the swimming pool, trying desperately to cool off so we might be able to sleep through the night.  We didn’t have much luck – the two of us averaged about four hours of sleep each night.

One bit of safety advice that I’d like to offer to anyone planning a trip to Australia is to beware of the jellyfish.  It seemed like every beach we visited had a sign with photographs showing the physical scars of a jellyfish attack.  In Sydney and the surrounding areas, this is not too much of a concern as the potent jellyfish are farther north in Queensland.  Once in Queensland, however, be very careful.  If you spot a jellyfish, get in front of it so the tentacles won’t touch you.  Most of the beaches where the box jellyfish is present have netted areas in which it is safe to swim.  Because the box jellyfish can kill an adult human with its sting, it is very wise to stay within the netted areas.  Most scuba diving and snorkeling areas along the Great Barrier Reef don’t have the box jellyfish because the water is so shallow.  We were told about another jellyfish, the Iriganji, whose migratory patterns have yet to be understood.  The Iriganji jellyfish’s sting has not yet proved lethal, but the physical effects are excruciating.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, we flew back to Sydney and scrambled to our hotel in the suburbs (we left New Year’s Eve hotel reservations until the last minute and thus ended up a 40-minute train ride from the city) to get ready for the festivities.  We met up with my girlfriend who happened to be in Australia at the same time and the three of us ran to the Harbor Bridge just in time to see the midnight fireworks and an entire city full of drunk people.  We continued the celebration at an Irish pub in The Rocks and stumbled back to our hotel at 3 a.m.  Our last two days in Australia were lazy, as we were exhausted from the road trip and New Year’s Eve.

Some tips for anyone planning a trip to Australia:

  • The exchange rate is very favorable.
  • There is no tipping – not waiters, bellboys or anyone else.
  • Stay away from the jellyfish!
  • Vegemite is horrific.
  • The New South Wales Police Service is extremely strict.
  • Australians drink.  A lot.
  • Capsicum = Bell Pepper.

A Memorable Teacher

The most memorable teacher I had as a child was my first grade teacher Mrs. Williams. She has remained in my mind for many years as one of the best teachers I ever had, and it is not because I remember what I learned from the books in her classroom. I remember Mrs. Williams for her caring and nurturing personality. I felt like she was the best because I developed such a great relationship with her.

Mrs. Williams was new to my elementary school when I had her so no one knew what to expect.  Although first grade was a very long time ago, I am almost positive that I instantly adored Mrs. Williams.  She was one of those teachers who always had a smile on her face.  I cannot remember her ever getting mad.  It was her cheerful attitude which gave the classroom such a warm and friendly feeling.

Although my favorite memories of Mrs. Williams were when she was hugging us or smiling at us or simply making the class laugh, I know we learned a great deal in her classroom as well.  One of my most vivid childhood memories is of when we were in morning circle in Mrs.  William’s class.  I think we would do this every morning to discuss either current events or important information for the day.  One day I remember Mrs.  Williams asking us if we knew why that particular day was so important, and many students did know.  It was the day the Desert Storm War had ended.  Therefore, my memories prove to me that Mrs. Williams was a compassionate yet effective teacher.  There are also many other memories of things I learned in addition to current events.

Mrs. Williams was also always very creative.  I remember we had a classroom teddy bear named Penny.  Every week or so, one of the students brought Penny the Bear home and took care of it for a week.  We all treated Penny like a baby or little sister.  Looking back I realize that the activity was a big step in learning to care for others, but back then I was just so excited to be able to take the big white teddy bear home!

Mrs. Williams was also very passionate about teaching.  One weekend, she met some of her students and their parents at a nearby creek to search for tadpoles.  It was an out of school trip that she planned and did it completely for our benefit.  Finding and discussing the tadpoles we found helped me learn so much more than if I had simply learned about them from a book.  She was so excited about teaching that she went out of her way to explore and discover with her students.

Another fun memory I have of first grade is when I came into school the morning of St. Patrick’s Day and it looked like a leprechaun had been all over our room.  She had made little green footprints all around the classroom – the desks, floor and walls.  We spent the whole rest of the day trying to figure out where the leprechaun had been and where it had gone to!  Mrs. Williams put a true effort into planning her class activities.  She created a classroom environment that was fun and educational, an environment that would be remembered by her students for years!

After first grade ended I invited Mrs. Williams over to have lunch at my house. She came over and I can remember how special it was to have my favorite teacher at my house.  She put such an effort into caring for all of her students, even after the summer had begun!  Mrs. Williams was not a teacher because it was her chosen profession; she was a teacher because it was her passion.

I developed such a strong relationship with Mrs. Williams, that when she moved a few years later, we kept in touch through mailing letters.  We wrote back and forth until sixth grade or so, and then we lost touch.  I really wish I somehow had her address so I could write her and let her know that I am a teacher myself, K-12 teacher!

A Book I Would Love to write

A Book I Would Love to write… would be about ‘Misery’ because in my country Georgetown/Guyana my brother-in-law who was the driver, drove all the way to Pomeroon-Supenaam Region # 2 Anna Regina to visit his parents and siblings. Unfortunately he came across a big thunderstorm; he crashed his car and fell unconscious. When he woke up, he noticed that his leg was broken and instead of being sent to the hospital, he was rescued by an experienced nurse named Joan Jones who lived in the desolate suburb and claimed she was his number one super fan. She was deeply obsessed by his athletic physique, hard, muscular body because he was Guyana’s cricket coach. At the beginning, she was nice: fed him, bathed him and gave him Novril to relieve his pain. But when she found out that he was married and had to return to his wife and children she was furious and started torturing him. She made him miserable she had nothing but the power to make him feel better or painful as hell… my brother-in-law escaped from Joan and left alive.

I would love to write a book… which is related to this ‘Misery’ which shows the darkness of human mind. When things are out of our expectations, we may lose control. Just like Joan, she didn’t like my brother-in-law’s married story and refused to believe that the story of her ‘Misery’ was over; she then decided to make him suffer in pain. It could be too exaggerating, you might say. The truth is we may blame others when we have a bad time, just like Joan, and this will hurt the feelings of our friends and family.

Although I agree that Joan was insane and we could hardly forgive what she did, she was only a tragic character. As I see, she had neither friends nor relatives and therefore I am quite sure she didn’t know how to interact with people. Somehow she didn’t know how to cope with difficulties and accept the reality too. Finally her personality put herself and others in pain. I think people should not blame others for making their lives miserable. After all, we can live the lives we are living or live the lives we like. For some reasons, I think that Joan thought herself was ‘Misery’; having led a boring life, she wanted to have an adventure or a romance like ‘Misery’.

I would love to write this terrific book… that creates tension and spooky atmosphere, which I would dare everyone to, read!

If I was a character from a movie/tv show, I would be.. because..

I would definitely be Joan Crawford because her parents were divorced before she was born, she was extremely poor; and subsequently was able to use her talent to escape a life of poverty by dancing in contests and entertaining in nightclubs. I really admire her because of her struggles which landed her first movie in Pretty Ladies but it was her role in Our Dancing Daughters that made her a star both movies I love very much. She made a career comeback in her last great role in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?  Another inspiring/great movie that motivates me and I would encourage everyone to watch. I am fortunate to have most of Joan Crawford’s movies because her films represent some of her most requested appearances, and I am happy to have them.

Sadie McKee was made during the period when Joan Crawford was queen of the box-office, and every movie she made was sure to be a hit. The reasons for me to be a character like Joan Crawford because many of her movies followed a similar formula, where Crawford rises from poverty to wealth. If she can do it in spite of all her struggles anyone can do it with their own self-efficacy.

In Strange Cargo Joan Crawford movie was called Laughing Sinners. Strange Cargo was a rugged adventure story that eschewed the usual M-G-M elegance that had been present in so many of her movies. I loved the Seventh Heaven, The Mortal Storm; this movie is the rare action-packed adventure that carries an underlying spiritual theme which further enhances the Joan Crawford skills that is very motivating/inspiring.

A Woman’s Face another movie that shows how Joan Crawford break free of her usual screen persona in The Women, and in this dark thriller brought out one of the her best performances. The reason why I love this movie because it is based on the play “Il Etat Une Fois” (It was one time”) that casts Joan Crawford as a horribly disfigured woman whose inner pain motivates her to live a life of evil. A kind doctor gives her a chance to remove her outer ugliness, and shows her a path to love and happiness, and she adjusted to this after years of such darkness? This conflict allowed Joan Crawford to show her broad range as a talented actress, a task she felt essential at that point in her career.

The impressive character Joan Crawford played in her movies inspired me to be like her because of her happy endings.

My Passions

I love writing as much as I love reading books. I enjoy writing pages and pages of articles and I love writing book reviews. I love blogging, writing whatever comes into my mind and sharing it to my friends, family members and followers.

Writing is not enjoyed by a lot of people I know. A lot of my friends wish that the ‘essay’ part of the exam would be taken off because they hate writing 8 – 10 sentences, they are not in the mood to write anything at the moment, they do not know what to say or simply, they just hate writing.
In my case, every time there’s a need for writing, I jump for joy and I immediately start writing whatever comes into my mind or whatever the topic is all about as long as I’m interested in it. When I like a said topic, I always know what to write. It’s like, my brain is automatically generating the words, sentences and phrases, processing it to be one whole article/essay/entry and then voila! My writing is all done.

And so, I dream of writing my own novel and have it published and share it to the whole world but of course, not now because I am busy with college works and I have not got any stories in my mind right now, well, not publish worthy stories. But I hope to write a novel good enough for the public, just like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. I wish to be criticized and praised and pulled down and whatever a successful writer is experiencing in everyday of his/her life.

And yes, I do write when I am stressed with school, with my friends, with my family, when I feel down and alone yes, I do, sometimes, feel alone and I have no idea why). I write when I am happy and when I feel thankful. I write when I am bored and when I have nothing to do. To put it all in a simple, fine description: I write everything, because it in a piece of paper, in my blog, in my notebook, whatever.

In my honest observation, with my family and friends, not all people enjoy writing. In fact, only a few does and only a few blogs, articles, writings are worth reading. Most of the people I know don’t appreciate writing and sharing via blogs. Most people hate writing 10 or more sentences, what more a whole paragraph? What more a whole novel? What more a series of novels? Writing is a passion, a hobby, a talent that not everyone is enthusiastic about.

Basically, all I can say is the people who enjoy, love and is passionate with writing, are lucky that they are creative enough to form an essay, smart enough to write anything and are fortunate enough to appreciate any written samples, books, biographies and articles. I, for one, am thankful for I have found my passion, my hobby, my life.


If I wasn’t a teacher…

I would have been a writer and a journalist because; I have always had a passion for writing and journalism. In the second grade, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I insisted I would be an author. I loved to write far-fetched fantasy stories and illustrate them with colored pencils. In the “memory capsule” I made in first grade, only to be opened after high school graduation, I found a handwritten story enclosed about my bitchy household cat named “Sonia”.

The occupation of an author is still ideal, but reaching success in the literary world seems to be very hit-and-miss. Some excellent novels go unnoticed while other terrible stories gain national attention, like “Twilight.” Poets never seem to gain attention until after their death, and poetry seems to appeal to an exclusive audience. Writing creatively has always been an excellent emotional outlet and a wonderful form of myself expression.

It also gives me the ability to document certain occurrences that provoke an abundance of emotion. Looking back on past pieces gives me the ability to recall exactly what was happening at the time and what emotions I experienced.

But writing creatively doesn’t necessarily pay the bills, unless a writer gets a lucky break after submitting to a popular journal and gaining exposure thereafter. I eventually came to terms with the idea that writing can only be a side hobby, and shifted my attention toward studying to become a teacher instead.

I still enjoy writing in my free time or whenever I concoct an interesting idea. I never considered the impact and excitement of being a journalist until college, where I became part of the Guyana Kaieteur News staff.

Becoming involved with journalism was an excellent idea. I always keep up to date on campus events and other happenings in Georgetown City. I had the pleasure of attending various events held by student organizations, which helped to expand my interest and knowledge of groups on campus. My first year of college, I struggled with discovering when organizations were holding events, or what organizations were available. University of Guyana’s method of advertising seemed to only be hanging up posters in the hallways of various school buildings.

When I wrote stories for Guyana Kaieteur News, the thought of informing other students on campus was very appealing. I too struggled with knowing what events took place, where, and when. It was also an opportunity to give obscure organizations the credit they deserved for some of the programs they organized.

The idea that print newspaper is dwindling in popularity frightens me. Nothing beats holding an actual book or newspaper in my hands and acknowledging the hard work of the journalist who obtained the information. Since the internet renovated how people obtain their information, articles are easily available online. Even so, a journalist still has to craft an appealing story that still informs readers about current events.

Working as a college journalist has been a very rewarding experience thus far. Journalism also pays per story, so I was extremely lucky that I could have paid my bills doing something I love.

Why more people aren’t interested in journalism puzzles me. The potential opportunities, such as phone interviews with movie stars like Rachel McAdam’s and Julianne Hough, or press opportunities with popular bands are enticing in itself. Possessing the ability to interact with pop culture is incredibly thrilling.

Even though creative writing interests me most if I wasn’t a teacher, I know better than to pursue it as a career. Writing as a hobby still gives me an artistic outlet, but finding my niche in journalism is just as equally rewarding as teaching. Staying connected and involved through journalism is definitely an advantage creative writing does not provide.