Category Archives: English Teachers

Hindsight: From Grief to Verb Tense and Beyond!

From Grief to Verb Tense

The Prompt: Hindsight—Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.

My very first post was made on March 27, 2013. At that time, I thought my purpose in establishing a blog was to promote the book I’d been working on for the past two years,and so the blog was an announcement of the book and the next posting was a call for stories of how different people experienced and dealt with the grieving process. A few people did write in, but very quickly, I found that I didn’t want to be writing about and dealing with grief every day and this blog very quickly turned into a celebration of life again. Here is my very first post:

I’ve just sent the book I’ve been working on for 12 years to the printer!!!!

1 Master embossed -cream big & little spine copy copy

Lessons from a Grief Diary: Rebuilding Your Life after the Death of a Loved One
a new book by:
Judy Dykstra-Brown and Anthony Moriarty, Ph.D.

 A widow’s grief diary chronicling the illness and death of her husband as well as the process of her recovery from grief over the next eight years is analyzed in alternating chapters by a psychologist. Includes methods of overcoming grief, suggested further reading and ending notes that summarize main points of the book.

Available on Amazon, Kindle and in Bookstores, including Diane Pearl Colecciones and Jose Melendrez’s store in the plaza in Ajijic, MX.

(The only change I’ve made to this post is to say that the book is now available.  For some reason I’d never changed over from saying it would soon be available.)

Then, on April 1, 2013, I published this post:

Someone sent me an invitation from NaPoWriMo to write a poem a day for a month, but I need a website to post them.  Since this is the only blog/website I have, I’m going to use this one.  There will be a poem each day for a month, all written on the day they were posted, dashed off quickly, but what fun to have completed 30 poems by the end of the month.  Please join me and post your poems here, as well.

Earlier today, someone posted a comment, then wrote back to change “lying”  to “laying.” Of course, I had to fight my better nature and write back that he was actually right the first time.  I then included this little poem, written in about a minute, to soften that pedantic blow.  Yes, I really am a “reformed” English teacher.  But I backslide now and then:

Old English teachers never die.
They just advise on “lay or lie?”
Driving friends who are grammatically hazy
Completely crazy!!!!

With that 4-line ditty, the course of this blog was reset and quickly became what it is today.




College Daze

College Daze

I should have been cramming for English—­reading Macbeth or Candide­
and finishing off all my papers on Shakespeare or Becket or Bede.
But I always put off all assignments until the last possible minute,
lugging around every textbook without really looking within it.

When final week came, I was panicked. I studied all day and all night.
Living on No Doz and coffee, my eyes were a terrible sight.
Bloodshot and ringed with dark circles, they read on and read on nonetheless—
Chaucer and Dickens and Somerset Maugham (and Cliff’s Notes, I have to confess.)

My very worst procrastination was ten papers in just seven days—
my mind racing onward and onward as I searched for each insightful phrase.
Biology, German and history, psychology and all the rest
battled to come to the front and be heard when they came to be put to the test.

By the end I was crazed and exhausted, craving only closed eyes and my bed—
putting authors and symbols and figures and facts right out of my overstuffed head.
I could have avoided this torment, the pressure, exhaustion and dread
If only I’d started three months in advance to prepare for each “big day ahead.”

In college I fear I was guilty. I put all things off just a smidge.
I majored in procrastination and minored in marathon bridge!

( This poem is dedicated to Marti, Yvonne, Patty, Ramjet, Karen Rea and all the house hashers, with whom I wasted many a long college afternoon and evening expanding my mind by playing bridge. I must admit that I haven’t played it since, which is why I have the time to write a poem a day and post it on my blog. Sometimes we learn more after college than during!)

The Prompt: Big Day Ahead—It’s the night before an important event: a big exam, a major presentation, your wedding. How do you calm your nerves in preparation for the big day?

Poetry by Prescription: A Single English Teacher’s Lament


Today’s prompt was suggested by Ann Garcia, another “reformed” English teacher.  Her prompt:  Write a poem about grading homework.

A Single English Teacher’s Lament

Two periods of composition
have put me in a bad position.
With class size swelled to 38,
no longer have I time to date,
for teaching all to write a thesis
means my workload never ceases.

Each weekend I take home a pile
to check and grade and reconcile.
To try to sort them out is hard—
each sentence shuffled card by card.
Each comment must be made with tact,
their logic looked at fact by fact.

Each student had to write just one.
Now handed in, their toils are done.
While I have 76 to grade,
and now regret assignments made.
How many more? I have to ask,
imprisoned by this grading task.

I have created my own repentance.
I gave myself the thesis sentence!

Thesis: noun: thesis; plural noun: theses

  1. 1. a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.”his central thesis is that psychological life is not part of the material world”
  2. 2. a long essay or dissertation involving personal research, written by a candidate for a college degree.”a doctoral thesis”