Various And Sundry

Inspiration continues to elude me when it comes to blog posts. So today’s a bit of a mish-mash.

Recognition

Adrienne of Middlemay Farm recently nominated me for the Dragon Loyalty Award. Having made the difficult decision (okay, all decisions are difficult for me) to go award free, I won’t forward this one or provide random facts about me (you know how difficult that is, too). But I will highlight Adrienne’s blog, in case you aren’t familiar with it.

Adrienne is, in her words, “a writer, living in the country, who milks goats, chases chickens and sometimes keeps the dogs off the table while writing books about the Weldon and Crenshaw families of Gilded Age Englewood, New Jersey.” Her first novel, The House on Tenafly Road was selected as an Editors’ Choice Book by The Historical Novel Society.

If you haven’t yet stopped by to see her amazing array of historical photographs and thoughts, please do so. (Historical in that sentence is really meant to modify only the photographs, not her thoughts!)

Interpretation

Although fewer than normal, the comments from people who did check in on last week’s tidbit from Summer at the Crossroads were encouraging. I was so glad to see that the tension factor was there. They got me thinking, though, about how we interpret character behavior cues provided by the author. I think most people picked up on Kathryn’s discomfort with the situation. Yet, I wonder if the cues I provided (and continue to provide in the scene) will be interpreted the same way by all readers. Will everyone recognize by the end of Chapter One that Kathryn is simply an ______________?

Contemplation

For some reason, I recently remembered an event from kindergarten, which was, shall we say, sometime in the 20th century for me. And I got to wondering what it said about my five-year-old self’s thought processes.

Maybe some of you had something similar. At our “activity table,” there were three buckets filled with water and labeled as below. A variety of objects of different weights, densities, and sizes were near them, similar to this:

I’ll bet you understand what the teacher wanted us to do.

The idea, of course, was that we would pick up an object and place it in the bucket marked “???”.

Honestly, what else would anyone do?

If it floated, we would move it—you guessed it—to the bucket marked “float.” If it sank? Obvious—into the “sink” bucket it went. Easy peasy, right?

Well, enter me and my first crack at the table. I knew what the three buckets meant to my teacher. But what did I do? Er, something a lot like this:

Seriously—wasn’t this more efficient?

It made perfect sense to me to dump everything in the “sink” bucket first. Then, I picked out whatever floated and put it in the “float” bucket.

I can still remember the teacher’s rather bemused reply. “Well, that’s a different way to do it.” I was probably the first student in her years of teaching who had ever approached the “problem solving” from that angle.

In that brief moment, five-year-old me may have channeled Alexander the Great, who, legend has it, approached the Gordian Knot in a similar manner. According to one version of the legend, the knot could not be unraveled, and Alexander solved the problem by slicing it with his sword.

I assure you, that was likely the sole similarity between me and the world-conquering Macedonian. And I prefer to think of it not as cheating but as thinking outside the box.

So would you have met my teacher’s expectations with the buckets? Or did your kindergarten self think in ways that surprised the adults?

64 thoughts on “Various And Sundry

    • Why does WordPress insist on sending all your comments to my moderation queue? My blog is set up to only moderate the first one!

      I’m not sure my teachers ever fully understood me, even if they thought they did. Then again, I think we’re all capable of surprising those who know us well—even ourselves, sometimes. :)

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  1. Hmm. I would have arranged things the way I THOUGHT they would go. They moved things when\if I was proven wrong.
    Interesting.
    And I often wonder if my character reactions are universally clear enough. Obviously I could worry about that forever since, as you’ve just proven, everyone thinks differently. But it’s always on my mind.

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    • I’m beginning to realize readers might have approached those buckets in even more diverse ways than I expected. :) Maybe we’re still open to different forms of thought at that age and cultural expectation haven’t completely “set” in us.

      When it comes to our characters, I’d have to bet that some readers will form images in their heads that run counter to everything we “know” we said in our writing. And we’ll be wondering just how the heck they got “that” idea. But at least they’ll be reading, right? :)

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  2. When I saw the extract, I thought you had cleverly used the three options for readers to follow (float), wait and see (???) or express dislike (sink). After all, we talk about books sinking without trace. I still think that would be a very good variation on the Follow invitation. It attracted me, as I thought, ‘Oh good, a quirky writer like me,’ and as you see, opened up the full package. Glad I didn’t find the bucket upended on me.
    Now I see you’re an archaeologist I expect to find your writing deep, historic and very surprising. lol x

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    • Well, your comment proves that other bloggers, like yourself, can come up with much more creative posts than I tend to do. :) I had fun doing up the graphics, and they’re not typical of what I’d normally do. But even this introvert who enjoys her routines also likes to mix things up once in a while! And now you’ve reminded me that I really haven’t done an archaeology-themed post in quite some time. I’ll have to work on that….

      Thanks for joining in the conversation!

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  3. I love your approach to the ‘bucket’ problem. It showed early signs of that open and investigating mind you enjoy today. It made me smile. These bucket sized problems are the kind of thing I would like to fill my day with, but I don’t think I’d be able to pay my gas bill if I did that :)

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    • Thank you, Peter! Ah, if only there weren’t bills to be paid—or we lived in a world where we were encouraged to pursue our interests and not “a good-paying, steady job.” I suspect we’d all be a lot happier, and the world would be a nicer place. :) Although, I wonder what kind of fiction we might write if everyone was happy most of the time. Hmm….

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  4. How interesting that memory comes to you at a time when you are wrestling with how to satisfy readers’ “expectations” regarding your novels. I don’t think it is a coincidence. And, perhaps you should take a closer look at your kindergarten self – at that age we are less confined and less worried about what others think of what we do or how we do it. We simply do it and move on.

    As for me, I think the mystery bucket would have unnerved me and I would have tried to figure out float and sink on my own. :)

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    • I’m thinking you might have been a bolder five-year-old than me. ;) At that age, I was not only introverted but very shy. Hmm, some things don’t change…. Luckily, some of the kids in my class were more outgoing and got me over some of the shyness so I could participate in class to some extent. But as long as I can remember, I’ve been extremely conscious of how others might view my words and actions, worrying that I’ll do something wrong or embarrassing.

      I”m probably overthinking the rebuilds in some ways—worrying whether something will work and whether I should write it or wait. But then I know I underthought the original stories, naively (but happily) pantsing my way through them before I really knew much about everything that goes into a good story. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I also wonder if I’ve learned enough and if I can put the knowledge into practice.

      It’s fascinating to see the different responses people have regarding those buckets—I suspect it shows the creative mind at work! :) By the way, you have to read Char’s comment below if you haven’t already. Her experience is just priceless!

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  5. I was one of those kids who on the outside did everything the “right” way while harboring a simmering rage at the idea that school existed at all. I kept all of my curiosities outside of school which equated to school/hell vs. the rest of the world/heaven. My brother got in trouble in kindergarten for refusing to color in a picture of Columbus because he said men didn’t dress that way. If I was a teacher I would have thought that was funny. :) I became a teacher but found it impossible to follow the rules. I would have applauded your style!

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    • I’ve always enjoyed learning, so I didn’t mind school too much. Although, I always knew I was different from the kids who loved hanging out and talking about everything and nothing, and I never thought I really fit in, although I tried. Now, I realize I was an introvert trying to fit into an educational model than encouraged extroversion and considered that the “right” way to be. My report cards were full of comments like “she does very well on individual tasks and is very smart, but she needs to work on her social skills and working with a group.”

      Your brother’s teacher could have taken that reaction as a way to introduce him and the others to history—to learn that people didn’t always do things the way we do now. I hope he wasn’t “reprimanded” or “corrected” for his attitude!

      I suspect the best teachers are rule breakers—and so, unless they’re in a progressive district, find themselves regularly looking for a better position!

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      • Haha, Yes I was the straight A kid with the “quiet” comments on the report card. I love learning. I found school to be excruciatingly slow and most of the time a curiosity killer.

        I think I’ll write a book–Everything I Didn’t Want to Know I Learned in Kindergarten :)

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  6. J, you and I are on the same page today! I too finally posted and it’s just a bunch of gibberish. Not that yours is. It’s funny. I love that bucket thing. You solved it far quicker than anyone else. I don’t know if I would have done the same thing. If I had it wouldn’t have been from any reasoning skills–just an impatient thing of wanting to get it done. I was impatient even at five. I love that story! The five-year-old you was definitely thinking outside the box.

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    • Because I’m so quiet around those I’m not familiar or comfortable with, I’d bet people think I’m very patient. But I’m not. Sometimes I just hide it better than others, I guess. ;) I’m most impatiently awaiting the results of my Ancestry DNA sample. My husband got his in 17 days, and I’m now at a month! I already have a blog post I want to do about it, and I can’t write much of it until I get those results.

      I haven’t had a chance to visit your post yet, but I’m willing to bet it isn’t gibberish at all, Brigitte. I’ve never seen anything like that from you! Maybe you don’t consider it up to your normal quality, but I’m sure it’s still a good one. :)

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  7. I would have totally bypassed the sink bucket, thinking it was for the dumb kids! (I’m serious!)
    I know I’d have looked at each object, made an assumption of sink or float–based on the limited knowledge of a 5yr old, of course–and then tested my assumption by throwing the object in the bucket. I’ve never been timid about making mistakes! hahahahaha!

    JM, this post was far from a mish-mash! In fact, I rather liked it! :)

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    • I’m really surprised at the different approaches you and others say you would have taken. If we’d all been in my kindergarten classroom that day, my teacher may have fainted! :D

      But, oh, never timid about making mistakes? I cannot begin to imagine what that feels like. I’ve always been so self-conscious and afraid of doing things wrong (both in the sense of incorrectly and against my moral code) or embarrassing myself in front of others. It’s only now that I’m coming to understand that so much of this is simply a part of my introverted nature, and there’s nothing “wrong” with the way I think!

      Now, if I can just translate some of this new awareness to my writing routine…. :)

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  8. Ha ha! I love your Kindergarten self. I remember that same year being given my first test and the teacher put the huge blocks between us on the tables so we couldn’t see our neighbor’s sheet. I didn’t know an answer and the block was in my way, so I just stood up to see what my neighbor wrote down. I made no effort to hide my cheating, since I didn’t know I was cheating. I just realized the teacher had put a barrier in my way and I saw that standing easily alleviated the problem. I love how innocent little kids are. It’s too bad they beat the creativity out of us.

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    • Char, that is such a wonderful story! And it would be such a wonderful example to use for a fable/sermon/discussion on so many topics. Children can be so logical—to the point where adults can’t see it! Your response was just perfect for the situation, and yet some adults may have jumped to the horrible and incorrect conclusion that you were a cheater! I hope your teacher understood that you simply had no understanding of that concept.

      I know our education system could be so much better than it is. But making those changes would mean a huge investment in time and resources and a complete rethinking of how we do things. And that’s a sure way to keep the status quo in place. Maybe someday we’ll have a system where students can learn at the pace and in the style that fits them best.

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      • My teacher handled it well back then. She just called out my name and told me to sit down and that I couldn’t look at anyone else’s test. She didn’t get mad or anything. But I remember feeling so confused by that. I didn’t know the answer…but I knew where I could find help and the teacher wouldn’t let me. Oh, the purity of children. And yes, having been a teacher myself, I realize it would take a huge mind change to fix the system…so you’re right, it will most likely stay a lot the same. There are a few teachers out there though that make huge differences in kids’ lives. We’ve all had a few, hopefully, to offset the lousy ones we’ve had.

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  9. The only thing I remember about my kindergarten self was that she was probably too shy to even try it! I’m not sure I even spoke in the class. But I have noticed you are terrific at thinking outside the box. That’s a wonderful gift to have for sure.

    As for readers interpreting things differently, I learned that after seeing feedback on my published novel (and my unpublished work, too). How we assume something will be interpreted is never a sure bet. Even if we think we’ve made it clear, there’s no guarantee it will be to everyone. The best we can do is get a variety of beta readers, and if two or more are confused about something, we should probably take another look at it. Even then, various conclusions will be drawn. That’s the interesting thing about reading, I think. :)

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    • Well, it’s not like we had an option to do the activities or not—hey were scheduled into the day. ;) I was shy at that age, too, and I can still remember the first day of school and my mom bringing me into the classroom. I was assigned to the “red” table. All the tables were wood, but had large pieces of construction paper on them: red, yellow, blue, and green. I couldn’t really see the paper, but I remember one of the boys raising his hand and calling out, “Over here, J.” I wondered how he knew my name, but, of course, he’d probably just overheard my mom and teacher talking. Luckily, it was a small class (4 tables with no more than 6 to a table), and some of those kids helped me over some of my shyness. Nowhere near all of it, but enough that I could function in classes—even if I did learn to steer clear of showing too much “out of the box” thinking!

      I’m betting you could fill in the blank that I left in that sentence about Kathryn. ;) But I wonder if all readers will? Will they think she’s just “too passive” at times or “weak?”

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      • I’m guessing the fill-in-the-blank answer is introvert? :) Even if a reader doesn’t recognize that, I think they’ll pick up on the fact that Kathryn isn’t comfortable speaking in front of people (the part about trying not to rock on her feet and the need to steady her heart are nice ways of showing that). I didn’t perceive her as passive at all. Then again, I share her dis-love of public speaking so I’m sympatico with her. ;)

        All I remember of my first day of kindergarten is being forced to wear a dress (it was a requirement of little girls back then in my tiny town–luckily for only another year before the rule was changed). I was a jeans, chaps, and cowboy boots kind of girl, so I was NOT happy. To make matters worse, when I climbed the monkey bars, a boy chanted, “I see London, I see France, I see Carrie’s underpants.” Scarred for life, I tell you…

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        • You are correct. :) I’m curious now if introverts will instinctively identify with her while extroverts might think she should be “stronger” or ” more forceful” in certain situations she’ll be in. Maybe I should try for a mix of introverts and extroverts as betas. :)

          I think I’m a handful of years older than you, and I remember those dresses, too. We could wear snow pants in winter, but those came off once we got to school. I think it was 2nd or 3rd grade when we could finally wear nice pants. Jeans had to wait another year to two, I think…. I was on the receiving end of that chant, along, of course, with every other girl in the school. But, oh was that embarrassing. And fear of embarrassment has kept me from trying a lot of thing in life. In evolutionary terms, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

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  10. Well, my 43 year old self was trying to work out what the ??? bucket meant – so I think I’d have gone with trying to guess what would float or sink – but who knows what my child self would have done – I have very few memories of being that age. I’m also still trying to work out the Kathryn is a ———– blank – puzzles aren’t my strong point :-)

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    • I probably should have mentioned that the teacher had explained what the buckets were for. ;) But even knowing that, I just thought it made more sense to cut out an extra step! Now, of course, I understand that’s not always an option. But if presented with the buckets again? I’d still go with fewer steps. :)

      A particular personality trait gets discussed on Carrie’s blog quite a bit, and she recently recommended a great book on the subject. It dawned on me that Kathryn was one, too, and so I’ve tried to work some of our typical introverted reactions into her character. :)

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  11. Going for the simpler solution should help with that novel rebuild, even if that sword has to come out along the way. I just keep cutting and adding incessantly with mine so I think I would have been one of those who added things in one by one. :) For some reason, I end up doing things the slooow way.

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    • The funny thing is, I’m not always that quick to see the clearer or more logical path! But maybe I am taking the sword to this rebuild. My past “revisions” involved working with the same file, tweaking here, snipping there, adding to that part—and that may have been part of the problem with not getting it right. But this time, I’m starting from scratch—only a few bits that did work well with test readers are coming over from the original Scrivener file. Fingers crossed that I’ve got it right this time!

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  12. So funny! As a classroom teacher, I would have been impressed with your efficient (and rather advanced thinking for the age) technique. Throw it all in one, then weed out those that float, essentially cutting out the middle man. Knowing you’re a woman of science, I suppose it’s not so surprising — but who would have known that about you at age 5? Incidentally, my husband would have likely done the same (he majored in Chemistry). I enjoyed your excerpt from last week. Glad you got some encouraging feedback.

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    • It’s encouraging to hear that a modern teacher would approve! Mine didn’t tell me I was wrong, but even at five I could tell I hadn’t met her expectations. And even at that age, that made me uncomfortable. And back then, girls weren’t exactly encouraged to go into math and science, so it was probably even more confusing to my teacher that a girl had come up with this solution!

      I can’t remember any of the boys doing it my way. Maybe they were just better about following the teacher’s instructions—even if they’d thought another way was better!

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  13. I would have put everything in the ‘float’ tank just to annoy the teacher (I was a bit like that) ;)

    I remember painting a flower green in kindergarten and was chastised by the teacher who told me ‘there are no such thing as green flowers!’ – talk about a creativity killer! I’ve since seen green flowers in the tropics and would love to take one back in time and drop it in her cup of milky tea :D

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    • I wonder how many children have turned away from something they enjoyed because of that kind of adult attitude or a poorly chosen comment at a vulnerable time. We learned cursive writing in our 2nd grade (usually 7-8 years old). In 1st grade, I stumbled on adding a little flair to my printed “a.” And my teacher reprimanded me for doing that, saying something in front of the entire class like, “We don’t do cursive until next year. Don’t do anything fancy with your letters now.” First, that’s another creativity killer. But shaming an introvert in public? I wonder how long it took me to speak again in that class!

      I’m right there with dropping that flower in your teacher’s cup!

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  14. Ha, that’s a cute story about your five-year old self. Thanks for sharing. If you get a chance, check out my blog. I’ve posted a few posts about a poetry contest I entered. I need votes and would love you vote too. Thank you, JM. Have a great hump day. :-)

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    • I’ll stop by tomorrow and do some voting—that’s my next “visiting” day for blogs. I’m really trying to be good about sticking to a schedule since things have gotten busier over the winter. Not when we should be busy with archaeology, but sometimes it happens! :)

      I’m wishing I could channel some of that five-year-old’s energy and enthusiasm this week. The time change really hits me hard, and I’m dragging…. ZZZzzzzz…. :)

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  15. That does show great initiative as a 5 year old and probably an early sign of the type of mind you have that led you to your career choices. I do think young kids have a natural ability to think outside of the box, mostly because they don’t know what the boxes are yet, boxes are unfortunately built around things for us as we grow. You know the Stanford Marshmallow experiment about delayed gratification where kids were offered the choice of one marshmallow now, or wait a certain amount of time and get 2 marshmallows? And those that were willing to wait longer for more reward were later found to have better life outcomes? I remember testing that on my children a few years back, I asked my daughter which she would choose, one marshmallow now or wait 10 minutes to get 2 marshmallows, and without a second of hesitation, she said “I’ll wait 20 minutes and get 3″, I remember thinking this was typical of her (in a good way), always wanting more and looking for a different angle; surely this is a sign of fantastic future outcomes for her!

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    • Or, as in Char’s great story, those boxes are simply an obstacle to overcome in getting the right answer. ;) I loved that story—do check out her comment if you haven’t already! I understood delayed gratification at a young age, too, but I don’t think I would’ve come up with the logical 3rd option that your daughter did! Those are some sophisticated math skills she demonstrated!

      It’s too bad we seem to lose so much of our childhood openness and curiosity about the wide world. Western culture, at least, seems to drive that out of us too easily and too quickly. We should never stop observing the world and asking “why?”

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      • I hadn’t seen Char’s comment, but I have now. I love that innocence! So often kids get reprimanded for things that they have done in complete innocence, just not yet aware of some of society’s rules!

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  16. With Carrie on the ___. She’s knowledgeable, but nervous – the group could be important, critical – but she’s gutting it up and getting out of her comfort zone to accomplish what needs to be done or said? Quiet people may be perceived as passive, but they are the ones you want in your corner when things get rough and logic/reasoning/analytical skills are needed…in their fields, the quiet ones are stellar.
    Oh, is there another way to do float or sink? (giggles)
    I was outgoing in Kinder, but school/teachers soon took care of that, so I shut up for10 years and read books until college – where learning was once more fun.
    Actually we did that activity a lot in research with 3-4 year olds. The ones who had chances to explore/experiment with stuff at home or had parents/ that played with them or older siblings/ or watched Sesame St were quick to sort and group without trials. Background knowledge before Kinder speeds learning in the early elm years. Head Start program was supposed assist with that, but the science/nature part seems to have gotten stripped…or it was too messy for some teachers.
    School could be so much better – it’s not hard or expensive, but people resist. Not all the old methods are bad, not all the new ones are valid. It’s not rocket science. Too many people/companies pushing products or social grooming for real progress though
    I love sink or float!!!!!

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    • Maybe that time my older sister spent playing “teacher” with me had a bigger impact than I thought. I know she had taught me to read before kindergarten, so maybe there were some other things I learned that gave me a head start in school. When we “officially” began to learn reading in 1st grade, I was at the 3rd grade level, and that above-grade status continued through high school.

      I was usually quiet, but I can remember an incident in 3rd grade where the teacher raised a topic that I really enjoyed. And so I uncharacteristically spoke up. Her response was to say, “My, you’re normally such a good quiet girl. What’s gotten into you?” Well, you know I took that as a reprimand and promptly clammed up for who knows how long. And it simply reinforced my reluctance to speak up in group settings. So all those teachers who said I needed to “work on socialization and group interactions” were unwittingly treating me in a way that discouraged me from doing that!

      With today’s large classrooms and the focus on group activities, I’m not sure I’d fare as well as I did in my day. I’d probably still do fine on the actual lessons and studies, but I’d probably be downgraded even more than I was for being too shy. Somewhere, there’s a balance. And the kids who thrive in group activities also need to learn to work alone. Because even in today’s business world, there are times they’ll need to do it.

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      • good point in that last paragraph – while loudly proclaiming instruction should recognize different learning styles, team/group works is forced on all repeatedly ( formula: one really smart kid, one or 2 very poor students, and fill in with “average” kids) – so you know who ends up doing the work…the kid worried about grades. Very wrong.
        Oh, got that prize book “Map…” Read about 1/3 of it the first night – it’s really good – anyone who’s been around rural areas/small town will recognize these people. Thanks!

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  17. Hey JM, Sorry I’m late to your blog this week (and lately). Been VERY hectic at day job! I haven’t posted in a while and haven’t had any inspiration for posts. My brain just can’t think any more after work lately.

    I definitely guessed the missing word based on knowing you from reading your blog. As for the puzzle, because I didn’t know that your teacher told you what they were for my first thought was that the ??? bucket was for the item that didn’t sink or float. But then I was like, “Wait, what?” See, can’t think after work lately :)

    Funny when you mention kindergarden, all sorts of memories come back to me. It was definitely not my best year in school. I ended up liking school, playing sports and love to learn but kindergarden was me crying my eyes out and throwing the most embarrassing (for my brother) temper tantrum when my mom tried to leave me with a bunch of strangers on the first day of school, throwing up because the finger paint smelled and was slimy and being deathly afraid of and intimidated by my teacher for the whole year! School got better with my very nice teacher in 1st grade and my mom learned to put me on the bus instead of bringing me to school. That seemed to work :)

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    • I think the winter’s taken a heavy toll on many bloggers’ creativity. And you’ve also had to deal with other issues and now a heavy work load, so there’s nothing wrong with taking a break to recharge. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up when Life requires us to focus on something other than sitting at the computer with our writing.

      Kindergarten should have been a terrifying experience for me, but I was really lucky that one of the girls reached out to include me in the group, and my teacher was really very nice—even when I sometimes came up with some unexpected answers or approaches. ;) I suspect this post may have triggered a few memories for other readers, too, that hadn’t been thought about in years. I hope no one was too traumatized by that! :)

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  18. I think your way is far more efficient than what the teacher wanted. You didn’t have to fish around in the bucket to retrieve stuff from the bottom. You also needed one bucket less. I think she wished she’d thought of it!

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    • Yes, you are so right! Who wants to dig around in cold water for heavy objects just to dump them in another container? It’s not the same thing as splashing in puddles, after all!

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  19. If this is a “mis-mash” of ideas, then keep it up; never change a winning game, and this was a winner. Now you have us all remembering our five-year-old selves! Great post!

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    • Thanks, Marylin! I do these “sundry” posts from time to time, and they always go over better with readers than I expect. I really should be more confident about them by now. Next week’s post will be a big departure for me, so we’ll see what happens there. :)

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  20. Love how you see the world from a different POV than the majority! I’m sure it serves you well in your writing!

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    • Thanks, Karalee. :) My betas have said my manuscripts aren’t quite like anything they’ve read before, so maybe that different POV has slipped into my writing. Now—to make it appealing to readers as well!

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  21. I am way late this time commenting, and don’t at this point have anything more profound to add than has already been said. I echo the consensus that you exhibited a good mind in kindergarten.

    It’s interesting what you said in an earlier comment about whether introverted and extroverted readers would have different expectations of your main character. I’m going to be thinking about that for a while. I suspect they might. It makes me think of the classical hero’s journeys on which many modern literature plots are based, and how that archetype is extroverted. It adds to the expectation readers have. Yet, I also believe that writing a full, multi-faceted character will trump all that. This I know you can do.

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    • The more I come to understand my own introverted nature, the more I wonder about all the different ways that different personality types view the world—especially at the subconscious level. I suspect those differences may be part of why one reader might admire and love a confident, aggressive character while another perceives him as a bully. Or why a quiet, thoughtful character who is slower to act might strike some readers as passive or weak. And you raise an excellent point about all those extroverted classical heroes who have so many modern counterparts. Readers may not even realize all the expectations they have about characters before they even open the book to page one. We’ll see what happens as I rebuild these stories….

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  22. If one of my students did that I’d give them an A! (Mind, I teach teenagers… let’s leave it at that) ;D
    Alexander the Great always thought ‘outside the box’ and look what it did for him. Eternal glory, never mind the fact he died at the age of 32, whether by illness or assassination.
    Readers bring their own experiences when reading and that is something we, as writers, can’t control though you’d like them to interpret a scene or text in the way we intended. It’s all subjective. Which brings me back to Alexander, if he was a different person then what he achieved would never be written. I guess what I am trying to say, we can’t please them all.

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    • You are so right—there’s no pleasing everyone. Human history is filled with countless examples of that! And surely those buckets had been used for a least a few years before I got there. Had no one else hit on my solution? That still surprises me to this day. :)

      Someday, when I’ve actually finished a novel and people have (hopefully!) read it, I wonder what they’ll interpret differently from what I had in mind. As long as it’s in the ballpark, I’ll guess I did a decent job of telling the story I intended!

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