Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to Turn on Your TV

  1. Aim the remote at the TV and press the orange power button.
  2. If no results, change the angle of the remote in relation to the TV to get a clearer line of sight.
  3. If no results, change the angle again.
  4. If no results, move closer to the TV.
  5. If no results, place remote directly in front of TV remote sensor.
  6. If no results, open remote battery compartment and roll batteries around for better connection.
  7. If no results, remove batteries from other, lesser used, DVD player remote and put in TV remote.
  8. If no results, dig through three different junk drawers and find the last couple of new batteries left over from buying a SuperSize pack at Christmas because toys these days are labeled "batteries not included."
  9. If no results, turn on TV by hand to make sure TV still works following storm related power outages. Then turn TV back off by hand and repeat steps 1-5 with the new batteries in the remote.
  10. Finally, if no results, look closely at remote and press the RED power button instead of the orange source button.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Please Pass the Coffee...

Ok, all you have to do is look at my blog archive to know that I have not been writing regularly. Aside from my monthly column in The Scuppernong Gazette, I have not really produced much content outside of work related stuff.

Since I have Spring Break coming up, I am planning a writing retreat of sorts in my hometown of Columbia, NC. To get myself motivated, I issued a little challenge to my Facebook friends:

I have Spring Break beginning April 21. That's one day shy of two weeks from now. The Dean Roughton - Author Page currently has 536 likes. Here's the challenge for you loyal readers who have been requesting a sequel. For every new like the page gets by the time I set foot in Columbia on April 21, I will commit to cranking out one page of manuscript that week. (on the board walk, at Elements, in the library, in Old Salt Oyster Bar, or anywhere else creativity might be lurking right now) So how bad do you want it? 

As expected, I got a few shares and supporting comments: "Hey, go like this writer's page."  or  "Support my writer friend. He is pretty funny. Like and share!" 

Subsequently, a few new likes starting trickling in. In about an hour, I had about 15 new likes. I thought, hey that's cool. Fifteen pages will be around a chapter, so that's a great start to the new book.

But THEN, one of my co-workers, who apparently is either my really good friend or who possibly really hates my guts, picked up on the campaign. Rather than the "Hey, guys, go like this page and support my friend" sort of comments, Laura took a different approach:

OK Facebook Friends and Family. I need your help. You see, a co worker has SERIOUSLY underestimated me. I was challenged to get "likes" on his author page, and for each new "like" to the attached page, he will write a new page to his follow up book over Spring Break. What I need you to do is simply think back...think back to that annoying teacher who felt the need to ruin YOUR Spring Break/Christmas Break/Summer Vacation, YOUR free time, YOUR time to live a little when out break...by assigning you a paper or project due upon your return to school. Did you ever get revenge?? Well, here is your chance! Like his page, and share THIS post on YOUR page! Hey, it may not be revenge on your teacher, but a teacher is a teacher! Let's blow it up folks! Ready...Set...Go!!!! (like I said Dean Roughton, you shouldn't challenge me!!)

I totally did not expect this guerrilla marketing tactic, nor did I take into account the way the human psyche works. You see, the nice guy, supportive approach netted the page a few likes. Yay for all you nurturing types out there! :)

However, it would appear the nurturing side of the human heart cannot hold a candle to the side of us which finds revenge appealing. Judging by all the new likes after this tactic was used (up to 76 new ones now), I think we can safely say "Hell hath no fury like a student scorned."

If I could just figure out a way to convince people that by mowing my lawn, they would be getting revenge on a teacher, I would be set for the whole summer!

As it is, I will be spending my ENTIRE spring break doing "homework" cranking out like half a book. So as you all enjoy your Margaritas on the beach, think of me as I develop carpal tunnel syndrome and possibly melt the hard drive of my laptop.

It's going to be a longgggg week. Somebody please pass the coffee...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Creative Synergy

One reason I love teaching Creative Writing is that I never know what will come out of the class, not only for the students, but for myself as well.

The last time I taught this course a couple of years ago, one of my students held me accountable to the same maxim I applied to them: Writers Write. No excuses. This really helped to revitalize my creative energy, which ultimately led to the completion of The Most Educated Idiot I Know.

This semester my class is engaged in an interdisciplinary project with a painting class. My students wrote poems, which the painting students then used as inspiration to create visual art.

Once again, one of my students (McKenzie Evans) has involved me in the same process as the rest of the class. Below is a poem I had published a few years ago in a regional literary magazine. I showed it to the class as an example of the use of both imagery and alliteration.  The student took it upon herself to use the poem to inspire her painting, which is shown below the poem.
The Prodigal Drosophila 

The fruit fly,
a feckless, fecund little fellow
like so many
owes his existence
to the fermentation process. 

Conceived on a Saturday night
in an overripe peach,
he is content to wallow
his maggoty youth
in a brandied hedonism until
there is nothing left to consume.

From there, he meanders away
and perches on a sour mop
or falls
into a slimy drain,
only to eke out
enough sludge
to sustain him for
the last days
of his only week of life.

I absolutely love the fruit fly drinking from the straw and wearing a sombrero. This makes me want to go have a Margarita and chips and cheese at a local Mexican restaurant.
Thanks, McKenzie!