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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Gee, Is It Really That Swell?

“Gretchen, sometimes I think you were born in the wrong time period – you sound like some sock hop chick from the 50s!”

I get that a lot – my slang sounds more like a 1950s bubblegum smacking teen who embraced the all-American lifestyle of rock ‘n’ roll, drive-in diners, and soda pop. That would explain why many people assume that I’d fit right in with the 1950s time period with no problems whatsoever. But after reading Heat by Michelle Cacho-Negrete, I’m quite satisfied with the 21st Century, especially with improved treatment and equal rights for minorities and women.

The realistic dialogue complete with slang phrases and gestures resulting from things said kept the story moving along quickly. When Cacho-Negrete introduced one of her co-workers Mary in her story, it seems that the moments of tension between Mary and their boss pushed the story forward in a quick, rather menacing way. Those interactions between Mary and the boss reminded me of the chase sequence scenes that one sees in horror films: a pretty girl runs away from a terrible monster that is coming to kill her.

I wish that the author talked more about what inspired her to take up her own private practice in law. In addition, part of me wants to know if she ever came across any of her old co-workers from her summer job at age 13 once starting her practice.

Lipstick Production at Colgate-Palmolive c. 1940s from Flickr Creative Commons

No Wonder English is One of the Hardest Languages to Learn

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I recently read a story published in The Sun Magazine titled “Saturn Is The Biggest Planet On Earth“:

With a catchy title that sounds like something only a child would say, Frances Lefkowitz intertwines an experience in a yoga class with her volunteer job as a tutor in schools for those who learn English as a second language. The author executed a visual scene which contains the philosophical question of ‘what do you need to sit fully in your seat?’ and leaves the reader to ponder their own interpretation of what could be said throughout her story. Personally, I’d like to take away from her well integrated example of this lasting question and present my own lingering image or question that will stay with the reader as they go through the entire bulk of my story.

She is a master of painting her picture as the author through the comments made about her from people she encounters out and about in her life, all without completely giving away her identity in dry descriptions. I’m hoping to give readers that same approach with a brief look at a part of who I am without involving a lengthy description that could potentially be dry and dull.

Grayson, Westley, Stanislaus County, Western San Joanquin Valley, California. Image from Flickr Creative Commons section.