Did You Know…About the Primordial Gods?

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Most of us lean toward Greek’s collective of Chaos, Eros, Darkness, and Nyx, etc., which represent the most basic components of the universe that materialized at creation. These are the gods that represent bigger concepts—the beginning of time and the foundations laid for the other gods. They are further separated from the other collections of gods and further more from humans.

Some of my favorites are Chaos, Chronos, and Gaia, probably because they play a vital role in the creation of my first vampire, Phea. Time and Earth are the most present in my everyday life, so that might also be why I favor them so greatly.

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There are many more than I initially realized. Here’s a link to the complete list.

But thinking about pantheons—and creating new ones for an upcoming series—got me thinking about other culture’s primordial gods.

One of the more interesting was the connection between the massively-referenced Greek versions and the Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) creation story. The birth from darkness, the formation of the earth, and the full-formation of life all reference back to the primordial gods.

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In fact, the concept of darkness seems to connect with every version of these founding creatures. Ancient Origins has an excellent post about the links.

For the Aztecs, Ometecuhtli was self-birthed in their creation story and is the primordial being of fertility. It’s a dual, androgynous being that acted as mother and father to the other major Aztec gods, Huitzilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, and Xipe Totec, who represent the four cardinal directions. Ometecuhtli championed opposing natures: light and dark, chaos and order, and sometimes, good and evil. Living in the thirteenth heaven, or the highest plane, this deity is disconnected from human affairs and those of the other gods.

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Photo (c) Chrisgiz12

Hinduism has a trinity of important, top-tier gods: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. Vishnu and Shiva are worshipped widely, having many followers and temples, but Braham does not garner the same attention. This is because he is the personification of brahman, an indefinable and unknowable divine principle.

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Photo (c) Andrea Saavedra

Egyptian mythology worships eight primordial gods, or the Ogdoad (“the Eightfold”), that predate the common gods, like Osiris and Anubis. These deities were made of four male-female pairs that have similar symbols as the Greeks, and paired with the primary elements of the universe: water, air, light, and time. The couples were meant to create balance in the universe, but at least three different creation stories are attributed to this set of gods. Learn more about it here.

In Pre-Islamic Arabic mythologies, a slew of pantheons was common amongst tribes. Allāh, the Meccan creator god and supreme deity prayed to primarily in times of despair because he intervened in extreme crises; he is the father of the gods, angels, and jinn. Awal, the sea god, worshiped by Taghlib, Iyad, and Banu Bakr bin Wa’il tribes. He is the primordial guardian of the Gulf waters. Tihāmat is the divinity of chaos and the abyss, the eternal that existed before Allāh. Falak, a dragon or giant lizard that resides in the Realm of Fire, is the primordial spirit that rules over volcanoes, lava, and magma, and is only kept deep beneath the earth because he fears Allāh.

 

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Finally, Norse mythology has Ymir, or screamer in old Norse, who was born when the melted ice of the World of Mist met the hot air from the Realm of Fire. The frost giants sprang from his legs and armpits. As the ice melted, the drops created the divine cow, Audumla, whose udders sustained Ymir. Three sons—Odin, Vili, and Ve—of the primordial giants killed Ymir, drowning all but two of his children in the sea of his blood, and his body was used to create heaven and earth, his blood to make the oceans and lakes, his bones to fashion mountains, his hair for trees, and his brains for clouds. Ymir’s eyebrow formed the Realm of Men, and dwarves were shaped from the maggots infested in Ymir’s flesh.

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Photo (c) Kekai Kotaki

Well, a lot of the primordial gods are connected in similar ways, but it’s interesting to see the variance and differences amongst them.

 

Which is your favorite? Tell me about them in the comments below.

 

 

Sources:

https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/gods/primordial/

https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/ancient-gods-when-darkness-ruled-world-006067

https://www.realmofhistory.com/2018/08/01/12-major-aztec-gods-goddesses-facts/

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-asia/south-asia/hindu-art/a/three-hindu-gods

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogdoad_(Egyptian)

https://www.ancient-origins.net/human-origins-religions/infinite-ogdoad-creation-pantheon-ancient-egypt-and-predecessor-gods-old-020447

http://wathanism.blogspot.com/2011/11/deities-beings-and-figures-in-arabian.html

https://blog.vkngjewelry.com/norse-gods/

#SoSC: Cheeky Obsession with a Burger Man and His Family.

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Today’s #SoCS prompt is: “cheek.” Use it as a noun or a verb. Enjoy!

 

“I’ll just put a little bit of my cheek in.”

Bob’s Burgers is my life blood. I’m obsessed. I quote the show all of the time, and one of the main reasons I watch this series again and again and again is the cheekiness. The small moments and one-liners that dissolves me into giggles.

In this instance, three of the kids are mock sweatshop workers for a classroom experiment, holed up in the back of the room by cardboard walls and told they have to cut their production time from 20 minutes to 5.

Louise proposes half-assing it, which is still too much effort, so they decide to quarter-ass it.

Hence, the small amount of cheek.

 

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The prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/02/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-15-2020/

#SoCS: (Un)Pack

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Today’s #SoCS prompt is: “(un)pack.” Use “pack” or its opposite in your post.

 

Recently, I’ve dove back into reading, and more importantly, reading the books I already own. On my shelves.

I have close to a thousand physical books and another five or six hundred e-books. The problem is that more than two-thirds of my physical books are in boxes, storage, packed away.

I need to rearrange my office, my shelves, and unpack some of those lonely worlds and characters. The plan is to pack away the one’s I’ve read and refill my shelves with ones I want to read.

The only scary bit about this process—other than poisonous spiders—is how long this will take. How long it will consume my already cluttered office.

It’ll improve in the end, and I’m excited to dig through everything again, but I’m sure it won’t last through the entire process.

Should be worth it though. I hope.

 

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The prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/02/07/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-8-2020/

 

My Writing Routine: Testing My Ideal Day

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Spoiler: It didn’t work for me.

 

Watch me test my ideal plan and discuss this with much more detail in my video.

 

Okay, that’s a bit of an absolute. But I was duped by the internet guru trends of writing and working out early in the morning. Nope. It didn’t work.

Now, disclaimer, I do enjoy doing both of those activities in the morning, but not for my ideal work day.

The idea of having specifically designated power blocks throughout my day that I could dedicate to one specific type of task worked brilliantly.

So, this was my original plan in pie-chart form:

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My day is clearly defined: family time, workout time, writing time, editing time, admin/copy/content time, and a big chunk for dinner and other food stuff.

For the most part, this worked, but I figured out a bit about the way my brain and body work best, especially since this ideal day is one where I stay home, which is four out of seven of them.

I kept most of the chunks the same, then rearranged them like so:

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I’ve broken the bits up a little more, separating content and admin work. I also swapped around my blocks.

First, reading in the morning while we wait for the boy to go to school has meant that I’ve finished nearly four books in January. I think that may be more books than I read last year…for fun. I read a lot in general, but that’s a different conversation for a different time.

Second, I pushed my workouts back. For a good reason. It’s too easy in the morning to say that I’m too tired. I had a personal trainer that said she always worked out in the mornings to get it done and life wouldn’t get in the way. Well, she may have been right because I do miss workouts in the afternoon because I’m in the middle things.

But knowing that I will have a break between the heavy lifting stuff of my first two power blocks pushes me to finish what I’m working on. It also recharges me for the second half of my day. I also like this because my shower is done, and I’m not going to bed with my hair wet.

Third, I made my first power block the most taxing for my critical brain. Between eight and noon is the prime time for my analytical work. That’s why I teach during those times. But, when I’m at home, it makes the most sense to grade and edit during that time.

That makes power block two the time for content creation—yay, marketing! Actually, I really like this block. It’s still using my critical brain, but I’ve begun to make the swap towards creative, too. I really like mixing the two, and it drains the rest of my problem-solving juices. Time for a workout to refill them.

I made the admin stuff in my third block before the boy gets home and I have to run off to make dinner because it’s the easiest to get up from. Just being honest. Emails and scheduling content and setting up advertising all fit in here.

Finally, I swapped my writing chunk for after dinner. People don’t need me and are less likely to interrupt me, so it’s my time to bang out a couple-hundred words in an hour and a half. And I usually accomplish this. The best part of this is that all of my work for the day is done, so I’m free to be 100% creative. I’m not worrying about all of the other things I have to do because I didn’t procrastinate. Hopefully.

That leaves me a couple of hours to get out of my office, sit and read or watch a movie or draw or whatever it is that fits in with family time.

So, there it is. My ideal plan didn’t work. But trying to implement it did give me a new ideal that does actually work.

 

What does your ideal day look like? What gets in the way of your productivity? Let me know in the comments below!

#SoCS: Small Choices

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Today’s #SoCS prompt is: Base your post on the subject of making small, uneventful choices.

 

Small choices make us who we are. A lot of people talk about how big picture items define us—our jobs, our faith, our interests. I disagree.

The small choices we make tell our true character. My coffee’s low, so I make fresh coffee and refill my husband’s cup at the same time. He does the same for me.

When the boy’s having a tough time, I make him something that I know he likes for lunch or dinner.

When I work late, grading papers, my husband rubs my back for a few minutes before bed. When his head hurts, I rub his feet—the usual cause.

I do something stupid in class, and I laugh at myself. It allows my students to laugh, too.

I say, no worries. Shit happens. How can we fix the problem? Instead of punishing my students for having a rough go at things. If they take advantage, they usually suffer the consequences of my being too nice.

Someone obviously put time into their appearance, and I compliment them in passing: I like your earrings, your hair is beautiful, you look fierce, I love that shirt…

In the main scheme of things, of life, none of these choices really matter. Uneventful.

They’re not going to change the world. But they will change someone’s day. Bring a small dose of happiness. It’s about all the power I have to make a difference.

I rather like the idea of that defining me.

 

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The prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/01/31/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-1-2020/

#SoCS: “Last Call”

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Today’s #SoCS prompt is: “last call.” Talk about the enterprise (sales or service) conducted by the last phone call you received from a business you’re not associated with (i.e. your workplace), or talk about that phone conversation itself. Have fun!

 

This prompt, one of communicating with businesses over the phone, as reaffirmed just how much I don’t like them—phone calls.

My palms and under my arms grow sweaty. My tongue thickens and dries. I ready myself for the inevitability of my awkwardness. Sometimes, it’s not so bad, but usually, I’m tumbling over myself, barely able to understand whoever’s on the other end of the line, and prone to using words like thing and stuff instead of specific details.

You know, for someone who’s got several degrees in communication, English, and writing, I have a hell of time articulating myself orally.

That might also be why the last phone call I got from a company—Amazon, KDP more specifically—I thought they were scammers, and I hung up on them, checking my email for my preferred method of communication.

Not thirty minutes later, they emailed me to fix my problem, and I replied to apologize for my phone anxiety. It wasn’t personal.

And it wasn’t. I get anxiety talking to my family over the phone, although it’s not so bad. But give me a stranger asking me questions about my account, I feel pressure to respond faster than I can think.

Panic sets in.

I dodge the confrontational self-assessment and distract myself.

 

 

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The prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/01/24/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2020-daily-prompt-jan-25th/

Writer’s Tool: Props

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One of the best tools for character building, world-building, tension building, and creating beats and foreshadowing. When used with purpose, it smooths over that drop into the dream and helps keep us there.

My favorite use is to replace dialogue tags and build character. Showing a character rub the hem of their shirt so much they rip a hole in the bottom creates an image, indicates nerves, and suggests a repeating habit. It shows their true feelings. This type of prop, when used with specific intent, can signal a certain emotion that relates scenes and build foreshadowing.

The more unusual the prop, the greater impression the character has on the reader, like a green, shoe-shaped stone that links a protagonist and her recurring savior. Or a metal tuning cuff around a boy’s ear, almost hidden beneath his hair, that he uses to hone his alchemy skills.

An equally important and better used prop will remind the reader of the world and the rules present. A silver charm with the dirt from a grave serves a twin purpose of pulling an old vampire myth to showcase genre and what type of rules govern these creatures. As a secondary element, it functions to remind readers of werewolves’ aversion to silver, especially if used in a fight.

A particularly tense scene might use a prop to build tension. A ring in a young man’s pocket, might feel like such a weighty object—one he brushes to ensure is still there, when he might have the confidence to ask the question, avoids when his conviction plummets; a prop can signify a defining moment.

Here’s a great example of real-life drama using props. A woman takes a pregnancy test and tricks her husband into finding it. The test stays front and center for most of the exchange as he tries to uncover her trickery until, finally, he comes to terms with the positive result. The test itself signals a wide variety of tension—shock, pain, denial, acceptance, humor, and ultimately the new addition to their loving family. The scene would not be the same without it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lms9d3eo1g

Also, one can create foreshadowing in several ways, but foreshadowing with props is essentially using Chekhov’s Gun. This technique signals the significance of an object early on by the amount of attention it’s given. The rule is that it must be utilized by the end of Act II within the three-act structure and play an important role in the plot. Like a character finding a pendant in an old box of her mother’s things, which she recognizes in her mentor’s office and knows to use it help save a dozen kidnapped children.

I love props and how versatile they are for adding depth to a story. How do you use them in your writing? Tell me in the comments below.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.mentorless.com/2015/09/01/how-writing-props-help-adding-layers-to-your-story-and-characters/

https://flyingscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/props-in-writing-how-and-when-to-use-them/

https://www.lightsfilmschool.com/blog/surroundings-props-screenwriting

#SoCS: Vampire Politics

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#SoCS Prompt: “movie title.” Take the title of the last movie you watched (just the title, not the premise of the movie), and base your post on that title.

 

“The Hunger Games”

I’m cheating this week, but this reminded me of vampire politics, and well, I have the perfect excerpt for that, so here it is—Chapter Thirty-Five:

 

“Secrets. As exciting as yours are, I grow tired of how much effort it takes to unearth them and how loyal my people are to keeping yours from me.”

I blinked at Phea, too tired to generate the energy needed to sass her. Probably for the better.

My dry throat cracked my first words. I cleared away the rocks. “What did you learn this time?”

“Your question implies that you have more than one sizeable secret.”

“Depends on what you mean by sizeable.” Okay, maybe I maintained a little bit of sass.

Phea’s jaw worked, dark eyes narrowing like the barrel of a gun. “I suggest care and tact, renegade. Or what I decide to do with you and your baby will be affected by your attitude.”

Gaze unfocused, white blurred in an attempt to consume her dark shape. I’d been waiting for this. I knew Christopher would tell them. He needed to. I didn’t have the strength to offer it up myself.

“We tested your blood to confirm. I’m surprised by you. That you would put your child in such extreme peril to keep him to yourself. How long has it been since you’ve fed?”

Although they’d been keeping me in a room deprived of the sun or sky, Christopher had come to see me at least ten times already.

“Well, we cannot have that, so you will be receiving rations again. Of blood and food because I’m promised we can understand how this happened far better with a healthy baby than without him.” Her chilly hand found my forehead, smoothing away my bangs. “You must know, however, that this means new and improved forms of punishment. Feel free to save yourself the harshest of them by telling me everything right now.”

I wanted to tell her that she’d never get her hands on my baby.

I wanted it to be true.

But I could handle anything that didn’t harm him. Besides, I doubt she’d keep that promise if she knew one of them meant I’d killed her demented little knight. I’d held onto everything else for as long as possible. The extra powers were piddly to this.

Her hand waved beside the bed, not to me, and shuffling and scraping entered the room.

Feet slid around, and the acute scent of a human filled the space.

A middle-aged, black woman struggled to stand under Vincent’s grip. Sweat poured over her forehead and gathered under her cheeks.

“Your meal.” Phea presented her with a small flourish.

Vincent dumped the woman against the wall, bowed to Phea, and left.

The queen took the chair Christopher normally sat in, crossed a leg over the other and waited for me to feed—a stubborn mother watching over her insolent child.

“Who is she?”

“Does it matter?”

Of course it does. I’d said the same to James when he brought me my first meal. And it hadn’t mattered then. I was too hungry, too new to regulating myself that I drained him dry in seconds.

The woman smelled of cocoa butter, and she was half aware like this might all be some silly nightmare. How easily I could have lured her to me, but I went to her. Cold prickled into my toes.

She balanced against the wall on her own, and she nearly fell over when I touched her shoulder.

Calm. I pushed the idea into her. Her wobbling ceased, hands splayed against the white paint behind her.

This won’t hurt. Fingers braced against her neck, I tilted her throat to my throbbing fangs.

Her blood tasted of sweet cream, spreading through my cells the moment it touched my tongue. My body didn’t rage over it like when the Assetato kept me captive, but my throat and stomach rejoiced as I took my first swallow.

The dull, dead hum in the back of my brain faded, and my wits returned.

Nowhere near sated, I released the woman and let her slide to the concrete floor with a gentle euphoria. I’d heard my bite drugged my prey—worse than a normal vampire’s because of my imprint and tendency to glamour others with it.

“Saving the rest for later? I’ve given my word that you will receive regular feedings, you can finish your meal without fear that I will withhold more from you.” Phea gestured toward the woman, offering a freedom that she knew I didn’t want.

I crawled into bed and curled myself back where I’d started.

“I am far too aware of your high-road morality, as skewed and misguided as it is, but you cannot have another until you’ve finished your first. I suggest you not prolong it.” Phea stood, straightening her business skirt with a sly shimmy and left me to my newest torture.

Once the door closed, the woman on the floor slept with small, soft snores. I took the chance to get some genuine sleep, too, before none was offered to me.

 

 

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The prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/01/17/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2020-daily-prompt-jan-18th/

Did You Know…About the Icelandic Mound?

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Iceland has a rich history of believing in the hidden people—invisible elves hidden amongst their landscapes.

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In fact, environmentalists camped on volcanic rock to protect the paranormal creature dwelling inside of the volcanic debris. The surrounding lands hold an important elf church, and thousands populate the area. Locals fear that if holy relics are destroyed unnecessarily, the elves will retaliate.

This sounds like a radical belief, but a 1998 survey reported more than half of Icelanders said that they believed in fairies. Paring this with an academic paper, “The Elves’ Point of View” by Valdimar Hafstein in 2000, the folklorist professor said, “If this was just one crazy lady talking about invisible friends, it’s really east to laugh about that. But to have people through hundreds of years talking about the same things, it’s beyond one or two crazy ladies. It is part of the nation.” In 2007, the University of Iceland conducted a study that estimated 62% of the country believed elves were more than fairy tales.

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The reason for the high rate of believers is that their versions of hidden people is because they look and behave similarly to humans but live parallel to us. In Faroese folklore, the fae are large, wear gray clothes, and have black hair. They dwell in mounds.

Another justification for so many believers is that Iceland has four holidays that feature the fae. On New Year’s Eve, elves moved to new locations and Icelanders provided candles to pave their paths. On the Thirteenth Night, January 6th, elf bonfires are a common part of the festivities. The people clean their houses and leave food out on Christmas so that elves who invade their farmhouses can hold wild parties. Finally, Midsummer Night provides an opportunity to seduce elves by laying food and gifts at crossroads.

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Now, my Icelandic mound is one of the last independent mounds left in the Broken World. My giant leprechaun, Boden, is from the Icelandic mound and returns there in his own short story. There, he remembers an important bit of the monarchy’s history—one that threatens the safety of his home in book four.

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The queen is revealed to be as ruthless as the other queens present in the series, but the princess, Asdis, turns out to be a helpful and insightful person and leader. She also has some interesting connections to my protagonist, Ria.

This mound holds the last remnants of the old fae union and the great magickal council that governed the research, the laws, and the justice for the coalition. They also maintain the traditions of apprenticeships within their society, which has been lost to the majority of the fae that had to flee their mounds and, therefore, their customs. The underground mounds, although independent, have a watered-down version of these practices, they don’t have the capabilities of maintaining the rigid control that Iceland holds.

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In fact, the Icelandic mound was built for that purpose. They were the strategic mound to fend off invasions and preserve the fae’s history and knowledge.

I’m pretty excited about some of the connections to come from this mound in the last treks of the story. Most thrilling is exploration of how the fae are more similar to gods than they are to paranormal creatures, which are formed from the primordial Greek gods and Atlantean pantheon. I wonder what will happen when they mix…

 

Do you know anything about faerie mounds, politics, or lore? Tell me about them in the comments below!

 

 

Sources:

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/why-so-many-icelanders-still-believe-in-invisible-elves/280783/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huldufólk

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20181217-the-elusive-hidden-people-of-iceland

 

#SoCS Two Days Until School Starts Again…

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#SoSC – The first three words from the nearest book:

“There’s these two…” days until school starts again, and my mind is messing with me like it usually does. Teacher nightmares make me wake up in a panic, and it’s always the same. I’m not prepared for class.

I shuffle in fifteen minutes late to forty-eight new eyeballs, waiting for me to be the same old English teacher they’ve always had. And I turn into her, unable to settle my class and make them listen. When they do, I can’t seem to talk straight. All of my handouts are missing, and I have to run to the printer to get them, but that takes another ten minutes out of class time.

Now, I’ve forgotten their homework assignment, and the next class is already pouring in to use the room.  I can’t seem to pack my things without spilling them on the floor.

Sigh. This is my eighth year teaching at my university. You’d think I’d be over the nerves by now, but I’m sweaty and shaking and my fingers don’t work on that first day of class. Shit, the first two weeks of class, until we’ve all met one-on-one over their first drafts. We both become people to each other at that point, and most of them who show up scared, leave laughing.

Man, even with all of the nerves and frustrations in grading, I really love my job. I’m going to miss it a great deal. If everything works out, I might get to keep a class while I explore ways to actually make a livable wage with my MFA.

I’m nervous about that, too. So many things to worry about, it’s a wonder I get anything done sometimes.

Ah well, it’s that worry that drives me to keep doing, keep checking, keep improving. If only I can keep reminding myself that it’s not the end of the world until it’s the end of the world.

I can make it through anything else.

And breathe. This semester is going to rock. I’m ready for it. The funny thing is, my students are not prepared for me.

Go on and insert that evil cackle here because why not?

 

 

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the prompt source: https://lindaghill.com/2020/01/10/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2020-daily-prompt-jan-11th/