BLOG: 6's & 7'S
by Kelley Kaye
“Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.”- George Bernard Shaw
My response to this has always been a resounding GRRRRRR! 🐻George Bernard Shaw, you can kiss my butt, because you don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about!
As a high school English teacher for 20 years, as any teacher (or parent) knows (and based on everything I’ve read, GBS was neither), you need to know a subject intimately before you can help another person acquire the same skill. The entire quote is ridiculous and ignorant, whether it comes from a genius playwright or not.
But the whole time I taught school, I felt like I needed to do everything I expected my students to do, every time they did it. Especially when I started teaching Creative Writing--because I'd never been published and I didn't have my Master's in the subject yet, and I felt like I needed the practice. It helped that I had ended my one-minute-long-way-too-young-and-stupid, completely unadvised marriage at this time, because when I got to poetry, I had a glut of emotional material. Maybe not good poetry, but poems from a real place, anyway.
My tears fall
like a broken
string of pearls.
They hit the hard floor
Forever, it seems.
Though I try
frantically, to gather
them back up,
Parts of my pain
and into the corners.
I wash my face
and re-string my
The lost tears
roll our of their hiding place
to slip my feet out from under me
One of my favorite lessons was poetry within a form, haiku, limericks--and since I taught Shakespeare, the sonnet form. Here's one I wrote for my CW class back in 1998--the students were intimidated by the restrictions of the form--so I told them to just give me a subject and I'd write a sonnet. Appropriately for the time of year we're in right now, they gave me the subject of 'Death." I worked it out group-style, with them right then and there.
The Visit--a sonnet
At night I sit with all-foreboding gloom.
My heart has tripped as often as it beats.
My dying face I see in yonder moon,
The flesh decaying in your cold black sheets.
You enter with a quiet stealth of sound,
Your hands caressing all my morbid fears.
The thought of living always in the ground,
Creates a sculpture molded with my tears.
O Death! Can I please send you on your way??
Your visage conjures thoughts of evil lands.
My horror builds each moment of your stay,
With dreams of bodies melting into sand.
I’m well aware my soul cannot remain---
Your bony handclasp seeks to end my pain.
I guess it's appropriate for this post, too, because ironically, now I don't teach anymore, but among other genres, I write about death--murder mysteries. I'm laughing OUT LOUD because the only way I can prove how wrong George Bernard Shaw was--in this case--is to read a boatload of murder mysteries and do a lot of research. I don’t even kill spiders, so this is the way for me to know the subject intimately enough to teach it. Or help others be entertained by it, at least!
For this short story anthology, Tangled Lights and Silent Nights, I was lucky enough to be able to combine a lot of my knowledge as a teacher and now as a writer for my piece 'A Muse-ing Christmas: Ms. Parker Teaches Santa--Shakespeare Style'. Leslie Parker, one of the teachers and crimestoppers in my Chalkboard Outlines Cozy Mystery Series, loves Shakespeare and loves Santa! She decides to help her Creative Writing student, Maisie Duchovny, try and turn her holiday poem into a sonnet about Santa. I haven't written poetry in quite a while, so it was a lot of fun to write fictional student Maisie's Santa poem and then turn it into a Shakespearean form sonnet, with the help of fictional teacher and Shakespeare-obsessed Leslie Parker.
It was a great time, and I consider myself even luckier that the story is amongst this cool collection of stories by award-winning and bestselling authors of all genres, raising funds for the Life After Project—Visions of Hope. Don't miss it!
Visit my website at https://kelleykaybowles.com/ and check out my books, the Amazon cozy mystery bestseller Death by Diploma and Poison by Punctuation from Red Adept Publishing, and the Victor Indie Book of the Year 2017 young adult Down in the Belly of the Whale from Aionios Books..
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