Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Back at it in Nashville

Hello, world,

Back to work at m school after a fabulous 2000 mile road trip from Nashville to Brooklyn last week. I used the Waze app almost exclusively to get from city to city and then all the way home, with stops outside of Roanoke on the way up, then New Hope, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia; Frederick, Maryland; and Knoxville, Tennessee on the way home.

Brooklyn was so much fun, and it was just the right thing for my soul to spend some time with my boy, Colin. At 21, he's growing up--learning to manage a day and to plan for his future as he meets people and makes new friends. Last year, he was pining to be somewhere else, and he came to the conclusion that he wanted to life the "best of the best and the worst of the worst." I don't think he found the latter, if you discount how freakily expensive it is up around the Big Apple, but he certainly is finding his center, which in my opinion is the best of the best.

Those of you who are hooked up with me via Facebook, I have a photo album that almost conveys how much fun this time with my son was. He is writing staggeringly evocative lyrics, currently wrapped in acoustic guitar sort of alternative folk clothing. I can't wait to hear more, though that's always been the case. You can find him on SoundCloud with a little searching, and that's a fun trip, since he tends to store works-in-progress there.

Here's the lad taking a load off on the wall in central Times Square:


Just wanted to pop in to say that this was a trip I needed. It reminded me, after surviving--often less gracefully than I would like to--a difficult year of career change, that I am more than my day to day work. Sure, I work hard hoping that I am making a difference in the lives of at least some of my very needy, very impoverished students; but I am also a traveler, a poet, a musician, and a kind human. I intend to hold onto the feeling that I matter, even on the most difficult days. You do the same. Good day.

Friday, March 03, 2017

372WN!!!

Just dropping into me bloggie to note my highly excited pride at being included in the stable of writers for the new publication, 372WN. It's edited by the multi-talented Miriam Drennan, and each and every one of its writers is a resident of West Nashville.

372WN's homepage

It can be read online in its "issuu" incarnation, but I'm partial to the heavy-stock, hefty, beautifully printed magazine itself, free in racks at stores and businesses all over West Nashville. So far, I've had four articles published in the first two issues, I have one slated for issue 3, and I'm working on two more for the June-July issue. FUN! Pick one up, or click one up.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Virtual Reality in Support of One's Mental Health

At La Digue du Braek in Second Life
In my volunteer life, I work with some of the brightest minds in learning and teaching. Serving this year as Chair of the International Society for Technology in Education's Virtual Environments Network (VEN) affords me at least weekly opportunities to actually meet with them. Scheduled meetups are on Tuesday evenings.

After a long day at a very demanding, often-times emotionally draining teaching job at a struggling inner-city school, meeting with these friends (and it seems there are new ones joining in every week), though they may be in New York, Colorado, or Australia--actually being with them, my Second Life avatar embodying my self--helps me relax and know my worth in the world.

Once a month, on the month's first Tuesday, friend Barbara Seaton leads a session called VEN Writers Group. We visit a "sim" that is evocative in some way, artistic, moody, and always creatively designed and implemented, soak our(avatar)selves in the ambiance, and each of us pens some creative writing piece around that experience. The following month we meet at our Second Life Headquarters and share our work by turns.

Last month, we met at VEN HQ, chatted together for a moment, then visited an amazing place modelled after a mixed beach-and-industrial location on the coast of France. I confess that I did not write my piece that night, but later, closer to the sharing meeting, I penned a poem after a particularly hard day at my teaching work. I can't share it here because it is a bit too dark and personal, but it will soon be among the writings shared at our group's website at http://venetwork.weebly.com. The picture above was taken there, and you may visit it in Second Life via this link.

For comparison after you visit in Second Life, see this video drive-through of the "real world" location.

On another Tuesday of every month, we meet for a VEN Focus Session, formerly a "Speaker Session" but more and more participative in the way of a field trip, often to other virtual worlds besides Second Life. Do you want to take a moment to view an archival video of this experience? It might just spur you to get your own avatar at http://secondlife.com and come and join us! Do!

Visit the VEN livestream archives to view one of 11 recorded live events.