The Elements of Riley

My favorite little book on English usage is Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.” I’ve used it a lot through the years in my teaching. There is a lot in there about misspelled homophones and multiple meaning words. In my graduate program I used to work at the Cerritos Community College writing center where I was hired to help entering language students correct basic usage and composition errors on their papers. They were required to spend a given amount of time in the writing center and I would sign them off when they’d seen me a few times. It was a great job for a 26 year old thinking about becoming a college teacher. I got to see what a lot of the job would consist of. Working with people so closely was nice too. After correcting some of the same mistakes over and over by the hundreds, I had developed little doodles and vocabulary to help them see the correct way to spell homophones like to/too/two. I don’t have a way o doodle here “stream of consciousness” but I’ll try and remember some of the ways I used to teach these. I still use some of these little ideas to teach these homophones to my 4th graders.

to is a preposition. It announces where you are going. “I am going to the store.” It has one “o” unlike the other two spellings. too is a modifier of degree. I taught this one by saying when it’s explaining there are “too many” you don’t use just one “o” you use “too many o’s” or “2” o’s as opposed to one. Get it? It’s simple and cheesy but when you are starting out in college or anything you do as a serious writer, these little tips are golden and they were always appreciated. I made handouts and I copied a LOT of them. The final word that sounds the same but is spelled different is the number. two, the number, is spelled with a “w.” I would coach them to memorize the spelling of the number first and then use the trick of “degree” being too many “o’s.” And that’s how I would teach the homophones of to/too/two.

Travel Lightly Down Life’s Road

It’s indescribable how the future changes things.

This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “indescribable.” Use the actual word in your post or just base your post on something that defies description.

If you’ve ever kept a diary you’ve probably experienced looking back at something you wrote in the past that has changed in meaning. Perhaps you were nervously anticipating an upcoming challenge that turned out being no big deal at all. Or maybe you were sounding your trumpet about an event that now, later in time, seems to have lost it’s sheen.

At 46, I could never explain this and I don’t know why I’m trying to do so to people younger than me. It’s less important to define everything and more important to define those universal themes that have stood the test of time for ones life. Like the photo above I found on Tumblr, we can’t see the track ahead clearly. The forest/city/town that we’ll see down the tracks will likely defy all current description. The best advice I can give as you travel through life is to take it easy and believe all things do change.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday – YES

mv5bmtc0ndgwmtk2ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjezodiyote-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_A lot of musicians want to be like the Beatles. They are ready to say yes to success. I don’t think the Beatles ever said that though. As I watch the recent documentary on them, I see some young men who are highly skilled in their craft and who simply go with it. The rest is history. Don’t aim at success, say yes to the work that gets you there.

Below is an In-N-Out lunch one of my students’ parents brought me on my lunch break. Totally surprise. Considering the many times I mess up in life, I still get rewards like that! This family rocks! Makes me want to say yes to all the right things.

John said yes to sitting and writing songs/singing. When he finally met Paul, Paul said “(He) had never met anybody who wrote songs before.” Paul of course wrote songs and together they made history. George played the lead guitar. He said yes to learning his scales, for years before he ever got into the Beatles. Ringo: drums. My takeaway from this is to say yes to the right things. Say no to the wrong things. Then go man go.

Your prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “yes.” Use it as a word, use it in a word, extra points if you start and finish your post with it. Enjoy!After you’ve written your Saturday post tomorrow, please link it here.

Source: Stream of Consciousness Saturday | Linda G. Hill

No Model Home As in Arizona On TV | Damien at the Speed of Life

Despite starting a new project, I am dutifully posting my SoCS post! This one was cathartic! Thanks again Linda Hill.

Somehow I got the bright idea to have a party at the end of the school year … At my house which isn’t a model home in Arizona like the ones in brochures and on the cooking channel …

Read my full post at my online diary: No Model Home As in Arizona On TV | Damien at the Speed of Life


Crash Test Dummy

If a car is traveling at an extremely high speed and you see the video in slow motion, you will clearly see that a brake at the last minute will not stop the car. It will continue with the wheels screeching which can easily cause a break in someone’s car. This is starting to sound like a “Saw” sequel. Imagine that god-awful voice saying: “Someone in your car will receive a break.” Well if it were me, I definitely would want it to happen to me and not anyone in my family. That doesn’t make me a hero by any stretch, just a daddy bear. Incidentally, I have never in my life broken a bone. Pretty lucky huh? Well yeah, on that front, I am quite a lucky guy. I’ve heard broken bones hurt bad.

This unencumbered, stream of consciousness portion of my brain has been sliced as part of the blog challenge:

brake or break

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