Searching for Answers

Melinda walked into the deserted and dreary mansion.  The windows on all floors were cracking, cobwebs were clinging to many pieces of furniture, the rooms were dark and foreboding, and the wooden floorboards creaked underneath her feet as she tiptoed in the night.

It had been years since Melinda had last been here, which was the same length of time ago that this house had been running and active.  The former servant sighed as she delved back into bright memories of her mistress Mrs. Dorling smiling and indulging in her children’s welfare and wants, and the children themselves, Thomas, Fiona, and Giorginia, running around and chasing each other.  Melinda’s master, Mr. Dorling, would come home in his clean, sharp-looking black suit with his briefcase and head to the study, shutting the door behind him.  Melinda had watched as the children she nursed aged and matured before her very own eyes.

The then-comfortable and cozy-looking house had been perfect for small gatherings.  But as the years passed, the Dorling family had felt increasing tension and nervousness of the location of their mansion.  Many of their socialites and neighbors had left gradually during the recent years, and the Dorlings had decided it was their turn to leave too.

Melinda, ever the faithful servant she was, had stayed behind to look after the mansion.  For some strange reason, the Dorlings had decided not to drag her along with them on their move.  And now, as the faithful servant sat in a dusty old leather couch in the dank and musty living room, she still wondered why.

No one had wanted to move into this house after the Dorlings’ departure.  And now, come to think of it, no one had even moved into the neighborhood.  Everyone had just gone up and gone.  Disappeared.

But why?  Melinda wondered to herself.  There had to be some reason.  A whole neighborhood full of well-off people couldn’t have just decided to leave town without some valid reason.  Right?

Looking behind her, Melinda shakily pulled out a flashlight.  The place gave her the shivers and the creeps.  The maid was grateful now that she brought her flashlight, though she hadn’t thought she’d need it at first.  Blindly feeling her way with her hands along the walls, Melinda, little by little, made her way to the staircase.

She thought that the answers might most likely lie there, somewhere above that creaking staircase.  Up and up Melinda went, tiptoeing in case- she didn’t know why.

The ex-servant cautiously pushed the wooden door in front of her open and swatted away the dust specks that collected around her as she entered.  Sneezing, she wiped away her snot with the sleeve of her classy, small black and white dress.  Her foot suddenly hit something that felt like a box.

Melinda froze for a moment in shock.  Then, after several seconds, she slowly squatted down and shone her flashlight in the box.  In this old, torn cardboard box, she saw something that she thought might hold the answers to her question.

A book.  An old leather-bound book.

She opened it, and dust went flying everywhere, making Melinda sneeze.  In the notebook, she saw scrawled and scribbled small words across the yellowed and wrinkled pages.  She could barely make out the incoherent mess, but some words stood out to her.  And as she saw the words, a sudden chill crept up her spine and she dropped the book, shrieking.

THEY HAVE ARRIVED.  

NaNoWriMo 2013: Want to Write a Novel?

I’m not sure if I can do this, but I’m up for it. My English teacher, who is helping publish the literary magazine for my school this year, is encouraging us to do it, so I’ll at least try.

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It’s just a few days until November, and you know what that means: National Novel Writing Month, better known ’round these parts as NaNoWriMo, is near.

Have you always wanted to write a novel?

We know some of you have been waiting all year for this month! For those of you who are new to this project, here’s the gist:

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Bullying in the 21st Century

080747_Cyber_Bullying

Bullying is a big problem these days.

Of course we all know that, but do we understand the actual reason or extent behind it? Maybe we do, or maybe we don’t. But why is bullying still such a prominent problem?

The answer is the Internet. With the increasing popularity of computers, iPhones, Androids, and social networking, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Almost everyone uses these these days.

But happens is that this type of bullying isn’t really brought up that often in schools.  Teachers usually teach students that physical and verbal (in other words, face-to-face) bullying is not tolerated.  But how often do they mention the kind exchanged over the computer?  Not often?  I didn’t think so.  Sure, more and more schools are teaching kids about this ever-growing branch of bullying, but for right now, it’s not enough.  In case you haven’t noticed, in the news these days, the victims of bullying are normally victims of cyber bullying.  Usually this happens on sites like Facebook.  And it’s the teacher’s job to prevent this from happening again.

So the resolution?  Teach kids more about bullying, specifically cyber bullying!  If we’re going to let our kids have technology and access to the Internet, it’s probably a wise decision to inform them not to abuse this privilege!  And here’s to hoping for a more peaceful and better future and lives for the next generation.

Somewhat Obsessed With Canada

Actually, in my class, every time we’re discussing something BRILLIANT (sarcasm intended) the United States did, my classmates always mention wanting to move to Canada. Always.

Eleventh Stack

I think about Canada a lot. Not constantly, mind you, but more often than on those occasions when somebody gets upset about something that’s happened in U.S. politics/culture and threatens to move there.  It stymies me that Canada simply isn’t on most Americans’ radar. I mean, it’s right there, but it hardly ever crosses our minds. Nor do we learn about it in school. At least, I didn’t. Kudos to you and your teachers if you spent longer than one day in social studies pondering a Canadian curriculum. All I know about Canada is that it has trees, maple syrup, and hockey and that Margaret Atwood‘s visions of the future are Somewhat Bleak. I can also name a handful of randomcelebrities who hail from there, but this doesn’t exactly make me Jeopardy champion material.

Clearly, this ignorance will not do, especially since Alice Munrorecently won…

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Fish out of Water

She was drowning.

Jenny was gasping for breath, for air as she struggled to stay above the surface of the waters, the waves violently crashing and washing over her. She tried to hold on to her life. She would die fighting if she needed to.

Feeling like a fish out of water, the soaking, struggling, dark-haired girl attempted to lie on her back and float, but the waves and wind would wash her down and not stay still. So after many minutes of trying, she screamed desperately for help until her throat became hoarse. Then she was drowning, going below the surface, the sky, saying a silent goodbye to everything she knew.

Jenny didn’t remember how or when, but the first thing she knew when she woke up was that she was being lifted and carried to shore. As a feminine arm lifted Jenny’s body over her shoulder, Jenny felt life return to her body and lungs again. Greedy for air, Jenny panted heavily, exhausted, as the mysterious female carried her to shore. When Jenny was placed on the warm, soft, grainy yellow sand and on land again, Jenny thanked the woman, who- didn’t exactly turn out to be a woman.

The female seemed to have a pleasant, mystical essence around her. She had unusually perfect and flawless features, her skin and hair gleaming, almost glowing, even in this cloudy weather when the sun wasn’t out. What was most unusual about her was her refusal to climb on to the land, almost like she was hiding something. She was very persistent and just watched over Jenny.

Jenny, deciding she’d recovered enough and feeling bold, asked in a clear, loud voice, “Who are you?”

The female just smiled sadly and shook her head, taking her hands off the rock she’d held onto and looked back at Jenny for one last time, waving goodbye. Then she took off, swimming at the speed of light into the horizon, into the distance and unknown.

Link roundup for the week of October 21

the contextual life

Lots of interesting media, tech, and publishing news this week. Here are just a few things that caught my eye.

E-books, Readers, and Apps

  • Competition in the tablet market is increasing. NYT
  • 97% of newsstand apps are now free. AdWeek
  • New moms spend more time on smartphones than other adults. LA Times
  • Using metrics to boost e-book sales. MediaShift

Social Media

  • Five tips for promoting your online events using social media. Social Times
  • Facebook rolls out a new feature to help publishers increase engagement. Facebook

Media and Publishing

Writing and Grammar

  • “E-book” keeps…

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Six-Word Memoirs Are For All

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What’s Your Six-Word Memoir?

The Six-Word Memoir is an internet meme that is ancient (born 2008) by meme standards, yet it still maintains popularity due to the endless possibilities.  The memoirs get much love on Tumblr, including lots of photos of Honest Tea caps.   According to Smith Magazine, which started the online project and published a book or two, “a SixWordMemoir® is the story of your life—some part of it or all of it—told in exactly sixwords.”Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes.  Never worn.” is credited as being the very first.

On the First Floor at Main, following in the Teen tradition,  we asked patrons to share their Six-Word Memoirs.  As always, we were not disappointed.  My favorites include “the pub quiz ended in bloodshed” and “never gotta mustard, always gotta ketchup.”

Because I am a super-nerd (Hey, I’m a librarian!), I also think it’s fun…

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