Storytime #1: The Bird and the Christmas Tree

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We’re almost out of 2014; whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you. But the end is coming. And as we waste our hours until tomorrow night looking at articles like “2014’s Top Ten Pictures of Koalas wearing Funny Hats” (someone please write that for me), I’d like to divert your attention to something with a little more meat. Something that I can’t believe I haven’t done yet this year.

I started out as a fiction writer. In third grade, I wrote a short story about puppies. I can’t remember the plot for the life of me, but I do remember that they were attacked by an out-of-control model airplane and that one of them was named Spyro (I was an awesome eight-year-old). My first book came in fifth grade: a forty-page thing about a pilot with a talking dog that fought giant chipmunks and befriended super-intelligent toddlers.

It’s fun to write fiction, but it doesn’t take a lot to know that it’s hard to pay the bills as a fiction writer. So I don’t think it’s my calling. But it’s fun, and as it’s Christmastime I’m going to have fun.

I wrote this little half-thing after a scary experience on Christmas Eve night, when we were graced with an unexpected visitor. I present to you, for your possible pleasure, The Bird and the Christmas Tree:

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Seven Years Ago, It Ended

 Harry Potter 7

Exactly seven years ago, Sara and I were spending a night at our Uncle Earl and Aunt Jennifer’s. The reason I remember that is because I sat up until midnight in the top bunk of my cousin’s bed. When the clock struck twelve, I knew that thousands and thousands of people—many in costume—were at the city’s Barnes and Noble, madly grabbing for a yellow book that depicted a certain teenage wizard raised a hand to the sky. I was eleven years old. Even at eleven, I knew how significant this night was. At eleven, I was so jealous of those people that I briefly considered breaking out of the house to go to the bookstore.

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On Pride and Humility

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I have a lot of problems with the English language. But if I had the power to change just one thing, I’d create another word for ‘pride’.

Yes, I’ve heard of a thesaurus—in fact, I even use a thesaurus, big college kid that I am. But we don’t use a lot of the synonyms. We overly rely on the word ‘pride’ itself, and it’s messing with one of the most powerful of human experiences.

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A Message for the Potterheads

In English 241 (which I refer to as “Lord of the Rings class” or “loosely-graded book club”) we’ve long finished LotR and moved through T.H. White’s long and frankly strange work The Once and Future King, a tale of King Arthur. On Thursday, we started the third leg of the class, the one that everyone had been waiting for, the big finale: Harry Potter.

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