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Yes, You Can Change - Quieting the Voice of Doubt


“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” George Eliot, (1819-1880)

Why do we give up on learning and not challenge ourselves to learn more? Is it because learning gets pushed to the bottom of our “To Do” list? How many people have settled for less because they didn’t want or were unwilling to push themselves that extra step to finish a degree or earn a certification? We are capable of so much more, but does that voice of doubt hold us back?

I have reached my first milestone after ten weeks into this college semester. I’m still enrolled in the class! Yes, it feels good. I have gotten past the hurdle when the voice of doubt would have told me I couldn’t do it and I would have normally dropped this Math (Intermediate Algebra) class. Always, I would promise myself that I would take the class again later. Well, there comes a point where there are no more next semesters and that voice of doubt begins to sound like a broken record. For all of us today, education is so important and it will unlock more doors and provide us with more opportunities than without it. I’m reminded of a saying from the writer George Eliot (1819-1880) “It is never too late to be who you might have been.”

How do you know when it’s time for something bigger and better in life? Each of us is searching for that ultimate goal in life to be able to say we did it. Have you seen the cartoon of the man and the little angel that sits on his right shoulder encouraging him to do something and then the little red devil pops onto the left shoulder and provides a doubtful response to all that the angel encourages? Listed below are some ways to silence that little red devil – the voice of doubt and pursue your goals.

You can’t do that! Let your mantra become, “I can do better than that,” and repeat it over and over again.

You’ll be old by the time you finish! Guess what? Time waits for no-one and you’ll be older anyway whether you take the time to get an education or not. Probably you’ll be a lot smarter than you were and making more money.

You’ll have to sacrifice so much it will hurt: What will you really be giving up? Assemble a team of supporters to help you while you pursue your educational goals or take that class that could move you to the next pay level. Sure, it will be an uphill battle, but the reward is worth it.

Stop doubting yourself and keep an open mind. Give yourself all the encouragement you can muster. Quoting Barack Obama in his acceptance speech winning the Presidential Election in 2008, “Yes, we can change.”

Good Luck in all your endeavors.


NaNoWriMo versus Algebra


Another year and again I will be unable to participate in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Competition. In September I had enrolled in a Math class at the local junior college to finish up more units towards my English degree. Oh Sure! I feel like the kid that couldn’t come out to play. While so many of my writer friends are all participating in NaNoWriMo I’m figuring out the Quadratic Formula and completing the Square and stressing every time there is a test.

Can you just imagine all those writers creating stories that become novels? All those nouns, verbs, adjectives making sentences on the page and telling a story it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. I don’t get those same goose bumps solving math problems and as for the people that thought of these equations they certainly won’t be on any of dinner invite lists.

While I don’t think it’s fair to bore you with examples of my math problems on this post, I’m going to send you to some writers who are participating in NaNoWriMo 2008.

• Morgan Mandel, http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
• Laura Crawford, http://greetingsfromthepolebarn.blogspot.com


National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your pants approach to novel writing. Since 1999, Participants have begun writing their novels on November 1 and their goal is to write a 175 page (50,000) word novel by midnight on November 30. https://www.nanowrimo.org


Long Sentences Like a Good Wine Endure Through Time


When did long sentences go out of style? Have we have been taught that in order to grab the attention of the reader we must do it in as few sentences as possible, because we know that the reader’s attention span is very miniscule? The reader’s attention instead has been captured by the electronic age and it is increasingly harder to get people to read. However, in our rush to capture the reader’s attention have our sentences become less vibrant and less meaningful?

Great writers of literature endured the test of time. Their sentences were vibrant and full of meaning and their sentences tantalized our senses like an excellent wine with dinner. Have we become unable to appreciate vibrant verbs, the provocative adjectives, the descriptive adverbs that make a sentence more robust and vibrant? Have our words been reduced to simple sentences on a page?

The longer sentence where every single word is the best that can be found and a word or phrase could not be cut from this without sacrificing anything essential is like a puzzle where every piece fits the picture. Below is an example from the opening of Virginia Woolf’s essay, “One Being Ill.”

“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness, how we go down into the pit of death and feel the water of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist’s arm-chair and confuse his “Rinse the Mouth ---- rinse the mouth” with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us – when we think of this, as we are frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.”

This sentence has 181 words and like a puzzle each word fits tightly. This sentence is not something to be feared because of the number of words it is something to be embraced for the flow of words sounds like music. It is pleasurable to read, graceful, witty and intelligent. I don’t think Virginia Woolf would take kindly to being told that short sentences that have lost their vigor and meaning are in style today.


Do you strive to become a better writer by writing better sentences? Do you strive to become a better reader by reading the classics? Do you strive to become a better student by writing papers that have not been plagiarized or copied from the internet, but are written in your own words?

My challenge to all writers, readers and students is to read a classic novel. Look up the words that you come across when you don’t know the definition. Write down the definitions, put the words into sentences and try to use a new word a day in your conversation.

Happy Reading!


School Trivia - Beverly Hills 90210 not in 90210


Hollywood Comes to the Valley – Beverly Hills 90210 makes its comeback to television later this year. The original 90210 was a fictional television show in the 90’s about a group of teenagers living in the upscale star studded community of Beverly Hills. The characters attended Beverly Hill High School, but the actual school used for filming the school scenes was in the middle class community of Torrance, California at Torrance High School in the zip code 90501.

Even though its celebrity roster is less glittery than Hollywood or Beverly Hills High School many familiar faces have walked these halls, Alan Ladd being the most famous, probably followed by Erin Moran who played Joanie in television’s Happy Days. comedian Adam Carolla, Harry Anderson – Night Court (Judge Harry T. Stone).

A tiny college once known as San Fernando State College has now been enrolling students for 50 years. It is now known as California State University at Northridge, CSUN (see-sun) for its short name. At this year’s graduation for the Mike Curb College the president of the school addressed the graduates and said be careful with what you do because this chapter of your life has no delete key.

Author, Susan Sontag author of “The Way We Live Now” (2001) and other books was an alumnus of North Hollywood High School the second oldest school in the San Fernando Valley.

Alemany High School celebrates 50 years of enrolling students. Situated on the San Fernando Mission Grounds in Mission Hills this Catholic High School opened its doors to its first class of students in 1958.

Did ya know? - Author, Francine Pascal who has written 35 books about proms and high school never attended her prom.

Happy School Days!