Friday, June 14, 2013

Another Successful Day in the Ville

Another good day of reading.  Got a lot of essays read.  I've greatly enjoyed getting to know my table-mates.  They are all good people and dedicated to doing a great job.  I hope to have a picture of them up soon.

This was another dinner out night, so I walked up and down 4th Street Live trying to decide where to eat.  I looked at menus in windows and finally settled on a place called Smashburger.  I ordered an avocado club burger and Nutter Butter Shake.  It was all amazing!  Healthy--of course--it had avocado on it!

This is 4th Street Live.  It used to be a place called The Galleria way back when I lived in Louisville.  It's like a pedestrian mall and they block off the street for concerts often.  Tons of restaurants.  

My shake came first.  It was so big it came in two cups!

About five minutes after this picture, the burger was replaced by about six napkins.  Delicious, yes.   Neat, no.

During lunchtime, many folks like to get out of the building--it's pretty intense work, so we need some sunshine and downtime.  There's a beautiful plaza across the street with fountains and a grassy area.  At lunch time it's solid people just soaking up the sun.

Our grassy sanctuary!

You can't see the fountains very well, but they're quite pretty.

This is a better view of one of the fountains.  There's a Panera, but we have  that at home, so I am venturing to eat at local places.
When I got back to the hotel this evening, I was greeted by calliope music from the Belle of Louisville, which was getting set to take folks on a dinner cruise.  It was quite festive.  Here's a picture from the atrium of her as she's pulling away from the dock.

The Belle of Louisville
It's hard to believe the reading ends tomorrow and I fly home day after.  It's been a great experience and I really hope they invite me back.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baseball and Irish Pubs!

I've had a great time so far in Louisville.  Went to a Louisville Bats game last night.  Louisville Slugger Field is a top-notch facility and the Bats can really hit.  They had three dingers, including a grand slam that turned out to be the game winner.  It was also dog night, so I got to pet a bunch of adorable pooches.

Tonight we ate on our own.  I walked up the street to an Irish Pub called Ri Ra. No idea how to say it or what it means, but it was voted best Irish Pub in Louisville.  Don't know how significant that is, but the food was great.

I have posted other pictures, along with some of theses, on my Facebook page.

View from my seats.  I sat next to a lovely lady called Ms. Susie.  She's such a fixture at the ballpark that she actually has her name on her seat. 
Another picture from my seat.  I got in for $10 and it was dollar hot dog night.  Only in a minor league town could you get a ball game ticket and dinner for under $20. 

Homemade chicken pot pie from the Ri Ra Irish Pub.  It was so delicious!  It had a puff pastry topper that was so creamy that it was like it had cheese under it.  The dark bread was great dipped in it.

This is what's left of my appetizer.  Homemade potato cakes.  They  roll them in Panko bread crumbs before cooking so they had the best crust.  They were topped with a sour cream dressing of some kind and drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar.  They were too good not to eat before I got my phone out for a picture.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I'm Surrounded By Smart People!

Arrived today in Louisville for the AP Literature and Composition reading.  Despite the horror stories I'd heard, my flights were uneventful.  And the leg from Cleveland to Louisville was filled with readers, so that added to the fun.  The hotel is quite nice, although, as with all tall buildings and large groups, the elevators take FOREVER.  I timed it and it took me 6 minutes to get from my room on the 21st floor to the 1st floor at dinner time.  I was considering taking my laptop downstairs to the AP lounge just to be around people, but I just couldn't face that wait again.

As I've talked to the other readers, I've gotten a little intimidated at how many smart people are here.  I mean I knew going in that the place would be littered with smarties, considering there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of AP teachers and college professors here.  But being here and listening to them talk makes it even more real.  I like to think I'm smart too, but, based on  the number of people who are hugging each other and talking like old friends, these are also mostly smart people with experience.

All I can do is my best.  I'm sure I'll be fine.  And as someone told me, it'll probably be the hardest professional development I'll ever love.

The lobby of the Galt House

The view from my window :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Things Are Rarely As Bad As I Think They'll Be

I finally sat down to tackle the chapter of my manuscript that I was scared to work on.  As I said in a previous entry, my editor was asking me to make some pretty extensive changes and I was afraid I didn't want to make them and also that I couldn't make them without making a mess of the whole chapter.  I felt like it was going too far from my original image of my main character.

As I can't seem to remember from incident to incident, it's almost never as bad as my worry-prone mind makes it out to to be.  First of all, she told me I needed to expand the action in one scene.  That wasn't hard at all.  It was the opposite of what I normally get asked to do, which is cut, cut, cut.  But what I need to cut is the stuff in between the action scenes.  I'm being asked, to quote the great philosopher, Elvis Presley, "[a] little less conversation, a little more action please..."  So I took a paragraph of barely implied action and turned it into 2+ pages of explicit action.

The other issue was the harder one.  I like the action, but I like to bloviate too.  I'm learning--very slowly--that I can't keep both.  The reader apparently wants the narration to be economical and straight to the point but the action should be as developed and as detailed as possible.  They want to feel like they're in the room or the car or wherever the shootout or chase takes place.

So I just did it.  I didn't want to, but I started cutting and suddenly it was almost the end of the school day (I just supervise credit recovery and in-school suspension students now that my seniors are gone) and I was a full seven chapters past the scary part.  What's more, I began keeping track and cut more than 500 words in those chapters, and made the story flow at a much better pace than it had before.

So I'm almost halfway there; I think I'll be ready to shop this puppy before the end of the month, so maybe I'll have an agent by the end of the summer.  I can't properly explain how much I want that.  I can't remember anything I've wanted this badly since I became a grown-up.