Had a online chat with @zoyajpatel for @express_media toolkit and it was so wonderful to engage in my author life and talk about my memoir #thingsnobodyknowsbutme and the writing process. I also loved the opportunity to put some make up on and take a nice photo of my blue lockdown hair. So yes, I'm superficial and doing a humble brag. You can judge me, but I have blue hair and I just don't care. #lockdown #writingcommunity
View my interview here.
Today was a baptism by fire-first day of teaching remotely and I have a six on day. It was slightly tortuous with all sorts of connectivity issues: Compass was down, there was lag, my carefully created website had various permission issues with documents not visible until I gave kids permission, I created online videos filming my screen with my phone and posted on YouTube as private and then had to change settings. The first lesson I spent one hour online with kids sorting through everything. But we got there in the end.
Had very high attendance with online video conferencing, which speaks highly of our school structure and our parents emphasis on education. After each lesson I emailed all students who did not attend about the work they needed to complete. Tomorrow I have spares and will be going through and checking their work. Considering it was the first day and it was a bit chaotic, I'm really happy with how it went. Hopefully it will get smoother as we go.
My daughter also had her first day of remote learning and she was a star. She completed all the tasks on her schedule. She was video conferencing with friends while doing Maths, but then found it too distracting because they were talking about non-related things. She a slight wobbly because she struggled a little with the Maths topic, but hubby calmed her down and got her on track.
It was a big day and we were pooped. I'd had insomnia last night and had to nap to recover, and then needed a pick me up in the form of one of my all time favourite rom-com movies.
No writing today. I'm in teaching brain and after spending all day in front of the screen my brain is fried. My writing routine was to get up at 6 am and write before work, so that's what I'm going to have to come back to next week.
What I'm watching:
Crazy Stupid Love on Netflix. I love this movie so much and have probably watched it about eight times. It makes me so happy and is such a beautiful and real depiction of true love. Rom coms are usually sappy and ridiculous, but this one is so beautiful and real. And Ryan Gosling is yumalicious.
Received a lovely email today that my memoir has been included in a recently published video wiki "Authors Of Brutally Honest And Surprising Memoirs," link here.
I'm told that the wiki was "founded in 2011, Ezvid Wiki was the world's first video wiki, and is now among the top 3,000 websites in the United States. Our YouTube channel has over 500,000 subscribers, with nearly 300 million views since founding."
I am so impressed and happy with the video featuring my memoir.
Today we had a curriculum day remotely. I got to learn how to use Google Meet which I'll be using tomorrow to teach my students. I posted all my lessons online and conducted some Q&A's on Google Classroom with my students.
I'm eager and nervous about teaching online. I haven't spent this much time lesson planning for individual lessons since I was doing my teaching rounds.
No writing today. I spent quite a few hours online and my headspace isn't right.
What I'm watching:
Three Identical Strangers on Stan-a documentary about triplets who were separated at birth and adopted to three different families. When they were 19 year-old they discovered each other. Over the years they found out they were part of a secret experiment created to study separated twins and triplets to see whether nature or nurture would win. Absolutely amazing and interesting.
I'm cheating and this post was written retrospectively and back-dated. Yesterday was a day of feeling weird and slightly worried about remote teaching. I did some prepping and lesson planning.
It was an incredibly beautiful and sunny day and I just felt the desperate need to feel the sun on my skin. I placed an outside blanket on my front lawn where it was sunny and spent twenty minutes enjoying the rays. It was divine.
Then I had a lovely catch up with my friend Renee via Skype. Nothing like a good laugh to help lift the spirits.
No writing today. Teaching mode.
What I'm watching:
I watched The Healer on Netflix and posted the following on Facebook Public Service Announcement-Do not watch The Healer on Netflix. Is a faith based movie that is so saccharine, contrived and unsatisfying.
What I'm reading:
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris. I read her first novel The Tattooist of Aushwitz a few months ago and it was amazing. Cilka's Journey is just as riveting. Cilka survives Aushwitz. When the camp is liberated by the Russians she is charged as a collaborator and sentenced to jail in a Siberian gulag for 15 years. It is heartbreaking and riveting. Am about 100 pages in and can't wait to continue reading.
Not feeling too great today. Feeling cabin fever and a sense of crankiness that I can't go anywhere or do anything. Haven't done any writing. Felt too tired and listless. I don't feel like writing anything, including this blog post, however the point of this diary is to look back on the day to day under lockdown, and days like this matter.
I'm not even going to bother to post this on social media. This is just for me, and if anyone randomly stumbles onto it.
We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm going to try and shake off the funk and get back to my novel. It is going somewhere.
I also have an online catch up with some friends, so hopefully that will help. I know I need to make more effort to book online talks with people, but even that feels too hard. It's quite a dichotomy, feeling the aching loneliness, yet too listless to do anything about it.
Lockdown is weird.
What I'm watching:
Utopia on Stan-Season 4 dropped and this show is amazing. Such a great satire about the inner workings of government. Australian comedy at its best.
Today I spent a few hours working on preparing lessons for remote learning. I have two weeks of lessons ready and waiting so I'm hoping it will go well.
I also uploaded some Remote Learning resources for parents/teachers. This website is for my daughter to use as she undertakes remote learning so I thought I'd make it public so others could get use out of it.
Remote Learning here.
I have more resources to upload over the next few weeks.
No writing today. After hours on the computer I fell into bed and napped and then just watched TV. Hoping to catch up tomorrow.
What I'm watching:
Dare Me on Netflix-based on the book by Megan Abbott who is the producer and writer of the show. Love Abbott's books. She perfectly captures young teenage adolescence, their arrogance as they are coming into their feminine power, and yet helplessness as they are trapped by their circumstances. Really enjoying it so far.
With school resuming next week I spent a good four hours preparing my lessons for remote learning. My students have gotten used to working with Google Documents-however to simplify the process and ensure they can complete the tasks I am individually copying files they will be working on into the individual folders I created for them at the beginning of the year.
I also created a website for each of my classes and am uploading all my resources on there and hoping this will be a one-stop-shop in order to make the lesson running easier.
I attempted experimenting with recording instructions videos. The software that has been recommended does not record audio unless it is paid for. I attempted using Quicktime where you can record the screen and audio as two seperate files, which I can presumably merge together using Imovie. I have created some short videos using IMovie, but it was a while ago and I almost have to re-learn these skills. Anyway, I'm not giving up. I will attempt this again and perhaps succeed.
I have also started a resource for my daughter's remote learning and will chip away at it. I plan on sharing that with the world so parents and teachers can get some use out of it.
I didn't think I would get much in the way of writing done because my head was spinning and my back slightly achy after hours in front of the computer, but I preserved and got down 1085 words. Feeling quite impressed with myself.
And I cooked-for the first time in months. But I cooked. I made a pretty magnificent Mutusha.
What I'm watching:
Even though we are cat people in my household we love watching dog movies. Togo on Disney Plus was magnificent. Such a beautiful movie based on a true story. Togo and his owner do a lifesaving run for medicine in Alaska in 1925. It was truly riveting and uplifting.
½ litre milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion
flour to thicken
My insomnia feels like my secret gift and curse. Every once in a while it wakes me with brilliant ideas where my unconscious solves problems I haven't even realised I was worrying over, but then leaves me too tired and lethargic to implement these ideas.
This morning's epiphany was about my novel:
The other idea had to do with my daughter's remote learning and activities I want to set up for her.
This morning I woke up feeling energetic to get going. I had a friend call me and had a lovely long chat that really uplifted my spirits. Then I sat down to work on the family tree and frittered all this time attempting to figure out the best way to do it. Frustrated with myself I began online searches about where to buy a map of in 1990 Srebrenica online. I did a little bit of writing and moving chapters around, but got derailed when I couldn't find an attribution for a quote and had to search multiple documents.
So all in all a bit of a wasteful day. Hubby and I attempted watching a documentary but after Tiger King the one we started seemed tedious and boring. There was only one thing left to do-spend the afternoon of reading.
Here's hoping tomorrow will be a more productive day.
What I'm reading:
I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall
This is such an engaging thriller. Jess finds herself stranded in the wilderness and has to find the strength and courage to survive, despite overwhelming odds. Marshall truly takes the writer's advice to not be kind to her characters to the max. There were some scenes that were hard to read and I was riveted to find out how she would get her character out of the jam. This was a great read and I'm going to add Marshall to her my must read list.
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
Sign up and receive free books.