Audiobook FINISHED! Chapters 23-24 now available

It’s finished, guys! I thought this would take me until January to get finished, but once I decided to do it, I found ways to keep going. The Forest at the Edge of the World is complete! (And that last chapter is just over an hour, so take an extra long walk or deep clean your fridge as you listen. Why do I write such long chapters?!)

Yes, that means Book 2, Soldier at the Door, will be coming soon. I need to work on the thumbnail for it, then I’ll start recording chapter by chapter for that one as well.

Audiobook Chapters 20-22

Today I took my students through some Emerson, and one student said, “I feel he’s calling me out! I’m always procrastinating and I just can’t make myself do something it it’s not going to be perfect. He says we doubt ourselves and that holds us back!”

“Well?” I responded.

“Well, he’s right!” she declared, guiltily and angrily.

“And what was true nearly 200 hundred years is true now. This is just human nature, but we can dare to be better.” Then I told them about my great fear and hesitation to make these Youtube videos of me reading very imperfectly my imperfect book chapters, but that I’m doing it anyway. I can’t wait for perfection; I’ve always been a B+ student, and sometimes B+ is the best we can hope for.

And that this process has been immensely fun and going faster than I anticipated.

They claimed they were going to listen to my chapters someday, but they can’t now because none of them are allowed computers in our treatment center. And when they leave our program, they’ll have forgotten all about this and I’ll be safe from their mocking. (Whew.)

Still, this has been so much fun. I’m totally enjoying this. And it seems about half a dozen people are as well. Last couple of chapters should be up this week sometime.

Audiobook Chapters 17-19

I teach high school English at a residential treatment center, and today I showed my students selections of “Mulan” as part of a unit in Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. (We’re tracking the cycle in a variety of stories and movies, such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games).

As my students spontaneously sang along with, “Make a Man Out of You!” I realized that Capt. Shang has a lot in common with Perrin, except that Perrin is of Japanese descent (“shin” means “truth”) while Shang is Chinese.

I hadn’t realized before how much Shang may have unconsciously influenced my character development of Perrin:

“Tranquil as the forest . . .”

(Admit you, you sang along in your head, didn’t you?)

“Mysterious as the dark side of the moooooon!”

(There. We both knew we had to finish it.)

Audiobook Chapters 11-13 ready (14 delayed by Relf-voice)

I was really hoping I could 14 done tonight, too, but my voice couldn’t hold out for two long chapters, and started sounding as gravelly as Relf Shin. Sadly, I didn’t have any Relf Shin lines to read, though. (Mahrree’s lines were really starting to sound bad.)

I’ll have to record chapter 14 tomorrow. Stay tuned . . .

Chapters 6-10 Audiobook ready on Youtube

Yeah, I’m cranking these out. It’s absolute joy.

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to going to my closet to read out loud. When I’m having a rough time at work (I teach at a residential treatment center for high school girls), I remind myself, “Just a few more hours and I get to read out loud about Edge. That’s your reward!”

There’s so much in these chapters that I couldn’t think of which to “meme” (plus I’m late with making dinner, so I don’t have time). But I’m finding myself startled by how much I wrote is actually happening to us right now. I kind of suspected some day these problems would be ours, but I didn’t think it’d be so soon.

The big questions: Who do you trust? And what would it take for you to completely change your mind about something?

An Audiobook! Sort of . . .

For years (about eight, I think) I’ve been wanting to turn my books into audiobooks. But the process is time-consuming if you do it yourself, and expensive if you hire someone else to do it. Since I don’t make any money off of my books, and I’m a school teacher, affording a few thousand bucks per book just wasn’t realistic, nor did I have the time to do it all myself.

But then, early in the morning of Labor Day, I had a bizarre dream that woke me up, and I eventually came to the realization that I could do a YouTube channel of me just reading my books, as I do for my high school students. The recordings didn’t have to be perfect (which I can never do anyway) so a LOT of pressure was taken away, I could make a video-per-chapter relatively quickly and easy, and best of all it’d be free–for you and for me!

So my goal is to read a few chapters a week, beginning with Book 1, and see just how far I can go.

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYu2xT0b_plwsNnIK7P6ZBw

And here’s my first attempt at mangling my own books. (I wouldn’t dare read anyone else’s and record it, so it’s ok if I do an only half-way decent job on my own!)

Worst tactic in the battle: canceling and silencing your enemies

Strategically, it’s a bad idea to silence the “emotional” and “illogical” rather than to let it rant. I personally want—no, need—to know what everything thinks, no matter what extreme side they’re on. (I sit in “the middle” so everyone is “extreme” to me.)

“Cancelling” those who you disagree with on Twitter, Facebook, etc. is a dangerous tactic; you’ve lost your insights on what the “opposition” is plotting next.

As a high school teacher, I can assure you that ejecting an angry student from class doesn’t always humble their behavior. Exclusion doesn’t always make them want to reform to become part of “the group.” Exclusion instead often makes them stronger in their oppositional behavior. They become even more “rebellious” to prove their point.

Ignoring those who think differently than you is akin to those in a war refusing intel about movements of their enemy. “Oh, they’re about to invade by crossing our river? Ooh, I don’t like that! That’s not what I want to hear!”

Ignorance leads to irrational decisions. Knowing the next moves of the opposition is crucial to winning your battle and then the war.

Unless you’re afraid their strategy is better than yours.

Unless you’re afraid your battle isn’t based on a wholly solid, noble premise.
Even then, if the enemy is calling out your weaknesses, wouldn’t you want to know that? To turn them into strengths?

Unless the “emotional and illogical” are telling you a truth you don’t know how to counter, a truth that demonstrates the fallibility of your position.

And you’re desperate to create an alternative “truth” that gives you what you want, despite the heavy casualties that will undoubtedly follow.

“Silencing” and “canceling” only suggest that you’re afraid your opponents are right.

However . . .

Zion allows for all ideas of thought. Zion doesn’t force, or coerce, or censor. Zion allows for debate and discourse and even disagreement—civil disagreement. And still people can be of “one mind and one heart” without agreeing on every detail. (I look at my own family; I still love and work with them, even though some may be Star Wars geeks and others are devoted to The Lord of the Rings.)

It’s time to stop silencing other and start Building Zion. #buildzion

Thank a mentor today–they probably don’t realize how they’ve inspired you!

Today I sent an email to my old AP Biology teacher, Doyle Norton, who I found again four years ago. I graduated from high school in the 1980s, but Mr. Norton has influenced me as a teacher, even now. He was creative, hilarious, yet so intent about us learning the content. I was thrilled to pass the AP Biology test! Four years ago I wrote him and told him how much he meant to me. He wrote back the greatest, most enthusiastic email–typical for Mr. Norton!

Today, as I started planning for my third year of teaching AP English in a few weeks, I thought of Doyle Norton again and sent him a follow-up email. I realized I’d never told him I was an AP teacher now, too, and I thanked him profusely for his teaching style which I try to emulate (even though biology and English aren’t exactly interchangeable). I’m awaiting his response (I sure hope he’s still kicking around–he’d be in his seventies) but it felt great to say, “I’m now getting to pretend to be you!”

PICT0007

Doyle Norton, circa 1986, on a biology trip to southern California

It’s an immense responsibility to share your vision of the world with the rising generation. That vision needs to be shared carefully, honestly, fairly, and beautifully. I’m still working on that, and will for the rest of my life.

Today with the Light the World initiative is the suggestion to thank a mentor for their influence. Try it. You’ll make everyone’s day–especially your own!

control world students see