Good afternoon campbellsworld visitors.
Author Jo E. Pinto is back with another awesome article.
I cannot think of anything to add so I’ll just let the fabulous writing speak for itself.
Speaking of fabulous writing, once you’ve read the article make sure to keep reading to find out about Jo’s book The Bright Side of Darkness.
You who are teachers of teens might consider adding this to your student’s summer reading list.
Thanks for stopping by and come again very soon to see what’s up here in the Author’s Corner.
A Shout Out to Teachers
Teachers have taken a lot of heat in the news lately. In some states, they’ve gone on strike for better wages and updated textbooks. In others, they’ve spoken out against guns in schools. After reflecting on the lively tales my little girl told me about her third grade class trip to a nearby state park last spring, I feel sincerely inspired to give a shout out to all of you brave, awesome teachers of the world. You’re amazing! When politicians rag on you for daring to want a few of the finer things in life, when parents gripe at you because you’re too hard on their little darlings or don’t challenge them enough or give them too much homework or don’t shower them with every moment of your undivided attention, or whatever their latest beef is, smile to yourself and let their snark roll off–like water off a duck’s back, my dad would always say.
My little girl saw fish, frogs, ducks, red-winged blackbirds, and geese at the lake in the state park. A boy in her class threatened to push her into the lake and feed her to the piranhas and alligators.
“There are no piranhas and alligators in Colorado, goofball,” she said. “It’s too cold here.”
“Then I’ll feed you to the angry geese!” the boy blustered.
“Geese can be very grumpy, Mom,” she told me seriously.
She touched a live bullsnake–scaly and cool, not slimy–and saw a shaggy, full-sized mounted buffalo “that was even bigger than Dad.”
Anyway, back to why teachers are absolutely amazing. One of the Barr Lake rangers did a presentation about birds, especially chickadees, and how they puff up their feathers so they appear much larger than usual when a perceived enemy enters their territory. Then they give out their distinctive call, “Chicka-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!” in attempt to drive the intruder away.
A couple of the boys decided they like the sound of the chickadee call and started to imitate it. The fad caught on, and a few more kids joined in, then more and more and more kids. This kept up till by lunchtime, four classes of third graders were chanting, “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!” almost nonstop. All through lunch and back to school on the bus, the chant went on relentlessly. My little girl said, “The noise made my brain hurt.”
Finally, a student teacher had reached her limit. She sucked in a deep breath and yelled at the top of her lungs, “ENOUGH!”
“Her face was bright red,” my daughter said, obviously impressed. Then she asked timidly, “Mom, are teachers allowed to yell at us like that?”
“Well–” I hesitated, trying to decide what to say. Then–I couldn’t help myself; I burst out laughing. “I don’t blame her. I’m not sure it was the best choice she could have made, but if I were trapped on a bus with a hundred eight- and nine-year-olds babbling like chickadees out of tune, I might have yelled for mercy, too.”
So here’s to you–student teachers brimming with enthusiasm and still filling your bank accounts with grace and patients, teachers in the trenches who do their best to guide, motivate, and nurture our children throughout the weeks and months and years of their long school careers so they can reach their full potential as adults, and retired teachers who have finished pushing their share of chickadees out of the nest and are ready to watch them fly and hear them sing.
MORE ON AUTHOR JO E. PINTO
“The Bright Side of Darkness” Is an award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
About the author…
J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
Rick Myers, an orphan without much faith in the future, and Daisy Bettencourt, a blind girl who is running from an alcoholic father and a set of overprotective foster parents, cross paths at a high school baseball game and make their way together. Daisy becomes the bright spot in Rick’s universe as he and his four lifelong friends–Tim, Mark, and the twins–battle the forces of poverty and hopelessness. Mark’s grandma dies of heart failure, and Tim’s stepdad is arrested on felony child abuse charges, leaving them, like Rick and Daisy, with no authority figures in their lives.
Rick and Daisy are trailed by a fat man in a battered green jeep who makes Rick more and more uneasy as the weeks pass. Then, just when Rick discovers an interest in the culinary field and decides to complete his education, the bottom drops out of his world.
There’s nothing a damn bit bright about sunshine when you’re seventeen and you see it from the wrong side of a jail cell window.
It isn’t that I’m moping for my lost freedom or anything. I wouldn’t give a half a crap for my life anymore now that the crew is scattered to the four winds, and all I have left of Daisy is her parting note in the waistband of my jeans and a wilted dandelion dangling between my fingers. But it seems to me that the Man Upstairs could have marked my downfall with a terrific thunderstorm or at least a few nasty black clouds out of the west.
When there’s a war or a funeral or some other sad thing going on in the movies, the sky usually turns dark and ugly, and the rain pours down in buckets. The longer I stare at the square of sunlight streaming through the tiny window of my cell and stealing across the floor, the lonelier I feel. August 27, 1986, is slipping by the same as every other hot, heavy day, and I’m the only one in the world who knows that nothing will ever be all right again.
It hasn’t always been this way. I ought to have known better than to believe I could reach out and snag a piece of paradise, but for a little while I had it on my fingertips. Breaks are hard to come by for kids from the projects, though, and sure enough, all I ended up with at the last second was empty hands.
I’m doing my level best to hold off a flood of memories, but my mind keeps drifting back to the sweltering summer evening when the chain of events began that shattered my world into a zillion pieces. First thing tomorrow morning, some juvenile court judge will decide if my life is worth rebuilding. Maybe he’ll have better luck with my future than I did with my past.
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