ghostly tales with some side stories.

May I share my recent weekly Rob Brezny Pisces forecast with you, reader(s)? (I'm sharing because my suspicion is that Rob actually writes for ALL the zodiac, meaning: you could close your eyes, land your finger on any one of his astrology sign predictions, and find great wisdom you could apply to yourself. Just because I'm not an Aries doesn't mean I can't act like one...if I think it'll get me some place nice.) 

At any rate, here's what Rob says to do this week:

For a long time, an Illinois writer named

ArLynn Leiber Presser didn't go out much. She had 325 friends on

Facebook and was content to get her social needs met in the virtual

realm. But then she embarked on a year-long project in which she sought

face-to-face meetings with all of her online buddies. The experiment
yielded sometimes complicated but mostly interesting results. It took her
to 51 cities around the world. I suggest we make her your inspirational
role model for the coming weeks, Pisces. In at least one way, it's time for
you to move out of your imagination and into the real world. You're
primed to turn fantasies into actions, dreams into practical pursuits.

Isn't that nice? Let's go out and turn our imagination into the real world, Internet! Get off Twitter, turn off Instagram, stop stalking people on Facebook and get out there! Turn  your fantasies into actions, your dreams into practical pursuits.

Here's an example of how I did that this week with writing:

Some friends and I are going to Tybee Island/Savannah next month, and two of us are intensely fascinated by ghosts and hauntings. So of course we're taking a ghost hunting tour. You can't go to the most haunted city in America and not do this. If I find out you've gone to the Savannah area and NOT gone on a ghost hunting tour? Oh, we are so done. Don't even come back here! I mean it. And NO, I don't care if you're terrified of icy, invisible fingers trailing down the back of your neck. Are you for real?! That's a story you can tell random strangers you meet in pubs and subways. Now stop being a skeptic scaredy cat and get into that pitch black room where the man was butchered 150 years ago and has been heard growling ever since! GO!

So I was online looking for times/dates/suggestions/etc for ghost tours for when we're in town, when an idea for a story suddenly popped into my head, beginning with a few big What If? questions: What if there was a girl who was in love with a ghost? And what if that ghost loved her back, but in a really creepy, obsessive way? And what if the hauntings in that girl's small town started to suddenly and mysteriously pick up, in very undeniable ways? Ways that captured the attention of people who may or may not have that girl's (and that town's) best interests at heart? And how could a ghost's creepy obsessive love for a girl and a town play into that?

I'd read a story like that. You might not. You might read those what if questions and go: snore, Amy. And that's fine. But I'd read a story like that. And also, you clearly don't understand: GHOSTS ARE REAL. Stop messing around and get with the program. 

I took about an hour and developed a whole story outline. An outline that I'd call more outline-ish, because quite frankly I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to very long novel writings. My craft is short story. But I'm going to attempt a novel. And I'm going to start attempting it as soon as parent teacher conferences are over.

Hey, speaking of--can we talk for a moment, Internet?

I've noticed some trendings over the last several years in regards to how teachers are treated by the general public. Can we talk about that? Let's talk about Good vs Bad Ways to View Schools and Teachers and What NOT to Do (I promise I'll swing this back around to my ghost writing content at the end):

1-This may come as a shocking revelation/unexpected surprise/depression-inducing disappointment, but teachers are not babysitters. Yes, yes. I realize "YOUR" taxpayer money gets put in our paychecks, so maybe you feel like you should get to dictate to us how, when, where, and why we do our jobs and in what capacity. And also maybe you're a misogynist who has absolutely no respect for the teaching profession because the vast majority of its professionals happen to have two X chromosomes, and humans with two X chromosomes are supposed to babysit and bend over backwards to your every whim and command. 

If that's the case, let me school you a bit. Listen: "YOUR" taxpayer money also gets put into police officers', firefighters', postal workers', and public librarians' paychecks, too. Okay? We all enjoy certain services like paved roads, protection from criminals, being saved from burning buildings etc because we pool our monies into systems that do that for us. Sorry, i am NOT waking up at 3 AM to dump water on your burning house because you fell asleep smoking. We pay firefighters so we can sleep while the neighborhood burns down. 

But you don't walk up to firefighters and demand a drink of water from their fire hoses while they're putting out a forest fire, do you? No. And you don't walk up to a police officer and demand they arrest your neighbor because he keeps throwing his grass clippings onto your lawn. (All right, fine. Some people actually do this. And the police write them a ticket with a hefty fine for wasting their crime fighting time.)

And NOBODY in America bothers postal workers anymore. I think we've all learned some hard lessons about what can happen to over stressed people who have to deliver a lot of mail.

So ditto for teachers. You can't just say: "Oh, my conference time is XX:XX, but I can't get there exactly at that time, so I'm just going to leave my kid at school. The teacher can watch him/her because it's what she/he does all day anyway. What's 2 more hours?" 

No. NO! Do not do this. First of all, I'm not sitting around after school diddling my fingers, wishing I had more kids to hang out with. I'd actually like to get up and go home and be with MY kid. But I have a J-O-B to do. So I'm grading papers, prepping for tomorrow's lessons, making parent contact phone calls, planning for future lessons, or--more than likely--filling out endless mounds of paperwork 21st century "new" education demands of me. I love your kid and monitor and safeguard and help your child and give your progeny my 110% from 8-3, but I got other stuff to do, too. This is a JOB.

2-You can't just...SHOW up at my door whenever you damn well feel like it. I'm sorry; it just doesn't work like that. Please don't put me in a position of having to be a rude meanie and tell you to go away. If you have a conference with me to talk about your kid on Thursday at 3:30, then that's the day and time you show up. Not Friday at 6:00 AM, getting all hot and bothered about the fact I'm still sleeping in bed in a different location. Not Wednesday at 3:00 because you happened to be in the area and what the hell? let's go for it. 

No. NO! Do not do this. Listen: you make appointments to see a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer, an accountant, etc. What happens if you make your appointment with Dr. Gumbleed for Tuesday at 4:00 but you're done your grocery shopping early on Monday at 1:00, you're in Dr. G's area, and so you just show up at Dr. Gumbleed's office at 1:30, going, "Oh, yeah. I know my appointment's tomorrow, but I'm ready to see Dr. Gumbleed right now. So I'll just have a seat in his dental chair back there."

What?! Gumbleed and his teeth scrapers would throw your butt right out the door, and if I'm their 1:30 appointment, I'm helping them. 

Treat teachers like you'd treat your doctor, your dentist, your lawyer. Don't treat teachers like you'd treat the police, because the police can be scary. But treat teachers like you'd treat the police when they're at Starbucks or doing police charity work, and at their nicest.

Teachers are professionals. Highly trained, professionally degreed professionals. Don't know why your kid is drawing weird crap in all her family portraits? I've actually had training on why that happens. I can talk Piaget theories until you weep. I can tell you what a Kindergartner can/can't do developmentally, and all the way up through 3rd grade, which is where, for personal reasons, I decided to stop my expertise. 

Okay, public? That's your public service announcement from your friendly teacher rep, speaking on behalf of all underpaid, overworked teachers everywhere. We just want to be respected and treated like top notch professionals, that's all.

And for those of you with big complaints about bad apple teachers? Listen, it happens. Just like you'll run into crazy doctors who make you go: "What the hell kind of medical school did YOU go to?!", unfortunately you'll probably also run into teachers like that, too, once in awhile. It happens. That's Life. Bad hires happen.

But just because you had a bad apple teacher once (so did I--two, actually) or you saw something on FOX News or read something in your local editorial section about how teachers are such douchebag problems for society, don't approach all teachers like they're your personal servants and their classrooms are your living room to flop down in whenever you want to. 

My classroom is my office, just like what Bill Gates has except I personally make all my office decor and have a better color scheme and didn't pay a designer $10,000,000 to create it. Once every single person in the public gets clear on this, teacher stress will go down, WAY down. And that's for teachers in every country of the world; I read school news from the UK, and it sounds bad all over right now (but I will say the British seem to be far nicer when wet noodle slapping their teachers around; there are times I read stuff from the UK and say out loud: "Too bad America lost the Revolutionary War") (to be fair to my country: there are also times I read stuff from the UK and go: Phew! Close one!).

Speaking of too personal, can I jump way off track with one last this-has-nothing-to-do-with-anything-I-just-wrote-about story? But connected for me because I'm talking about inappropriate public behavior?

One time I was at a movie theater, and this chick sitting two seats down from me lifts up the armrests on both the seats between us and proceeds to pull out a blanket AND A PILLOW. She puts these down on the seats and stretches the eff out. On the movie theater seats! In the movie theater! 

I'm sorry, no. NO! That's why Netflix was invented. If you need to lie down to watch a movie, then you need to be in your house, in your bed, streaming Netflix movies. 

What is going ON, Human Beings of Planet Earth?! Get it together.

Okay. I'm done. Now I'm going to go work on my ghost hunting tale. There's a pirate involved. And he's SWARTHY. Which are the best kinds.

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