Tuesday, January 3, 2012


As I draw closer and closer to the end of my Christmas break, sorry let me pause to sob uncontrollably into my hands, I am reflecting back on 2011 and what was most striking to me is...I haven't been interviewed by a fake news agency in quite some time!  In a stunning coincidence I was contacted the International Association of Imaginary News and they said they wanted to send a correspondent right over.  I have included a transcript of the interview for your reading pleasure.

IAIN: Tell me Jeff.  When did you first want to write?

Well I have to tell you Iain, I always thought that writing would be a great thing to do.  I was not always comfortable doing it and I would get criticized (my word) by my teachers for misusing punctuation, not staying on topic, and what. was. I& talking/ about^  The very first time I thought I might be good at it was when I needed to write a story for my fifth grade class.  It was the very first time I was given carte blanche and just told to put words on paper.  Make up a story.  It was really bad, but I loved writing it.  I didn't have to come up with an outline.  I didn't have to fit into what the teacher wanted.  I just sat down and started typing the story.  It came out of my brain and onto the paper like I was pouring water out of a sponge.


Yes, every once in a while I had to squeeze a little to get the flow going again.  Especially at the end of the story when I needed a conclusion.  I never would have called it a conclusion.  I didn't really understand all of that stuff.  But I knew that since I was writing an action adventure story about a plane crash that resulted in a forest fire I couldn't very well leave all of those people stranded in the woods in a cave could I?

No, I guess you did the right thing.

And I still remember the only comment I got on the whole paper was about a bear rushing into the cave trying to get away from the fire.  My teacher wrote, "That's a bit much!"  There were no commas circled.  There were no words underlined.  I had used my mom's electric typewrite and the paper was neat and clean and I got an A!

An A!?  Wow, you must have been happy.

Happy?  I was thrilled!!  I was the youngest in my class.  I never felt at ease at school and I often times had no idea what this tall lady in the front of the room was doing or talking about.  This "A" meant a lot to me.  But there was a problem.


Well I said that I didn't have an outline or even an idea of how to end the story.


Well there was something else.  I wrote it the day before it was due.  I, of course, was given probably two weeks to work on this thing and I banged it out in a few hours in just enough time to skate in under the deadline.

You made it?

Yup.  I couldn't have gotten an A otherwise.  Points off for being late you know.  In my mind something clicked.  I can wait.  Not have a clear plan.  And get an A.  Boy, did that mess up the rest of my school career!  I wish I had the discipline that others seemed to have, but when it came to writing I was always waiting and waiting and waiting until it was the last possible moment and then clickety clickety clickety!!!

I assume you mean typing?

No, I mean I would tap dance until someone would write for me.  Of course I mean typing!!

No need to get huffy.

Huffy?  Did you say "huffy"?  What are you seventy?

No, I am 46.

Hey! Same here!  What a coincidence!

Please continue.

So this is a big secret, don't tell my kids, I wrote two chapters of my Masters thesis in one night.  In that case I had done all the research beforehand but I didn't do any actual typing until the night before it was due.

How did it turn out?

I got an A.  Again.  I am doomed to last minute writing.

Let's get back to your teachers.  You said "criticized".  What did you mean by that?

I was not the best student.  Looking back over my report cards and talking to my parents, and eventually a doctor, it turns out that I had what they would now call "a horrible raging case of ADD!"  I was the frustrating yet polite kid who was always, "Off somewhere else."  One teacher actually couldn't deal with me and in a fit of frustration pinched my cheek and lifted me out of my chair to try to get me to pay attention.  I never saw her coming.  I was looking out the window.

Wow. Just wow.  

Yeah, it made an impression.  I am happy to say that although I have been teaching some of the most challenging students that ever walked the planet, the number I have lifted out of the seat by their cheeks is still zero!  I'm proud of that.  I have, however, been secretly working on mental blueprints for a giant catapult that would send certain students (or their parents) sailing.


Oh come on!  I teach next to the Bay...they'd be fine.

Back to the ADD.  When did you find out it was something other than "lousy studentitis"?

I was working in a classroom with special needs kids as an aide.  The psychologist was explaining to me the behavior of one of the girls and how she had ADD but "you would know all about that."  I looked at her dumbfounded.  (I am an accomplished dumbfounder)  The psychologist then said, "Oh I thought you knew.  It's obvious that you have ADD.  Read this book."  I went home and read it that night.  Well I read it... until I got distracted.  And it was like I was reading a history of someone who had followed me around school and took notes on my behaviors.  It was enlightening and creepy all at the same time.

Ooh.  I just looked at the time.  I do need to be going.  Could we continue this another time?

OK, I want to thank you for coming IAIN.  How would you like to end the interview.

You do know my name isn't IAIN right?  It's just an acronym.  I don't know how to end this.  I didn't have a plan! 

Let me give you a hand....Just then a bear rushed in!!

That's a bit much.

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