Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Pedagogical distancing.

I am no stranger to teaching. While not formally trained, I have taught one thing or another throughout most of my adult life, from several semesters as adjunct faculty teaching advertising at a college and a university, to teaching Sunday School classes to people of all ages, to teaching many, many workshops at writers conferences.
    But, come November 5, I will set sail on a 50-minute teaching trip the likes of which I have never before undertaken. It can all be summed up in one onomatopoetic word that heretofore described the sound of something moving quickly: zoom.
    Owing to the ongoing coronavirus threat, the Utah Valley University Writers Academy went online this year, and has been in progress since October 9. My presentation, “How to Build a Book Without a Blueprint,” goes zoom Thursday, November 5 at 6:00 pm MST. For the first time ever, I will attempt to convey my message to conference participants via a zoom meeting, where we will all, theoretically, gather around our computer screens to watch and listen and, I hope, participate.
    My presentations tend to involve a lot of back and forth, give and take, question and answer, and interaction with participants. That, in my limited experience on the receiving end, doesn’t always work out too well with zoom.
    Still and all, I am as prepared as I’ll ever be and hoping for the best.


Friday, October 16, 2020

In the News.


Today’s story is ripped from the pages of the Eureka (Utah) Reporter, 18 May 1917. 

Henry Miller, the Elberta farmer who also owns a ranch near Jamison Hill on the old road, had a narrow escape from death yesterday when he was attacked by a cow which was no doubt suffering from rabies. Mr. Miller was at work near his home when the cow made a vicious charge upon him and then continued the attack after the farmer was knocked to the ground. Just at a time when Mr. Miller appeared to be in the greatest danger of receiving fatal injuries from the animal’s hoofs and horns the cow took a fit and this enabled him to crawl to a place of safety.

Propped up in bed at his ranch last evening Mr. Miller related his experience to Lewis Merriman, superintendent of the Yankee Cons mine, stating that the cow probably belongs to one of the Elberta ranchers. Mr. Miller’s injuries are painful but not serious and he will no doubt be out again within a few days.

 Henry is my great-grandfather. And to think my very existence on earth was endangered by a bad, mad cow.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Where I’ve been.

    A while back, most of our family stole away for a week in a cabin in the woods. I took my computer along, and used some of the time to finish up a novel, but that was out of the way in a couple of days and it went back in the bag.
    With no internet service, I did not check my e-mail for more than a week. As near as I can tell, nobody missed me. Cell phone service was spotty, but since I am one of the last men standing without one of the infernal machines, I hardly noticed.
    We visited a few Old West historic sites, and did some sightseeing. And we did a lot of sitting around, which was nice. A bull moose stopped by one day and hung out in the back yard for a couple of hours. The black bear who visited another evening chose not to stay.
    It was good to get away. Most of the plans we’d made for the year got canceled for safety’s sake, so it was nice to find a safe place to spend a different kind of time together—and alone.