Summer reading tips

There appears to be some confusion over getting books over the summer break that are assigned reading.  Here are some insights to make it easier.

Assume that you will not be able to renew a book that you have to have for summer reading. Three weeks is plenty of time if you actually dedicate yourself to it. This means you can’t play video games for three hours every day. It might mean you have to take it on vacation with you. Take the number of pages and divide them by the amount of time the book is checked out. That way you know how many pages you have to read every day. Go ahead and exert the discipline on yourself and read it.

There are other people who are waiting for it. There may be 500 kids who have to read that book for the summer but the library can only afford 200 copies. This means you have to share. Do not wait until two weeks before classes resume in the fall to request your book. You will not get it. When school lets out at the beginning of summer go ahead and request the book.

When you get it, take notes so that you can remember the book later when school starts. If you’re someone who likes to take notes in books, don’t do so in a library book. Consider buying a copy at a bookstore or online if you need to have it longer than three weeks or want to write in it.

Just getting the book and reading it is part of the assignment. This prepares you for the future when you have a job. You can’t say that you weren’t able to do your assignment. There are no excuses other than you have died. It is not fair to the other people who are waiting for the book for you to keep it longer than three weeks. It is not the library’s fault if you don’t have your book in time in order to read it. This too is part of the test.

Baby steps

Sometimes the only way to get anything done is to do a little bit at a time. If you want to write a book that is too big a step. There’s no way you’re going to write a book in one day or even one week. You have to take little baby steps in order to do it. Sometimes the baby step is simply writing one thing a day. Sometimes you can’t even get that far and your baby step is simply turning on the computer every day. Do whatever it is that you have to do break it up into little steps.

Sometimes it is overwhelming to think of all the little parts of a project but if you can break it up into little parts it makes the project doable. I am working on an art project using stamps and fortune cookie slips. As long as I do one or two of these every day I will have completed a book very soon. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the book but I don’t really care. I am enjoying creating and enjoying using these little bits of art and putting them together in an unusual way.

If I start thinking about what I’m going to do with the book – how to promote it, how to sell it, book tours – I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to make it, a page at a time.

The point is to just work towards a goal, step by step.

After you’ve completed a step, then go to the next step.

It is just like cooking zucchini bread. First you need a recipe. That is your road map. But even a recipe is a bunch of little steps. You have to have all the right tools and ingredients necessary. You need a stove and a whisk and a fork and some bowls. And of course you need zucchini and flour and spices and baking powder and soda. It is all made up of a bunch of little things.
If you ever have a really heavy project that you have to deal with then definitely break it up into little steps. I’m thinking of something like dealing with an estate or getting married. These are not everyday projects, and they are important to do correctly.

Do everything that you can get away with early as soon as you can. It is certain that if you leave things to the last minute three other things that you didn’t expect will creep up on you and you will have to deal with them and the other things at the same time.

Walking to Nashville

A lady came up to me at work a few days ago and said “I’m walking. How do I get downtown?” She was middle aged and looked healthy in mind and body. This was around 6 pm.

Now, you need to understand that downtown Nashville is about twenty minutes away, by car, from where we were.

I said that was going to take her hours. She said it didn’t matter, she had to get to work in the morning and she didn’t have any money for a taxi and she didn’t understand the bus routes. She again asked for directions on how to walk to downtown Nashville.

I was torn, a little. Should I give her money? She didn’t ask for it. She looked like she was in her right mind, even though I didn’t think she was acting like it.

So I gave her directions. If you walk north to the main road and go left it is a straight shot to downtown. It is how I go, but I drive. The freeway traffic in Nashville is terrible. I hope to never walk to downtown, but if I had to I’d go this way.

This all raised more questions.

Why doesn’t she have a car?
Why doesn’t she have any money?
Where are friends she could call for a ride?
Where is she going to sleep – or is she?
How did she get here to start off with?
How did she get to be my age and be in such a situation?

But then again, I think I was more concerned about her than she was. I felt that this was a bad situation, but one brought about by bad choices. She seemed rather matter of fact about it, blasé even. I got the impression that this was her normal.

While I wanted to rescue her by giving her money for a cab, I got the impression didn’t feel like she needed to be rescued. And I knew deep down that if I bailed her out this time, it wouldn’t prevent the next time. If she hasn’t learned how to plan ahead by now it is highly unlikely that she is going to any time soon.

I wonder if she made it to where she was going. I wonder if she knew what to do when she got there.

I gave her the help she asked for, and secretly I was relieved that she didn’t ask for money. I’m always wary of panhandlers. I never know if they are going to spend the money I give them on what they asked for. I don’t want to aid and abet an addiction.

I wanted to save her from what I saw as bad choices. If I’m being honest, I wanted her to be me. I wanted her to be independent and self sufficient. But if I’m digging even further and being really honest I have to admit that she already was, she just wasn’t in a way that I recognized and approved of.