Short Story Sunday: “Assignment” [329]

Short Story Sunday: "Assignment" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

William looked down at his paper and groaned. It was a C+, which was better than how he normally did. However, he thought he had done really well on this assignment. He guessed his feeling of “really well” was only C-material. It was better than a C-. It was still passing. Still, he thought he had made it a whole letter grade higher. He hoped he would at least get a B-.

He asked his teacher after class why he didn’t get a B-. He teacher expressed how proud she was of him for making it to a C+. She wanted to give him a higher grade, but a C+ was what the paper was worth. She did give him an A for effort though. However, that grade was invisible. It didn’t actually count. While he was grateful that his teacher recognized how hard he worked, he wished it could have reflected in his overall grade. He had As and Bs in all of his other classes except for this one. Sure, he knew everyone had their strong suits. Everyone had that one class they just didn’t understand. They were bad at it no matter what. English was that class for him, despite him speaking it every single day of his life ever since he learned how to talk. Writing essays? It was a joke. It didn’t matter how well he knew the material. It didn’t matter if he enjoyed the book they read and understood it on a deep level. He still couldn’t write an essay to save his life. Well, to save his overall grade.

He heeded his teacher’s advice in going to the tutoring center. He had stayed after school a handful of times but whenever it came time for him to do the work himself, he couldn’t do well.

William should have been proud of his C+. He worked hard and he understood the material matter and it was still passing, so a C+ should have been good enough for him, right? He still felt as though he could have done better though. He didn’t understand why essays were always such a struggle.

The moment his teacher had given their essays back to them, she assigned a new one. William couldn’t help but groan again. He wasn’t going to get a chance to recover and recharge from the last essay. He stressed out about the grade he had gotten on the last essay and now the stress was going to continue as he tried to work harder on this new essay assignment.

When class ended, William gathered his graded essay and his new assigned essay and exited the classroom. He had an open campus as the last period of the day. Normally he went home and started his afternoon earlier than everyone else, but he had decided to go to the library this time.

There was no break in between the assignments, so he wasn’t going to take a break either. He had good mojo with the C+ essay and he didn’t want to break that streak. If he was able to get a C+ on the last essay, then he needed to repeat what he did for that essay and add a little extra to make it to that B-.

He found a vacant computer in the library. There were two other classes there for some reason, but he tried to stay away from what they were doing. He could only hope neither of the teachers would kick him off of the computer because they needed it for their own students. This new essay required research and he wanted to get a good head-start on it before the weekend.

William logged onto his student account in order to get access to the Internet. Once it had booted up, he went into the search engine and… stared at it. He looked back at the assignment his teacher had given him, looking at what he needed to do for the essay and the grading rubric.

Creativity was one of the graded portions of the rubric. He raised an eyebrow and took a look at the assignment once again. It was another essay based on the book they had just read in class. He enjoyed the book and understood it well, even if it didn’t put his thoughts into the right words on his previous essay. Still, he had a solid idea of what to do for the essay.

He now realized this essay was more or less the same as the previous essay. It had a creative spin on it and it was more of an opinion piece rather than an academic one. Knowing what he does now from the previous essay, maybe the creativity part will finally push him over the edge to that B.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz

This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission should you buy from these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

I bought it on my Kindle for Indie Reader. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz | Fiction | Action | Adventure | Book Review | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Title: The Mass of Men
Author: Rachel K. Wentz
Genre: Fiction, Action, Adventure

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Rachel K. Wentz
Publication Date: January 2021 (originally October 2013)

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz is a fascinating read with great insight into what people need to go through in order to become a firefighter. While the actual story elements are fiction, the rest of it – training at the academy – is true.

Knowing someone who went through the academy and is now a firefighter, I found this book to be pretty relatable, even though I didn’t go through it myself. However, Sam, the protagonist, is the only female at the academy. There are issues of sexism in the story as not all of her peers thought she should be there. I was annoyed at these characters but it was done well. Each character had their own ups and downs and struggles and learned to work as a team.

If you know a firefighter in real life or are just interested in seeing what they have to go through, this is a great read.

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

The Mass of Men by Rachel K. Wentz is an action-packed story of a group of people going through the academy to become firefighters. Not only do they need to do well in class but they also have to work as a team. This is an insightful read with interesting characters.

4

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 049 Now Live!

What are some tips for running an anthology? | The Merry Writer Podcast | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 049: What are some tips for running an anthology?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I bring on our friend, Mikki Noble, to discuss all things running an anthology. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag, #TheMerryWriterPodcast. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below. Enjoy!

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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About Mikki Noble

Mikki, the eccentric Canadian, has been writing in some form or another for nearly a quarter of a century; since writing her very first poem at age eleven. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her cats, guinea pig, and rabbit.

She found her niche in teen fiction because it’s captivating, open-minded, fast-paced, and every sense is heightened. And that’s also the reason why it’s her favorite genre to pick up at a bookstore.

Mikki has a diploma in both, Business Administration and Creative Writing. She loves creating things, animals, books, and movies, trying to make people smile, and talking to her social media friends.

Website | Designer Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Thunder Rising (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2) by Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission should you buy from these links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

I read the hardcover that I bought from Amazon. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Thunder Rising (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2) by Erin Hunter | Book Blogger | Fantasy | Middle Grade | RachelPoli.com

Title: Thunder Rising
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Series: Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 3, 2013

Thunder Rising by Erin Hunter takes place not too long after the ending of the first book in this prequel series. In the Warriors world, there are four groups of cats split into Clans. At the time of this book, every cat is trying to find their place in this new territory.

Split into two groups, cats go back and forth between one group and the other or simply living along or going to live with Twolegs (humans).

Thunder, Clear Sky’s son, is torn between living in his father’s territory or remaining with Gray Wing, the uncle who raised him. Tensions rise as Thunder (among other cats) find their place and attempt to figure out there place in this new area.

There was plenty of action in this book, including a forest fire. However, more family drama unfolded and Gray Wing’s confidence began to slip away all the while Clear Sky grew strong, strengthening his own group of cats.

This book ended on a cliffhanger, so I’ll reading book three soon enough.

The Sun Trail (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 1) by Erin Hunter

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Thunder Rising (Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, 2) by Erin Hunter felt as though it was a lot of build-up for book three. A lot happened – there was character development and the plot moved along smoothly and I’m eager to see what will happen next.

4

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How I Use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks [Mental Health Monday]

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I am not a mental health professional. I speak about my own experiences with mental health but it should not be taken as medical advice. This is just a safe space for all to check in with one another. If you are having a hard time or have medical questions, please seek help through your doctor. Thank you.

Mental Health Monday: How I use the Grounding Technique for Panic Attacks | Mental Health Matters | Fight the Stigma | Mental Health | RachelPoli.com

Everyone experiences different levels of anxiety. It makes each of us feel a different way. One method of dealing with it may work for one person, but it may not work well with another.

With that said, I’m going to explain what I do to get myself through a panic attack. If you haven’t heard of this method, feel free to try it next time an attack hits you. I hope it helps.

When I first began having panic attacks, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I always just let it pass. Then my therapist told me about worry stones and I started carrying one of those around with me. I always hold and rub it whenever I get nervous or feel my anxiety coming. I also would find someplace cold. Sometimes I would sit on the bathroom floor, touching the tile or splash cold water on my face.

But then I heard about the grounding technique, where you “ground” yourself and, more or less, talk yourself out of a panic attack.

54321 grounding technique

The point of the grounding technique is to remind yourself of where you are and that you’re in a safe space based on your senses. The reason the numbers are part of it is to think of multiple things and also count backward in some way.

For example, think of five things that you can see, four things you touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

I don’t do it exactly in this way. As I said earlier, I typically will find a cold spot, which is usually the bathroom. There’s not much to hear, smell, or taste in there. So, I do the grounding technique but I just think about what I have in the room with me at present.

The way I do the grounding technique

I will do the grounding technique in a similar manner.

Usually, when I have a panic attack my vision fails me. So, I can’t actually see anything and if I move, I’ll most likely pass out. So, I imagine the room and where I am in general. For example, if I’m in my bathroom, I’m also in my house.

When I start to feel a panic attack coming on, I’ll splash some cold water on my face and if that doesn’t help, I sit down on the ground. With my worry stone in hand, I’ll close my eyes and begin reciting the grounding technique to myself.

I remind myself of where I am and that it’s a safe place. I’ll remind myself that my sister and parents are in the other room (or somewhere around the house), but the point is that I’m not alone. Sometimes I can hear them in the other room.

If I’m anywhere else, I’ll see if my dog or cat happens to be nearby and I’ll give them a pet, which, in addition to my worry stone, helps me with the “touch” sense.

It’s not too different from the 54321 method, but it helps me and I tend to get out of my attacks faster. I hope it helps you too.

Are there any methods you use to get out of panic attacks? Let me know in the comments below.

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