Are the silent “supposed” to be silent? A rant, zombies, and a book

I was just sitting here thinking about this, specifically regarding people with disabilities who are nonverbal. I think probably every Individualized Education Plan our there has a section on communication goals. There are goals for some that consist of just trying to get an established yes/no response to questions (I worked with a little boy who had a yes/no system, and it’s really hard to figure out how to phrase everything as a yes/no question. It’s a pretty good mental exercise). There are others who can use elaborate systems that I’m not very familiar with–the students most likely have placed out of Life Skills classes.

Then there are students who have communication systems, it’s just that it takes a while to get to learn them. You often don’t have enough time, which is frustrating. For both of you. The student has things to say, but it takes a little time and patience to have a conversation. Not all of the staff can take the time either, because they’re busy with their own students. It’s a far from ideal situation.

But when someone does have the time to communicate to the student, and figures something out, and things are discussed to try to take care to address the issue the student had concerns about and are communicated to the rest of the staff (this is just guessing from comments this afternoon) and some of the rest of the staff make light of it, making comments implying the student is just a wimp for not dealing with the situation, it infuriates me.

So, when a student communicates something–one idea that takes half an hour to figure out–half an hour–as well as discussing the matter with the teacher–the staff makes fun of him and I feel animosity directed toward me because I figured out something the student wanted that changed the rules of one of the games a little. She’s never at a loss for words, and she’s perfectly capable of expressing them, so she would have no idea of what it’s like to be in his situation. Any part of it.

What is the point of putting communication goals in student’s plans if staff don’t want to listen to what the students say when they do say it?

It’s only a month into school. Eight months left. I’m starting to frazzle, wondering if I should ask for a transfer or if I would just end up in a worse situation. In a way I feel almost as frustrated as I did last year–part of me wants to just sit still and not make waves and just try to get it through the year. The other part is jumping up and down in fury that I have to go to work and hear racist comments and some staff more than others mocking the students, along with being treated most of the time by some staff as if I know absolutely nothing. No, I don’t know how to work with the particular person I’m working with. Let me ask the questions, for gods sake, instead of having them shoved down my throat. I’m going to start behaving like her pretty soon.

This too shall pass. But where does it go after that? That’s what I’d like to know. Do I get some genuinely pleasant choices at some point? Because frankly, I’ll take the one with chocolate.

OK–SAFE NOW–RANT OVER, NO MORE ZOMBIES

There never were any zombies. I can understand the interest in vampires, the whole deep, dark, “I want to suck your blood,” but first can I see the results of your latest health check? A little low on vitamin D? Has anyone ever thought of that? An enormous injection of vitamin D? Feasibly, their bodies wouldn’t know how to process it, would go into overload, and something would happen. That wasn’t my point. You can dress a vampire up and take him/her out on the town and as long as they don’t go all fangy on you, you’re safe. Relatively. Unless the vampire is your cousin, in which case you’re not even relatively safe.

But zombies? There have been some good differing takes on them lately, IMO starting with 28 Days Later, but they’ve been around in fiction probably as long if no longer than the vampires. I never did research on them or anything, they simply weren’t that lively. They shambled. In Diablo I and II I played the Rogue and the Amazon because they were the ones with the long range weapons, so I didn’t have to deal with the zombies and their little green poison clouds. I’ve watched more movies about them than read books, unless they were mentioned in passing as the undead that the MCs were trying to escape from. They were used very effectively, I thought, in the Griffiths’ Vampire Empire series, at least the first two volumes, I haven’t read the third one yet. So there’s no lack of mention of them in fiction, it’s just that I haven’t read anything where they possess the je ne sai quois (please pardon my French, it’s been a long time and I tend to mix it with Spanish, which gets really interesting and has make students in the past look at me like “I’m the one in life skills?”) of a vampire.

Even Dr. Frankenstein’s creation possessed more sophistication than a zombie, but I guess that’s really a tangent since he was man made–but actually, so were the zombies in 28 Days Later. Scientists created Rage. Or distilled it. There was nothing redeemable about those zombies.

I’m really skirting the issue, aren’t I? OK, take a skirt. Put it on a zombie  with a nice new number from Chanel, add some jewelry (careful with the earrings, though, they can’t be too heavy or they might start pulling things off). Can you use make-up on a zombie. Will they sit still that long? Will you have lived long enough to have completed any of this process? If you have and then try to put high heels on her, that’s the end right there. No self-respecting zombie woman will be seen in high heels. Everyone knows those are killers on your back. They are good for making holes for straws, though, if she gets a little peckish.

Plus, being in a constant state of necrosis would be a pain, as well. You’d have to keep a duffel bag along with a whole range of sizes of zip lock bags. I suppose if someone pointed me in the direction of a really good zombie book I might check it out. Maybe. The thought of a genteel zombie just keeps making me laugh, though. What do they do when they visit a friend’s house? Tell them they just thought they’d drop by? There’s all the obvious arm and leg jokes. The garden was so lovely it was eye popping. “Oh, rotten luck, old fellow, it looks like the right one’s gone down the gopher hole.” “That’s quite alright, old chap, I’ve got dozens at home.”  I don’t know why they have British accents. Proper, I guess. It’s one of the only ones I can do tolerably.

By the way, I have a disagreement going with someone on whether the person singing in the “Eric the Half a Bee” Monty Python skit is Terry Jones or John Cleese. I say Terry Jones, he says John Cleese. We could both be wrong. Darn. He’s right. I may just be quiet and not tell him. That was days ago. (interesting the things that prick my conscience, isn’t it?).

FINALLY, THE BOOK

What this blog is actually supposed to be about. I have been doing writing of dubious quality. I should have been editing and not additing, because now it’s taking a long time to get to the second half, and I’m going to have to do more editing, again, of the first half, at least another half a dozen if not more. Why do I do these Sisyphean things to myself. At least it’s finally split up so the second half isn’t 10,000 pages anymore. Is there a patron saint for prolific and idiotic writers?

I preordered some books–there was a lull there after the beginning of summer and now all of a sudden they’re coming out in bucketfuls (which reminds me, I want to order Quintara of the Charyn from Australia, which comes out in five days there, and I need to let the bank know it’s not fraudulent use of my card. If it wasn’t online, and was there, I’d better darn well be there with it). So yes, I am blatantly pushing a series. The first two are out already, and the third is coming out here in March (I just couldn’t stand waiting). Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles–Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles are the first two.

I actually wanted to talk about Sarah Maas’ Throne of Glass. For a couple of reasons. It came with the books I ordered–at first I was going to read it from the library. She did a very clever thing which I wasn’t so sure of at first, but really worked. Starting last January, she released a novella about that characters–certain things that happened to them in their lives. They were/are free in the Kindle section of Amazon. They’re all connected, some more loosely than others. By having them be novellas and not just little snatches of a story, I was able to start to get to know the character. Sometimes I really didn’t like the main character, Celaena, and then at other times it was easier to see her motivations in why she did things. She’s an assassin, young–16. She’s very good at what she does. The novellas made me feel I’d read enough to cancel my hold on the library book and order my own copy, since I usually read them first and then buy them if I like them.  So, the free novellas online was a pretty smart idea.

The other thing that made me feel better about how slowly I’m going about things were the acknowledgements from the book itself. The author looks young, and she is, but she put her first version of the book on an online site when she was 16 years old, so she must have started writing about the same age I did (only later, if that makes any sense–what I mean to say is that I started writing when I was around 14). She just had the guts to put it up online at a fiction writer’s site, and now, ten years later, her book is on shelves, and it’s really quite good–the novellas are good as well. It’s different from many current YA novels, and, most encouraging to me, even if I never do anything but self-publish, she didn’t give up. In this case, it was a really good thing she didn’t. I already want to read the sequel.

Fictional fantasy words. Whether my own or someone else’s, are what I think are going to get me through this year. Whatever gets you through the day.

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