Monday, September 26, 2016

Advantages to Marking Up Electronic Books

My students are learning digital literacy by studying from Kindle ebooks in my Shakespeare courses this year. We are exploring the brave new worlds of ebook literacy from various angles. In this post: advantages of highlighting passages and making notes within Kindle ebooks:

  • Ebooks and their notes are preserved in the cloud
    You can lose your electronic device, but you won't lose the ebooks that are associated with your Amazon account, nor any of the things you've marked in those ebooks. This means you can actually find those books and notes. With nearly 50 years of reading behind me, I sure wish I could keep track of the books I've read, and would love to have an easy way to rediscover my interactions with those books.
  • Ebooks and their notes are synchronized
    In the digital age we tend to hope from one device to another, and Amazon has made it simple to keep one's reading continuous: I can highlight a passage or insert a note while reading Henry V on my Kindle device, then find that same  highlighting or note when looking at this ebook via or within the Kindle app on my iPad or my Android phone.  (And I'm not even going to discuss the seamless way Amazon makes it possible to alternate seamlessly between audiobook and ebook versions across devices!)
  • You can collate and edit your highlights and notes.
    Amazon has features on its Kindle devices and apps whereby it will extract and list all in one place the highlighting and notes you've done within your ebooks. Or, on a web browser, you can see every highlight and note you took, extracted from but also linked to the full ebook, at Your Highlights at That's something one could never do with a print book, and is especially helpful for those anticipating doing some kind of analysis or book review. You can clean up your highlights and notes, going back to the text for context, and clarifying some of the cryptic ways we tend to make notes on the fly.
  • You can review your highlights and notes
    Through its "Daily Review" feature that appears at the top of when you are logged in, Amazon generates electronic flashcards with one highlighted passage/note at a time, another way to return to and page through one's highlights and notes. This is semi-automated, too, so that books are returned to the queue for you to review again later. 

The Daily Review feature reminded me of a passage I highlighted
and note I made when reading this ebook a couple years ago

One last advantage -- perhaps one that surpasses all the others -- has to do with how one can socialize one's reading in new ways through Kindle ebooks and the Amazon platform. This, however, I will save for a separate post of its own.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Sonnet: To What An End

*Before I get to the sonnet, I just wanted to say how much I loved this assignment. Back in high school, I thought I was a bit of a poet, (admittedly a poor one) and it was nice to get back in that vein. I had never written in iambic pentameter before, but I found it to be a refreshing and pleasantly challenging exercise.

To What An End

To what an end these means may justify?

What purpose, the, could such an effort serve?

Where all is ripped apart, left to the sky,

To wind and weather, wounded, open-nerved.

If truth will out, why then do lies pervade,

Tenacious in their grasp of human-kind:

So helpless to resist it men are made,

That day by day, we languish in its bind.

Yet, by dear heaven, I would be deceived—

Yes, blinded to assert that falsehood stands.

We see the lies, but must they be believed?

I say the time for truth is nigh at hand.

              And then, and last, we all will come to know

              The reason and the rhyme of all our woe. 
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dr. Pepper Addiction

My friends do claim I am addicted when
I go to get a dark brown fizzy drink.
Alas to their misguided deep chagrin
It cannot be as bad as they all think.
So should I let the Dr. Pepper go?
Are well meaning friends right to have concerns?
I don’t think I should really have to show
That even though my heart and tongue do yearn-
And the world starts to feel like quite a waste
When I don’t sip that carbonation- I
am not addicted to the fizz or taste
I don’t need Dr. Pepper to get by.
I’m trying but my friends can’t seem to see,

Oh what on earth can you expect from me?
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Musings on Virtue No.2

Can I go into that cold night alone?
to wander with no family at my side
where stillborn snow like feathers softly roam
and anchors make deep footsteps in the night
here fire warms my aching bones of flesh
and someone speaks sweet words into my ear
the stone casters have all been made to rest
and I am sovereign of each action here
the future can’t compete when moment’s stage
burns bridges that warm up the winter night
yet, cold has earned its place through every age
and night is but a breath from heaven’s sight
can I go into that cold night alone?
where only frozen snow will me condone
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Hope in the Wrong

The television screen is turned to on
As I stare, unprepared to really see.
I’d wearily state my faith is not gone
But f I bet, I'd only have a fee,
"Go, go" the women clad in black may scream,
as masked men cheer in hopes of  victory.
And hopefully this hope is not in dreams;
Reality is contradictory.
The game begins and now whoosh they go.
Past the first, past the next for the win.
Our men go fast and yet are too slow,
as the enemy scores with a grin.
Now I love my team, I do, it is true.
Raiders, come on! Win more than a few. 
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Wandr'ing Storm Cloud and the Like

Photo Credit: Sebastian Gabriel

The wand’ring storm clouds high up in the sky,
the little running blue grey birds in line,
green leaves that pop as sky veiled, seems to cry,
the wind’s cool gentle lick, of sun and brine;
Poppies of orange and yellow tulips bright,
the river’s gasp while running off the brink,
the mountain’s rocky shoulders, twilight bathed
a shell’s smooth inside surface soft and pink;
Stars brightly lit on heaven’s calm, dark face,
cold lace of stars from winter’s sky falls down,
the sea’s waves playful, warm in sand’s embrace.
the petals soft, a flower’s tiny crown.

From paintings, sonnets, even prose these shine.
Yet, I hear whisp'ring. These are works of Mine.

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In Defense of Quiet

So oft I’m prodded come “out of your shell”--
that noxious expression which clearly states
introversion must be a form of hell,
a disappointment and second-class trait.
A notion that also fails to proclaim
some animals carry shelter where they
go, and that some humans are just the same.
It does not mean that they have less to say.
Sometimes I will stay in at night, fleeing
aimless chat; I won’t feel distraught.
There is no connection between being
the best talker and having the best thoughts.
We have been given one mouth and two ears
To use proportionally, without fear.

image via
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Finding My Space

Photo credit: Alice Keeler
Just as I feared there is no space. Cars lined 
this street and back, for miles and miles. Unjust 
are parking patrollers who search and find 
poor tired souls whose parking bluff they'll bust. 
A boot or ticket lucky prize, worst case, 
of course, they'll take my car to lock it up. 
A cost far greater then the crime. Disgrace, 
I walk, as guilt penetrates my bitter cup. 
At night in Provo Town, you'll find all spots 
are taken two by two, so selfishly 
by students unaware of giving thoughts. 
A mile at one AM I can't walk safely. 
Let freedom for our parking ring, let's strike 
for parking space we need. Or get a bike.
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Thoughts of the Student Athlete Academic Center Drop-in Writing Tutor

I wait. The door (propped open to invite
the passing athletes to come in and sit
with me)—symbolic, meaning "I can't write"—
is why, each day, alone, I read. Permit
me now to dissipate this myth that they
are fearless, though they play with courage on
the field; or court; or track; for all obey
dear Pride's controlling voice. Not speed nor brawn
can separate them now from others who,
at college, struggle to complete their work. 
With knowing eyes, I watch them ponder: "Do,
today, this opportunity, I shirk?"
I bite my tongue; these thoughts don't leave my slate.
The door, still open to invite. I wait.


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Monday, September 19, 2016

The Creature Inside

Last night my friends sent me a text in jest
(A funny meme of Shrek’s protected swamp)
I missed the chance to chortle with the rest
of them because my cognizance was romped
by some internal creature craving sleep!
Is she a fiend, or is she my old friend,
replenishing my energy to keep
my time well spent when time I have to lend?
The real dilemma’s that I have no choice!
The creature calls; I have to leave my post
No matter where I am, I lose my voice
and animate ability is toast!
    I hope my friends can pardon me this fault:
    It’s half past eight; I'm sorry, I must halt.

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Bemoan the Careful Paths

Poetic inspiration can come from anywhere... even a stolen grounds sign.

Bemoan the Careful Paths

Shall I compare you to the white grounds sign?

You are more passive and inanimate.

And while your love is grown by inches, mine

Is dying by the feet. Dispassionate

And led by you, I kept to careful paths.

But I would rather stray to greater plans

Than hide behind some artificial masks.

Your edges dimmed by weather - your words ran

Soft with time. Just like the spark I saw in

You - living on borrowed time. And so our

love is over...a pitiful has been.

And from my mind will slip behind each hour.

        Beware the fall from out of love: bemoan.

        From quandary of broken love you've grown.

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Timely Inspiration

Timely Inspiration

Shall I compose this piece for you, my dear,
A timely effort to unveil the truth?
I'll sit for hours with thoughts of love and cheer
And search for words that play our story smooth.
The light will sink and moon rise up three times
and I'll rehash and throw my pen again
in quest for perfect and uniting rhymes,
but Nature favors not the time of men.
It's Nature, sure, that poetry inspires,
With songs of change and freedom in its air.
As humans, we have great and strange desires,
But even we can't force an art so rare.
     My love for you beats all that time demands,
     In this, I know it formed in Nature's hands.

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Melissa's Sleepy Sonnet

Sleepy Sonnet 

I'd like to go to sleep tonight,
But homework won't be put aside.
Until I reach the morning light,
Which wakes my friends and makes me blind.
My eyes are red and full of sleep.
Yet my thoughts race through poetry.
Short stories, essays, they just won't keep. 
No matter how I try to sleep.
If only once the stars came out;
A spell of wakeless dreams came round.
 I'd dance and read, work, relax as dreams allow
Without the ticking clock sounds.
The irony I often see, 
Is that I feel most awake when I dream.
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Three Simple Words

Three simple words can change all of your life
That once filled up with doubt, the space no more
Subsides but words I read upon thin leaf
Release fears of my adolescence, for
Lies my hope in something more or someone
Who answers questions of my heart and writes:
“I know that if ye shall follow the son.”
This simple phrase, discovered, floods insights
Into my aching soul the pain does run
Out. Change your heart, your mind, your life, your soul
He asks all- for no other conclusion
Results in total joy or makes you whole.
Three simple words have changed my life today.
The Son’s the answer so let come what may.

2 Nephi 31:13 and Joseph B Worthlin's talk "Come What May, And Love It," October 2008
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Sk8 D8

Oh how I wish to get away today
and skate the bad emotions from my heart.
Although I know that if I leave I’ll pay,
I want the joy I find within my art.

I thought to be adult was to be free,
not burdened by responsibility.
I found that freedom is a guarantee
For when I skate, my troubles always flee.

My love and passion for my hobby now
transform the rink into a holy sphere.
You see, my talent does for me endow,
The time I’ve spent in peace and beauty here.

I’ll skate without restraint at every chance,
because I’ve learned this makes my life a dance.
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