Writing: a fun playground for me

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Writing: a fun playground for me
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
In an effort to afford readers of the college newspaper an inside look at the people involved in putting it out our editor suggested that each staff member take the time to write a short piece about ourselves.

This is just a short glimpse into my life and the way that words have influenced it.

As a child I was inflicted with a serious illness that affected my immune system and made me susceptible to many airborne viruses. The illness made it impossible for me to do many of the more strenuous activities that otherwise occupied a child’s daylight hours. It also made it very difficult to befriend anybody and for much of my childhood, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Words, in the form of poems, short stories and novels became my playground, and the characters within them became my friends.

Together we would ride off to some mystical place to slay dragons, ride unicorns, battle evil villains, discover lost treasures, solve dangerous mysteries, forms lasting relationships, and fell hopelessly in love with handsome princes. The spark of imagination that was ignited back then has never flickered out; but has grown into a raging fire that refuses to be extinguished.

As passionate as I am still about reading today, I’m even more passionate about writing. I have been writing stories, plays and poems ever since I first learned how. Grant you, these earlier works were riddled with grammatical errors and feature more pointless plotlines but they were always great learning experiences.

By the time that I was out of high school, it had become clear to me that writings was much more than just a hobby to pass the time. It was who I was. It was what I was meant to do. I knew though that if I was ever to make it as a children’s writer, that I would need to further hone my writing skills.

I signed up for journalism classes here at MJC in the fall of 1009. It was the best decision I ever made. Being a reporter on the paper has not only allowed me to improve my writing skills, it has given me the opportunity to interact with people from varied backgrounds, interview celebrities, broadened my outlook on world events and opened up doors to career opportunities in journalism that I hadn’t known about.

I am a writer. And a writer I will remain until I die.

Speech Night Critique

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Wendy Mills
Speech Com 102
February 10, 2004
Speech Night Critique

The speaker that I enjoyed most was Claire Donahue. I thought that she did an amazing job at piecing together a worktable speech out of the few subjects that she was thrown by the audience. Her delivery was perfectly timed and she appeared to have been totally relaxed up on the stage, in front of so many people. She gave a good argument that made sense and didn’t feel the need to fill empty spaces with clutter phrases.

The person that I would have to say that I liked the least was Nathan Royer. Maybe it was just the subject that he was speaking about that didn’t particularly interest me, but I thought it was very boring and given in a flat manner. While he did appear to have stage presence, I noticed that he wasn’t quite so calm and in control of what he was doing or saying. There were quite a few times that I heard him use the clutter word ‘um’.

As for who believed won the debate. I would have to say that I thought that the opposing team did the better job of persuading the audience with their information and reasoning against illegal aliens being allowed to have drivers licenses. I have friends who are on both sides of the fence so to speak, or they know somebody who isn’t exactly a legal citizen of the United States. Like most Americans I welcome new people to our country, but with the understanding that they need to uphold the laws that our government has set.

My Friend

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My Friend
By Wendy Mills
Written July 13, 1997

My friend it’s been too long
Since I wanted to belong,

My Friend it’s been awhile
Since I’ve seen your smile,

My friend it’s been a long time
Since we kissed and touched,

Oh, I miss you so very much!

My friend I miss the times we shared
When I knew how much you cared,

My friend how I long to caress
And feel your tenderness,

My friend it’s been ages
Since we laughed and turned the pages,

My friend I miss you so much
And crave your masculine touch.

English is Important

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Wendy Mills
Englist 50
May 3, 1999
English is Important

I believe that having good writing skills is essential to becoming successful in the job/career of your choice. After watching the video Moving on by Mara Fagin and doing my own research I learned that other people feel the same way as I do. No matter what career a person may decide to pursue, it always comes attached with a lot of writing. In the video we listened to how other people feel about writing.

Krist Jepson is the first person we heard speak. She is a current student here at Modesto Junior College and works in the writing center on campus. Her job allows her to use the skills she learned in her English classes to help other students with writing papers. She stated that in high school she never really cared much about writing. She only did the writing necessary to complete her homework assignments. Through the English classes she has taken at M.J.C. She has discovered that there is a lot more to writing than she thought. She has learned to think more critically about what she wants to say in a paper before writing it.

Thomas Massey has always considered himself a writer. He says the courses he took at Modesto Junior College helped him to broaden his way of thinking. Techniques like freewriting and brainstorming ideas help him to develop ideas and plots for his stories. He thinks that everyone should keep journals because it is a way of relieving your mind creatively and helps you keep track of your thoughts and memories.

Sylvia Lopez-Medina impressed me the most when she spoke. She had to overcome some major obstacles to enroll in MJC. The culture that she was brought up in doesn’t believe that women should pursue their education. The women in her culture are raised from a very early age to learn to cook and clean so that they will catch a good husband. They are raised to listen to what the man says and wants. It took Sylvia twenty years and two marriages before she decided to enroll in college. She told us that she had never been interested n writing until she enrolled in the English classes at MJC. Even though she learned that she had a natural talent for writing, she continued to pursue a career in law. Through the encouragement she received from her instructors she finally decided to pursue a writing career.

Rick Estrada is employed at the Modesto Bee as a sportswriter. He covers high school sports in our area. He says having good writing skills is essential to his job. Working around deadlines doesn’t leave him much time for writing the articles. He often finds himself developing an article in his head in traffic on the way to the office. He often does a background on the teams beforehand so that he can add it to the article when he gets to the office.

Linda Brooks works in the human resources offices at the Bee. She told us that her job requires her to write memos, create employee handbooks and prepare presentations for her department. Knowing how to write effectively has helped her in many ways. Because of the type of work she does, Linda feels that being able to communicate through writing is beneficial to her job. Writing her thoughts, ideas, feelings, and opinions down on paper has always helped her to improve her communication skills with other people. She believes that if it wasn’t for her acquired English skills that she probably wouldn’t be such and important asset to her company.

The last person interviewed in the video was Carletta Steel. Carletta works at the Modesto office of the California State Department of Employment Development. Her job is to help people fill out applications and develop resumes. She helps prospective employees find jobs that they are qualified to do. She credits her abilities in writing to the English classes she took at Modesto Junior College.Even though she had always done a lot of writing, Carletta never fully realized how important English was in a career until she started working. Now she knows that she would have never gotten such a good job if she hadn’t been able to write well.

After watching the video I decided to do some research of my own. I called three people that I know and interviewed them. I asked them to tell me about how having good English skills has affected their present occupations or career choices. The first person I interviewed was Katherine Brewer. Katherine is a program coordinator ins a local recovery house. He job requires a lot of knowledge in writing. She has to fill out sign-in papers and release forms. She must make an update in each of her clients’ charts each day as well as write memos to other employees. She believes that without her extensive writing skills that she would not be able to maintain her job.

I next interviewed Kathy Bjarnson. Kathy teaches at Modesto High School. The students she teaches are learning disabled or problem students. She teaches a variety of subjects, but mostly English. She believes that being able to effectively teach students proper English skills requires a lot of work. She has to be able to break down sentences so that her students understand what she is trying to teach them. Besides planning work for her classes, she must also fill out reports on each of her students to send to their parents and the school board. Learning how to effectively do so in college has been so asset to her career.

The last person I interviewed was Leon Bjarnson. Unlike Kathy, Leon stated that he had been a terrible student in school. He had to really struggle to improve his own English skills in order to graduate from high school and go on to college. While in colleges he had decided to become an English teacher as well. He is currently teaching elementary kids the elements of writing and finds it refreshing to see the kids learning. He knows that without his own improvement in English that he probably wouldn’t have made it through college, let alone been able to get his teaching credentials.

After hearing what each of these people had to say about English and how it has improved their lives, I realized how important English is. Without the use of our English skills, none of us would get very far in this world. English has played an effective part in all of our lives and in history too. Without English how would we communicate with one another.

Our Friendship

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Our Friendship
By Wendy Mills
Written Aug 9, 1997
The two of us met through our boyfriends, who were brothers,
But now find us with only one another

Because of them we discovered
That there was more than just a cover,

We’ve shared many good times
And some bad one too,

But there’s nothing we can’t get through
As long as we stand together, us two,

I feel stronger knowing you are standing beside me
No matter what comes our way,

We’re bonded together,
As friends forever.

Losing You

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Losing You
By Wendy Mills
Written July 13, 1997

I never thought when you walked out the door
I would never see you anymore

I never dreamed of losing you
I only dreamed of always loving you

You always said you wanted to stay
But instead you turned away

I never felt pain like this before
Until you walked out the door.

Time Waits for no one

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Time Waits for no one
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

America’s populations is aging, and as the large, “Baby Boomer Generation” ages, the fastest growing segment is senior citizens. Modesto Junior College is responding to a growing need for information that is being created by this trend by offering a non-credit elder adult course entitled ‘Aging Parents-Family Planning for the Future.”

The course will consist of eight seminars, each dealing with a different topic that will address the special challenges and concerns associated with aging and assist people in providing for the needs of aging parents. Seminar topics include “When Crisis Hits,” “Distance Caregiving,” “Getting Organized,” “Family Dynamics,” Housing,” “Business Side of Caregiving,” “Legal Issues,” and “Surviving Caregiving,” and are taught by area experts.

Stanislaus Long Term Care Bioethics Forum is coordinating the course with MJC. The eight course sponsors include American Association of Retired Persons, Area Agency on Aging, Bethany Home Convalescent Hospital, English Oaks Convalescent & Rehabilitation Hospital, Evergreen Rehabilitation Care Center, Memorial Hospital and Tony D. Trevino, CFP.

Classes are every other Tuesday evening, 6-8 p.m.in Forum 110 on the MJC East Campus, 435 College Avenue, and the first session is January 25, with an early start of 5:15 p.m Cost for the class is just $11 for enrollment and a $1 student health fee. On-site registration is available in the first class. A limited number of class scholarships are also available and people who are interested should inquire during on-site registration.

For more information call MJC Allied Health Division at 575-6362.

Instructor devotes retirement to writing

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Instructor devotes retirement to writing
Poetry reading by Lee Nicholson scheduled Sunday, March 5
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“Down there in the dark only their eyes wide open and wary-were rimmed in white; their pink tongues kept their mouths wet enough to breather. I am here, my eyes white too, my tongues wet, with my poems, my creatures, my signs of life, my colors of an odd gang of poets and other miners.”

These lines are taken directly from a poem written by retired Modesto Junior College English instructor, Lee Nicholson. The name of the poem is called, “ Miner” and is the author’s retelling of his grandfather’s experiences in zinc mining.

Nicholson retired from MJC two years ago, after more than 30 years of teaching literature and writing. His collection of poetry, “Our Common Ground,” provides readers with a profound to comprehend his personal history, while painting a vivid portrait of modern landscape as we know it.

Other poems included in the collection of poetry are, “Peacock Alley,” and “angel’s Trumpet.” “Angel’s Trumpet,” is the author’s rendition of the angel, Gabriel, being displeased with the musical standards in Heaven. He thought that the music tones were too pure and too perfect, so he fixed them. It also reveals Nicholson’s admiration for Maya Angelou’s creative ability to make music with words.

Nicholson’s poetry has appeared in “Highway 99: A Leterary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley,” “Valley Light: Writers of the San Joaquin,” “In the Grove,” and other regional periodicals.

A Hanford native, Nicholson was a reader at Lincoln College, Oxford University through the Bread Loaf School of English and he studied the Poet-Critics at Princeton through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nicholson will be giving a free public reading on Sunday, March 5, at 2 p.m in the Little Theatre at MJC’s East Campus. Signed and numbered copies of ‘Our Common Ground” will be available at the reading. Refreshments will be served.

Slowly Coming Together

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I’ve been working hard the past couple of days to upload and post things, and this site is finally beginning to look like one.

Women’s Impact on History through times of change

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Women’s Impact on History through times of change
By Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter
Thursday, March 29, 2001

1830-The first book advocating birth control is published in the U.S.
1833-Lydia Maria Child publishes the first Anti-Slavery book in the U.S.
1840- Lucretia Mott is denied a seat at the world Anti-Slavery Conference.
1843-Dorothea Dix exposes the harsh treatment of the mentally ill in Massachusetts hospitals.
1849-Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to graduate from medical school.
1850-Harriet Tubman first leads slaves to freedom.
1851-Sojourner Truth addresses a Woman’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
1852-Harriet Beecher Stowe writes “Uncle Tom’s Cabin’.
1869-Suffragists organize.
1881-Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross.
1889-Nellie Bly goes around the world in 72 days.
1912- Juliette Gordon Low founds the Girl Scouts of America.
1916-Georgia O’Keefe’s works are exhibited y Alfred Stieglitz.
1920-Edith Wharton wins Pulitzer Prize for the Age of Innocence.
1920s-Margaret Sanger started Birth Control Movement.
1931-Dorothy Thompson interviews Hitler.
1932-Amelia Earhart flies the Atlantic Ocean solo.
1941-Women are accepted into the armed Forces in roles other than nursing.
1955-Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus.
1964-The Civil Rights Act includes a Prohibition against Sex Discrimination in Employment.
1973- Roe vs. Wade striked down anti-abortion.
1981- Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American Woman to travel in space.
1985-Wilma Mankiller becomes Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
1991- Anita Hill testifies at the Clarence Thomas Confirmation Hearings.

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