Monday, June 22, 2015

What's Next for Writing Assessment Services

Here's a little teaser for my clients and other friends:

In July I will begin setting up some exciting new offerings for Writing Assessment Services for 2015-16 - live classrooms for one-time and ongoing writing workshops, and a version of "office hours" and one-on-one tutoring.

I want to make the most of the traditional text-based evaluations I have used for decades and the online classroom/meeting structure I have used the last five years. I can't wait to share these opportunities with you!

Order now with confidence that you can change your order as you desire, or wait to order later as the offerings begin to appear - I can serve many students this year.

Now Entering My 20th Year Online!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"Firmament" -- A Poem

Firmament—Psalm 57

A ladybug scratches across the page.
A lamb scampers after the ewe.
And we toil along the plane—
               Folding it into stairs and stories
               And thrusting toward the sky.

A turn of the book and the ladybug clings.
The lamb suckles quietly
               While his dam crops the grass,
               Dung dropping down to renew it.
And we push up towers and rockets.

Dear ladybug slips from the tilting leaf,
               Unshells her wings,
               And lifts away.
Lamb and mother bed down by a stream.
And we brood on rooftops, calling into the void.

We and the ladybug, we and the lamb
Dwell on the surface, die into the earth,
Leap up briefly or fly up as ash.

But one day we wake—
To see from above the LORD leaning down,
Unfolding the firmament to draw us up.

Graves will open, lambs lie with lions,
And we—with new eyes and arms and hearts—
Lift into fullness and glory foursquare.

©2015, Cindy Marsch

Saturday, April 19, 2014

An Easter Poem

Discerning the Lord

Ash Wednesday I try,
Walking up for my smudge,
To sense You in the rite--
Sooty crumbles skittering down my nose.

Lenten day by Lenten day
I squint my eyes to see,
In mundane March,
The moments of penitent piety.

Good Friday I shut myself in,
Poring over the story,
Calling up devotion,
Cross-legged on the bed with the Word.

Good Friday noon I find a place
Where still ‘til three
The faithful gather—
Remembering those dark hours.

Have I conjured emotion,
Struck up sadness,
Practiced the presence
Until I feel what I know?

Easter morning I shiver in the dark
With the few faithful,
In this cemetery somewhere,
To re-enact the rising.

But all for naught.
Dust, surrender,
Solitude, sleepiness—
All these are but negations.

While You,
Who fill all in all,
Walk lively among us,
Pour riches down our throats.

You shine, break forth,
Uplift, surround,
Overflow, abide—
Bursting our wineskins in forceful joy.

And suddenly the ashes fly upward,
A gust of real life—
Privations and vigils
Swept up in Your dance.

©2014, Cindy Marsch

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy New Year!

Many things have kept me from this blog for months, but we can all use something new for the New Year. Sometimes that can be a little something to freshen up our academic pursuits, and to encourage that I want to offer a bonus.

It begins with a reward--all existing clients will have 1000 words added to their current evaluation accounts, and those enrolled in courses with Writing Assessment Services can use the bonus for additional exercises within the course or for another kind of writing of their choice. For new clients it's a little incentive to go ahead and sign up for that new evaluation account or a Progymnasmata Tutorial to freshen up your school year.

I am happy to announce that I now have, courtesy of the good folks at the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, a permanent home for a great article written by Amy Kim, "Pro-gym-nas-what?!..." In this piece she details how we worked on the Progymnasmata together in my consulting relationship with The Oaks, a classical Christian school in Spokane, Washington, and how she's implemented these great writing exercises in her classroom over the years. Please find this article on my home page, at Writing Assessment Services.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Silly Poem

George Grant posted on Facebook this evening a quote by G.K. Chesterton:  "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

Well, I'm up for a challenge, even after being away for a long time!  This is what I posted in reply to G.G.'s post:

A Cheesy Poem

I once buttered up a young miss
By saying her skin was like swiss.
I meant it was silky with cream--
"Holes" was all to her it could seem.
I tried and I tried to do better,
And I likened her hair to a cheddar.
"Greasy" was all that she knew,
So she left me bereft and so bleu.
No! Her hair was as lovely as she,
Not stinky and gooey like brie.
So now I'm a miserable fella,
Sitting here with my nice mozzarella.
Stumble and sputter and wheeze--
You just can't po-et about cheese!

--Cindy Marsch, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Friday Fictioneers, Delayed: "Bluer Than Blue"

(This post is actually from November 29, 2012, but I keep getting spam comments on it, so I'm experimenting with a different way to post it, for posterity.)

Friday Fictioneers is an opportunity to join a community of writers in the challenge of creating a 100-word story from a single picture.*  I just love the color in this week's photo prompt. And that woman with the shopping bag--she had to be in the story, in that sanitized place, all pretty and open and safe.  A passing comment from someone today gave me the kernel of the story, and here we go!

(Image deleted in hopes that that will stop the spam I've been getting on this post!)

Bluer Than Blue

Daniel had to get away, onto the open road. Still his taut teen self inside, grizzled in the beard but long and lean. The Harley was the ticket out of Mediocre, Pennsylvania down to the Magic Kingdom—a zipping roar away from the doughy missus, the disappointing son.  She understood--had a free flight of her own to escape with. They’d decorate for Christmas later.

He rounded a corner in Celebration, Florida, the sky impossibly blue at dusk, lights everywhere. Buzzing from the saddle, swaggering in boots, ready.

She looked right at him, denim up and down—“Daniel, you, too?!”

100 words

*Happy anniversary, Rochelle, our photographer this week!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Fictioneers: "Press Conference"

This is a weird photo prompt, and many of the contributors to Friday Fictioneers have puzzled over it.  Here's what I did with it.  Click the link above to see what the others did with it, and maybe try your own version!

Press Conference

“After a few adjustments we are proud to unveil the Municipal Monument.  As you know,” the Mayor brightly assured us, her hot pink blazer glowing in the noon sun.  “As you know, we wanted to give as many local Artists as possible the opportunity to contribute to the Monument. It is a tribute to our diverse populace, friendly to all.”

I turned to interview one of the contributors, a musky heap of burlap in huaraches, who chuckled, “Yeah, I started a great nude diving into the wall, but they made me change it into a hand. Yeah, that’s me below.”

100 words