January’s Literary Whiteboard Lettering: New Year, Old Plays, Fantastic Discussions

January was a time to set the stage for the new year, a fresh start at the semester, and to delve into my favorite genres to teach: drama and poetry! I loved guiding my kids through difficult texts–and I always love a good excuse to say Don John the Bastard or gush about Lady Macbeth!

Day 54: “Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye

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What It’s About: This is a poem about burning the minutiae of the previous year and holding on to the few things that last.

Read it Online.

Day 55: Macbeth

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What It’s About: My favorite Shakespeare play! I’ve already summarized it, I believe, so here’s an explanation of this line: Lady Macbeth is coaching Macbeth to commit evil acts by looking sweet, but being venomous. Gah. Love that woman.

Day 56: You Can’t Take It With You

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What It’s About: This is a depression-era play that is a basic meet-the-parents dilemma with a rich, conservative family and a tax-evading family of misfits. Think “The Birdcage,” but for the Depression. The lesson? You can’t take “it” (money, fame, glory) with you, so you might as well enjoy the little things and avoid taxes. A good story for those struggling with money.

Day 57: Much Ado About Nothing

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What It’s About: Don John the Bastard’s first speech. I love thinking of Keanu Reeves performing this in the Kenneth Branagh version — he is such an emo Don John!

Day 58: Twelfth Night

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What It’s About: One of the big themes in Twelfth Night is a question: how much do we really know the people we fall in love with? In this excerpt, Olivia hints at her love for Cesario (Viola disguised as a man), and Viola hints back that Olivia is barking up the wrong tree.

Day 59: “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What It’s About: OK, this isn’t a book or a poem, but Adichie is a writer so I’m counting it as literary. In this TED talk, she speaks of a “single story”–when people go by the one-sided narrative that they have been fed about a people, instead of understanding their complexity as human beings.

Watch it online. 

Day 60: The Kite Runner

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What It’s About: This poignant novel tells the story of Afghanistan through the friendship of two boys. I can’t say too much without spoiling it. It will make you cry.

Coming up in February: World literature and more poetry! Hopefully. If I don’t get so stressed by my to-do list that I neglect my book talk goals.

Introducing…The Nerd Lady!

English teacher by day, creative soul by night.

Nerd. All day, every day.

This is the story of how I combined my creative outlets, my escapes from the real world, my passions, and my hope into something greater. I am DFW teacher, a reader, a writer, a lover of sci-fi and fantasy, a disciple of science and faith and the magnificent human imagination, and above all, a nerd. Lettering and drawing have always been my hobbies: stress relievers when life gets overwhelming, gift givers when Target and Amazon fail me. Now, I want to share my nerdy illustrations and lettering with others.

As an English teacher in the modern world, I have seen the educational world begin to discard the art of literature in favor of more practical reading writing. I hope to use lettering to show the beauty of words from classic and modern literary works.

As a mother to a baby girl, I am becoming increasingly aware of the biases presented to young girls in the stories and images that they see every day. Although I have seen many more books, illustrations, and clothes that aim to build up young girls’ sense of adventure and discovery since I was a child, I still feel there is work to be done. I hope to create artwork that I can share with my daughter and other young girls to encourage them to be strong, brave, curious, and (of course) nerdy!

As an introvert with few words and a big heart, I love to give personalized gifts to my family and friends that highlight their passions and personalities. Here, I will share the work that I create for my loved ones. I hope to share my skills in custom wedding and nursery artwork soon!

Although I am new to the art world, I have been blogging on and off for over fifteen years. My most recent venture into the blogosphere was with “No More Than 150” (foolishly rebranded to “So This is My Life Now” when I got intense writer’s block during my pregnancy), a blog in which I attempted to write in 150 words or fewer. A fun experiment, but I couldn’t keep it up for too long. My proudest pieces are the ones in which I broke my word limit and wrote from the heart. Read my favorite pieces below:

This time, my blog will be my home base for sharing my art pieces. However, I can’t avoid writing; I’m sure I’ll end up sharing about my journey as I go forth into completely uncharted territory for an English teacher. Join me on my new adventure!Go to “Portfolio” to see more examples of my work. If you like what you see, follow me on Instagram @nerdladydraws!