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Must-See Movies at Sidewalk Film Festival 2017

my gear from Sidewalk Fest 2016

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — good writers read good writing. But I believe good writers watch good writing too, good writing that comes in the form of good movies. And that’s why every year you’ll find me at the Sidewalk Film Festival. If you’re in the Birmingham area, I hope to see you at this weekend’s festival, August 25-27.

There are always so many films showing at Sidewalk that sometimes I feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which films I’m going to see.

Fortunately, I have a pal to help me out.  One of my colleagues at the Alabama School of Fine Arts is also a features programmer for the festival. Corey Craft has written about film since 2009, for five years as the primary film writer for The Tuscaloosa News and now exclusively for the upstart arts and entertainment website artsBHAM.com. He also teaches a history of film class at ASFA and has a degree in telecommunications and film with an emphasis in critical studies from the University of Alabama. So he knows his stuff.

I had a chat with him about the best movies to catch this weekend.

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She Who Writes Teaches

I have a coffee mug that reads “Teacher by day, Blogger by night” and that’s a pretty accurate description of who I am and what I do. By day I teach English at a local school for kids gifted in the arts and sciences.  By night I blog about writing, wellness, and women’s empowerment, I run See Jane Write, and I freelance for a number of local and national media outlets.

For years I worked to keep these two worlds of mine — writer and teacher — separate. I never talked about my blog at work and since I often shared my blog posts via social media, I never accepted Facebook friend requests from students and I kept my Twitter account locked so I could control who followed me. But then one day a student came up to my desk and said to me the words I never wanted to hear: “Mrs. Bowser, you know I read your blog.”

I wanted to hide under my desk.

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How to Get Confident for Your Photo Shoot

You know you need to schedule a photo shoot. On more than one occasion you’ve been asked for a headshot and you’ve had to send an embarrassing selfie instead of a professional portrait. The Welcome, About, and FAQ pages of your website all have stock photos or no images at all. And you don’t even have a picture of yourself in the sidebar of your blog!

You know need to schedule a photo shoot, but you just can’t build the courage to do so. Trust me, I understand. (more…)

What Losing 20 Pounds Taught Me About Writing

I had no idea I’d lost 20 pounds.

My pants were easier to button, my dresses easier to zip. But since I usually only step on a scale when a medical professional forces me to do so, I had no idea I’d lost 20 pounds.

Then I went to a wellness screening mandated by my health insurance provider, stepped on the scale, looked down and saw a number 20 pounds less than the number I saw the last time I’d weighed myself.

“Your scale is broken,” I declared to the nice nurse practitioner filling out my paperwork. She just laughed and assured me it was not. I didn’t believe her. When I got home I weighed myself again and those 20 pounds were still nowhere to be found. “Maybe my scale is broken, too,” I thought.

Last week my fellow teachers and I returned to work after a two and a half month summer break and that’s when I realized those scales must have been right.

“Oh my gosh! Javacia, you look great!” one co-worker exclaimed. “Wow! You got so skinny!” said another. “Girl, what did you do?” a colleague asked.

Good question. What did I do? And how can I use the same principles I used to lose weight to help me with my writing and blogging goals?

I’ve realized that there are four things that helped me lose weight: mindset, movement, motivation, and momentum.

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A Room of One’s Own

During my first year of teaching, my classroom looked as if it belonged to a 40-something-year-old white man. Why? Because before I was hired it did belong to a 40-something-year-old white man and when his classroom became my classroom I didn’t bother to change anything.

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