The Refractory Period (noun).

When asked to define the term on this morning’s bloodcurdling exam, I may have over-stepped some student-professor boundaries in my response.

I won’t get into too much detail about why I don’t regret it. Maybe my brain is just so fried that it refuses to acknowledge right from wrong. Ironic, a test on the brain is what inevitably slaughters it.

The correct definition, as it relates to Cognitive Neuroscience, is when a neuron has just fired and can not respond to additional stimuli. The nerve is empty, exhausted, and pretty much useless for the time being. And then I wrote about how

The poor neuron probably just studied too hard for a test that ate away the last week of its life.

I smile at the thought of Dr. J now sitting in her third floor Dyson Hall office, routinely grading these open ended answers before moving on to my own test paper.

Knowing how sassy and humor-oriented I can be when bitter – and yes I’m extremely bitter about this test – I thought about attaching a list of strategies to bump up her teaching skills as well.

However, I should probably hold of on that bit until AFTER finals week.

Journal Entry #23



  1. I will tell you a secret. After five years of teaching you will hate it. You want to write? Teaching will never give you that opportunity, it will interfere with the process of creativity. But so will all those so-called creative writing classes that aren’t creative. Creativity requites authenticity, not duplication of the trite and stale formulas of second rate writing. You want to write a novel, fine. Creativity comes from the theme you chose. A journalist once asked O. Henry how he thought up his story lines, his plots. The answer is deceptively simple and almost intuitive. He said that the themes, the stories came from the ordinary affairs of people. He picked up a menu and perused it and said, “There is a story.” He pointed to a menu item and proceeded to expound on the story. It became one of his better short stories. That is creativity. When we can separate the artificial from the contrived, we have a story to tell. If on the other hand, you aren’t serious as a writer, become a disgruntled teacher. That may make you a very good writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela,
    A little tidbit to impress your teacher.
    When the polio virus strikes it paralyzes by destroying the motor neurons. What compensates for that is that unaffected neurons form a bridge, through some miracle of the body’s desire to survive, to the nearest unaffected neurons to keep the muscles functioning by staying connected to the brain. Especially that which effects the function of the lungs.
    A rather rudimentary explanation, but you could research a bit to schmooze the professor.
    I know this fact to be true because at the age of four polio paid my a visit.
    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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