I just joined the forum last night, so I thought it appropriate that I introduce myself, and get acquainted with some of the etiquette of the forum. This is an ancient cliche, but so what; the truth can't always be something unique--I've always had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember, and I have a decent collection of short stories, poems, essays, editorials, and other half-written oddities, but almost none have been beyond my own eyes. Over time, I've become more curious to see if any of it might be considered worthy of some sort of renown of any level. In the past year, I've had one poem and one short story published in minor online journals, but the vast majority are ignored, which is not to complain. What I don't have are people to offer any constructive criticism, so I was hoping people here may be willing to have a lot then and now, tit-for-tat. I've been through the college writing workshops, so I'm not unused to negative reinforcement. Other things, I'm a high school English/ESL/Literature teacher with a focus on special education. I'm familiar with classic writings from all eras and genres. I've had my share of tough luck wrestling cancer for the better part of 20 years, which is where I get most of my inspiration. I don't write many happy stories, but that's not to say I'm not happy. I'd appreciate any advice on how to get started here, besides introducing myself. Would it be more proper to critique first before requesting thoughts on my own writing, or is it okay to just jump right in sharing my writing while reading that of other members?