Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Quote: On Meaning and Escape

"For the true writer...there is some distance, some remove, that allows for the shaping of the work...Every reader can sense the difference between a writer who embodies meaning through the events he describes and the writer who seems simply mired in those events. It is that struggle for meaning that lets the writer escape the tyranny of what really happened..."

---Sue Miller

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thirteen Things I Need to Remember When My Students Drive Me Crazy

1. Some of my students didn't sleep last night.

2. Some of them haven't eaten anything since yesterday's school lunch.

3. Some of them are trying to find the right balance of anti-depressants and/or anti-psychotic meds.

4. Some of them are seniors and are beginning to feel a bit crazy about getting to leave school and having to leave school, and they can't decide whether they love or hate these things.

5. Being cooped up in a computer lab when it's 80 degrees and sunny outside isn't anyone's idea of fun.

6. Some of these kids know a whole lot more about livestock and motors than I could ever dream of knowing.

7. Some of them are taking care of mentally ill parents at home and may not get to class on time because they had to wait for the ambulance...again.

8. Some of them are so smart that they're bored out of their minds and coming up with trouble to keep themselves entertained.

9. Some of them look scroungy because they had to get younger brothers and sisters ready for school this morning, and they put little sister's hair in ponytails instead of brushing their own before catching the bus.

10. Some of them laugh and joke because they're afraid of anyone figuring out that they care very much that they're failing, and they're covering up.

11. Not all of them HAVE to like me or like my class.

12. I can love them, anyway.

13. Crazy isn't such a bad state of mind if you're in far enough.

NaPoWriMo 2010 Begins!

I have a horrible track record when it comes to any kind of regular writing, and teaching school the past two years has only exacerbated the situation. Nevertheless, better to try than not to try. At least, that's the line I feed my students. I don't have time for revision, however--at least not now. You'll have to settle for rough drafts splattered down on the page.

Let the scrawls begin!


Fat buds wing into full bloom and float
in arcs above my monitor. Students drop
their shove and scuffle, stoop to touch trembling
petals, one slow finger at a time. I've watered them
for months, watched them stretch
new growth and now, although their roots
still tangle, gnarled amid dead wood
and sphagnum, they are opening
along their lengths, lifting
fragile faces toward the light.