Poem #3: Meander, Take Time

Gooey-eyed, with a ring as my ultimate goal,
My mother drove north on I-15, leaving me in her wake.
I went to classes
I took tests
(failed many)
I went on dates
(perhaps too many)
I lacked vision.

Three years later
Gripping the flaky leather steering wheel,
I turned into the base gate
Made my way to a beige and faceless building
I picked up a syllabus
(I missed them)
Touched the words on the page
(I missed them)
Doubted I’d succeed
(out of practice)

One year later
Four classes at once
A changed major
A changed mindset
A ring no longer my goal
I read voraciously
(Hawthorne, Anderson, O’Connor)
I wrote incessantly
(journals, papers, bibliographies)
I glimpsed a future I’d not before seen
(college graduate)

Five years later
Flanked by my father and my brother
We pose in front of a tree
Black square hat, black square gown
(Blue tassel)
We drive downtown
(despite traffic)
I walk across a stage
A vision starts to unfold:
A Career
With accompanying endless opportunities
A vision I could not see nine years prior
I focus
I move
I choose
I succeed

Poem #2: End on a question


I’ve read the greats as well as the unknowns
Gobsmacked at the similes, metaphors, synecdoche, metonymy
Inspired by the diction, the imagery
I swoon, I weep, I ponder—the depth and breadth of human emotion
Present in the lines and stanzas of good poetry
All of it leaves me to wonder:

Why add one more voice?
Why add one more verse?
Does the world need one more poet, when it barely pays attention
To the ones who already inspire?

November, Again.

How is it already November?

Time has simultaneously moved at a glacial and white-water-rapids pace. I will never understand how both feel possible.

This dichotomous passage of time fills me with both relief and dread–relief that the current problems I face can’t be my problems forever; dread that the pieces of my life I love the most right now are just as fleeting.

I’ve used past Novembers to write daily–some years it was writing a book or two, some years it was writing here about things I was grateful for. As someone who craves tradition I feel the familiar pull to write every day in November. As someone who craves change, I need to write something different.

So this November, I plan to write lists.

Lists of films, music, worst teaching moments, best teaching moments, fascinating ancestors, lies depression tells me and so on. Lists of things that have led me to the being I am right now, this moment, November 2018.

I have a list (a list of lists!) with 26 topics. It might change over the next 30 days. We will see. It’s a place to start. Why only 26 topics? Because every Wednesday I plan a return to the movie project. 

So if all goes according to plan (and I think long-time readers of the blog know that’s rarely the care), you’ll have a new list to read every day. Maybe it will inspire you to make your own lists, to reflect on the tiny building blocks that created who you are right now, this moment.

I kinda hope it does.

Random Thoughts On The Night Before…

In exactly 12 hours I will be sitting in a meeting at school.

I can’t believe how fast the summer went. I did that to myself, really, with a seven-week trip that took me from Utah to Tokyo and back, with a brief stopover in Colorado. By the time I was home again, it was July 11th, less than 30 days to meetings at school.

I am feeling all the normal feels of the start of a new school year–fear, excitement, frustration–which tells me that I’m still doing what the universe thinks I should be doing. The year I feel none of these things is probably the first sign it’s time to move on. But this is not that year.

I have a mostly-new newspaper staff, and the editors are willing to make some sweeping changes in how we cover news at the school.

I am adjusting some of my assignments to be more about practice and less about point values.

And I am setting a goal to be more reflective this year.

At the end of last year, I applied for a scholarship to a master’s program. I did not get the scholarship, and I was a little bummed because paying for a second master’s degree is not really something I want to do.

But in my scholarship essay, I explained how I have not written much lately about what goes well and what goes not-so-well in my classroom. I’m not present enough in my craft, because I’m too worried about the litany of concerns that currently plague educators in this country.

So the night before school starts, I am thinking about how I can be more reflective, more present, more involved in my classroom.

I have some ideas percolating, and one of those ideas is to blog more here. I don’t need to be enrolled in a master’s program to be more reflective, and I know I don’t need a master’s program to inspire me to write more often than I have been.

The trick is to remember to do it. To make the time for it.

Welcoming any suggestions for how I make that happen.