Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Get me back

I love my life. But I'm in a funk. And it's a difficult little jump to get over it, as the Staples would say.

I hate comparing the life of a middle-class White dude with the Civil Rights Struggle. It's not fair, but sometimes those songs and icons are so easy to appropriate...

My wife doesn't understand. But even she had to make movements that others didn't understand. I took today off work, partially to catch up on sleep. Partially to get the cobwebs out of my head. Partially to get grading done. Of course, other things are expected of me. Laundry. Shopping. Awaiting a never-ordered set of bookshelves for our many books and CD's. Well, mostly my many books and CDs.

The sun's finally shining on me. It's a bit nippy in the Starbucks. I'm wearing one of my funny-looking hats (the kind with the elongated top and two twisted sides that makes me look like a slightly tanned, overweight, and bespectacled version of a brunette Pippy Longstocking) and too-hip funny t-shirts.

I wear ties and slacks (usually dark kahkis) to work nearly every day. Every day. Wow. I never wore ties before unless it's required of me, and then I would always feel suffocated.

One of my students (that I also taught last year) can not get his hands around the fact that I dress up this year. He proposed that he would continue to act up until I started dressing down again. How's that for a threat. Two stubborn men, locked into patterns of behavior that neither would cede. He never proffered why he misbehaved (on a level that borders illegality) last year, or the years prior to that. I just thought it funny. Especially that a young man incapable of growing a beard and who constantly harasses women (his latest victim within the school being a teacher - which earned him a ten-day + suspension) would claim that my shaving de-genders me.

But I'm not sure what I'm writing for. I always assumed that I'm a writer because I have no choice. I like the click of my own words. I like a tensely-structured sentence. I like to come up with them on the fly, the idea that I'm letting go of my ego by dreaming words, that I'm demonstrating some otherwise hidden talent by writing some long latent string of words, by rearranging popular phrases into something personal and yet not private.

And maybe I'm writing now out of a fear. That underneath it all, I'm only a sham. I don't know how to teach reading skills. I don't know how to make the horse drink. I don't know how to bring the horse to the water. I don't know, in other words, how to teach. Hell, it seems to me that I'm driving the equestrians away by my dextrious vocabulary and monotonous whispering.

Maybe I just need to exorcise the demons by exercising my key-tappers. David Sedaris talks of his need to percussively beat and pound out his ideas on his old electric keyboard. And here I am, on a cheap Acer, using free space on the nowhere internet to pound out some meaningless ideas that nobody in their right mind will find exciting (I mean, there's something universalist about poetry, and a focused essay is - at the very least - focused, but where am I on this sphere? If you read this all the way through, you do deserve some kind of heroic/yeoman's medal. Maybe on my next little mid-week break, I'll fly down to you to personally deliver your yogurt caps on string - which may double as beads for Mardi Gras. Maybe...).

Maybe I can continue a thread of essays. Maybe I'll refocus some meaningful energy on the next few forays.

In the meantime, we're going to teach Monster over the next few weeks. Any fresh, inspired teaching ideas? I'm having the students write a teleplay. Now, they're studying racial disparities in the judicial system. That's about it for my ideas.



  1. 'And maybe I'm writing now out of a fear. That underneath it all, I'm only a sham...'

    THAT is the reason every writer writes!

    Oh, maybe it's just me... and you.

    Nice post.

  2. fear can be a great motivator.

    i'm just afraid it's the primary one.

    thanks for stopping by, art.


Be kind. Rewind.