Monday, April 16, 2007

the smell of summer

They opened the pit today, extra furniture and props had to be hauled out, making ready for the pit orchestra (my own role in high school, to play the violin in the pit, and I was enamored with it):

From If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland:

pg. x: "You will never be working from grim, dry willpower but from generosity and the fascinating search for truth. Your moto: Be Bold, be Free, be Truthful. The truthfulness will save it from flamboyance, from pretentiousness."


pg. 4: "Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be."

I keep thinking about this, about the authentic self. I wrote this in my notebook during my morning thoughts:

I realize how easily I am swayed by others' emotions and decisions--how so much can seem like a good idea (how can I incorporate this into my life?). It often makes me feel unoriginal and like a follower, but I know this also helps me empathize and, eventually, these things mutate, become my own."

Today, I observed rehearsal quietly. Mostly a music and choreography review, so I found various perches from which to observe and wrote in my notebook. And wrote. After the marathon persona poem class over the weekend, I haven't been able to stop writing. It's not even me attempting to find small moments--I am now writing when I probably should be doing other things. Writing at rehearsal (though I was observing, just not reacting the way I am paid to do), writing between class periods (when I could be monitoring the halls, greeting students, jotting things down in the morning (when I should be making a more valiant attempt at arriving to work on time). But this is what brings me great joy, keeps me moving, allows me to maintain my push for positivity.

Some snippets from my writing notebook:

I look to the stage now, the stomp of whirling tango, rowdy like a hoe-down, shuffle, keep up, shoulders back, smile! Some fun, mostly exhaustion. The auditorium door is flung open, fresh air and sunshine gulped between scenes, hacky sacks and sidewalk chalk. Relationships in bloom: hands entwined, whispering while kids whirl around like teacups. And on stage, tragedy--the queen in Virginia Tech athletic shorts because her sister goes there and because she will too in the fall; a girl whose young carpenter father had a stroke and is paralyzed on one side, her mother is in again for brain tumor surgery and now aren't sure where they'll live in the fall, aren't sure where college tuition will come from; a boy whose father is in the hospital after a heart attack. This place, where they can become someone else, where play acting brings the temporary joy of forgetting and freedom.

This is how I feel when I write, except often (nearly always) my own life enter and becomes a part of the equation. Somehow, my life becomes ma
terial and valuable.

And my own continued adaptation: I received my letter of non-intent to rehire today. The principal stopped by my room during prep hour and emphasized that it was not because I wasn't a good teacher, that he wished he could keep me, and that made me feel better. I have made peace, and I let him know that--I let him know I had to work my way through a bit of muck to get to "OK." He promised to contact a principal for me, write a letter of recommendation for graduate school. I promised to set up my last observation with him, a strange and bittersweet moment. I still have the drive to do the best I can, to leave with a bang, but it will also be nice because there aren't the same consequences--I will know my job is already lost there, so I can have him come in to see me really experiment and let me know what he thought. It can be what an observation should be--tips for a fairly new teacher. A teacher who may return to the profession. Might.

It actually smelled like summer as I walked out of the warm auditorium this early evening. Seven o'clock and still bright out, then eight and still light in the sky. I drove home to the sun setting and after errands, the sky was a beautiful hue of deep blue. I love almost every vision of the sky, though day after Minnesota day of winter gray can bring me down; I still love great gobs of clouds, clear blue days, thunderstorms, snowstorms. I love to watch the weather, though I don't obsess (like the one person our Winona circle of friends will always think of if weather is discussed in length). I just think of the vast world around me and how cozy and comfortable the world inside me, the world I live in, the house and the lover, and how very, very lucky I am.

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