Friday, September 14, 2007

how you can trust


Fridays have been good days, teaching-wise, for me. There is a kind of anticipation in the weekend, an excitement, especially in the fall: football games, regular social collecting of friends, that sort of thing. My ALC kids are wonderful; I anticipate their joining me in the classroom each day, and they come, complex and willing, eager, honest (sometimes brutally so). But kind and passionate and altogether human, ready to reveal the underbellies of hurt, of love, of self. And today, in Brit Lit: teaching critical theory (literary criticism, in other words) using children's books. Applying lenses to The Sneetches and Paper Bag Princess and There's a Monster at the End of This Book and The Nutcracker. Feminist theory, Marxist theory, Archetypal theory, New Criticism, Reader Response, Psychological Theory. Deborah Appleman's critical encounters, which I had yet to use (afraid to use it before, as getting them to sit still and not chat with each other had been such a priority with freshmen--that, and not spitting on each other, throwing books on the floor, and other childish pranks), and it went well.

Other things: Husband and I in quiet contemplation, the curve of sleeping next to him, even after napping, is the comfort I find in falling into quiet, feeling safe. Work toward poetry, every day: a nice rejection with an invitation to send more work (and those who send things out know this is a good sign, a hopeful and rare gesture), two more packets of poetry sent out, signing up for the GRE, signing up for three workshops at the Loft this fall (an early birthday present to myself, I suppose), applying to a conference I am certain to not get in, but practicing applications nonetheless, and an application to a mentorship. It's been a full week as far as pushing myself, and two new poems that may live beyond the early draft. I also spent study hall hours reading my brother-in-law's novel manuscript and hope to mail my critique out to him next week; I've only had it for a year now. Shameful how long it takes to simply sit down and quietly concentrate--so much to distract recently.

Yesterday I had a facial and tomorrow I have a massage; I feel spoiled and decadent. It is true what they say--you will become a regular, addicted, once you have your first. I know this about the facial; I schedule one along with brow waxing (after all, the pain, the sting of tears, it seems only fair I should have some kind of peaceful cleansing as well). I think teachers need that kind of quiet meditation and attention; it's good for the spirit. The massage is due to a gift certificate Husband won at his work's Christmas party--I figured I ought to take advantage, especially now I have a knot snaking up the left side of my back. Husband says it's from napping too much; I say it's from hunching over a keyboard too often!

I continue to feel quiet, still. A little more in balance, now with regular attentiveness, but this fall, I'm feeling that need to hibernate, that roughing away like an ocean stone. I have so many big things I need to complete (Master's degree, renew my license in case I am not in the classroom the next few years, applying to graduate school, an independent learning class I allowed to lapse in the chaos of all else, continuing to generate work and send something to Carolyn for our mentorship) that there is little left for frivolous things. And yet, I find myself, on the verge of curling into bed on a Friday night, with a novel (Suite Francaise) and a dim light, escaping into a time where the driving concern is escape, bread, shelter. Something I ought not take for granted when I feel myself slipping.

1 comment:

Felicia said...

A facial and a massage in the same week. That would be the height of decadence for me too.