Saturday, April 20, 2013

Something to write about

I’m staring at the blank page, and I want to write.

I don’t have anything to write about.

I applied for a new job next year. I had to write a resume and interview for the first time in 14 years. No big deal for a veteran teacher, right? I worked for entire days on my resume and portfolio. After the interview, I replayed it 100 times in my head, breaking down each answer I offered up to the hiring committee. After the 100th time, I knew every word that had come out of my mouth was drivel.

Then I got the job.

I don’t have anything to write about.

I’ll be teaching four different courses to sophomores and juniors. I taught sophomores during my student teaching semester 17 years ago. I’ve never taught the junior courses. I haven’t read any of the books in either curriculum for at least 17 years…some of them ever. I can teach the freshman curriculum blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back. I can answer my students’ questions before they get them out of their mouths. Next year, kids will ask me questions to which I do not immediately know the answers.

And that is awesome.

I want to write, but I don’t have anything to write about.

I spent four days interviewing 12 different lawyers. See, what’s even more awesome about this new job is that it’s in a career and technical school unlike any other in Kentucky. I’ll be teaching English in the new Law and Justice Village. I’ll be working with a Social Studies teacher and a lawyer-turned-teacher. The Social Studies teacher and I are on the hiring committee to find the lawyer, so I’ve been interviewing lawyers. Lawyers approach interview questions differently than other prospective teachers. Almost to a person, they talked around the questions instead of answering them directly. I was beginning to think this might be a soft skill we’ll need to teach in our Village. To cure someone of this affliction, you put them in front of high school students, so we did. Have you ever tried to avoid a persistent 15 year old with a question? Hehehe.

I need something to write about.

I’m teaching Romeo and Juliet for the last time…at least for a while anyway. It’s always been my favorite unit. I’m keeping a list of the things the kids say. You know, like the kid who left my classroom the other day asking a girl if she would ope her lap to saint-seducing gold. She smacked him. A little Shakespeare goes a long way, but you have to know how to use it.

I’m writing about that later though. What to write about now?

I saw Lincoln last night. Spielberg, man… He can make a movie. I loved the narrow focus. I loved the way the movie pulled back the curtain to show us that the legend was a human being with the same problems and struggles as the rest of us mere mortals. I was struck by the moral courage demonstrated by not only Lincoln, but by the members of the House, and I was struck by the seeming absence of such men and women today.

I don’t have anything to write about.

Of course, moral courage necessitates an open mind and a willingness to hear the other side. I wonder if anyone else is dismayed by the extreme political polarization I see everywhere. Some days, my Facebook feed looks like one long fist-shaking screed. The sarcastic posters, pictures, and angry links never stop. In this week of national tragedy, you would expect it to lessen, but no. It’s worse. I don’t understand “in-your-face” messages on Facebook. You know who’s reading them? Your friends. 

“Ha ha, Person-I-enjoy-following-and-spending-time-with-in-real-life!! I just made you feel like an asshole for your point of view! Boo ya!”

Surely, there’s something I could write about.

I struggle constantly with what to put on Facebook myself. My teacher-self is always in conflict with my writer-self. Like this morning, I discovered an awesome poem on The Rumpus. They’re sharing a new poem every day for National Poetry Month. The best part of the series is the audio of the author reading his or her poem. This poem drops the f-bomb and contains graphic sexual imagery, and it is everything I love about poetry…smart and musical. The author’s reading is mesmerizing. My writer-self called my public school teacher-self a coward for not posting the link, but I did post it here. Somehow, the extra click to get to my blog is a doorway in my mind. You have entered the domain of writer-Kathy. Yes, I am aware there is no logic to that reasoning.

I really feel like writing.

My youngest son is graduating from high school next month. He’s been accepted to college and has signed his letter of intent to play football.

I let him go to Florida with his friends for Spring Break, and we both survived unscathed. Prom was also a success.

Where we are now compared to where we were two years ago is not just separated by time. It’s a whole different universe, and I’m still too close to it to write about it. I’ll simply say this. I’m proud of him.

Some days the muse is silent. Maybe tomorrow I’ll think of something.

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