Thursday, May 28, 2009

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

In my attempt to eat fresh, healthy food without cooking every single day, I have discovered the pure joy of organizing what my boyfriend and I now call "a tray" for dinner once a week.

The above is a picture of the first official tray night. We picked out the food together: Havarti cheese, Italian bread, shrimp, cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes, and prosciutto. After returning from the grocery store, I went for a run and when I came back, Voila, Pete had everything organized and looking gorgeous on my tiny table.

The tray is like my life. I'm up for new things and I'm trying to balance my days with a variety of friends, activities, get what I mean.

Writing is something I have tucked to the side, at least for the last few weeks. I have one more week left of school and then the summer is mine. This is the first summer in years that I don't have either college classes or backpacking trips.

I have forced myself to quit feeling guilty that I am not producing more work. It's lovely to sample other areas of life, but I do look forward to returning to the page.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I teach high school. I don't write about it often. I shouldn't care what people think, but seriously, I mean seriously, seriously, many writers think that being a high school teacher means that you aren't a serious writer. I even had a professor in MFA school give me a B+ and say (actually, he wrote it to me in an email), "I am sure you are a really good high school teacher." It was patronizing, condescending, and hurtful. I learned to conceal my profession. In my publication bios, I rarely mention being a high school teacher.

AND THAT IS SO RIDICULOUS. I'm a poet and a high school teacher. I can be talented at more than one thing.

The above picture is that of a really big candy bar that was placed on my desk in my classroom last Friday. Look at the tag. It says, "Have a puddle-wonderful day." Here are some of the other things that are written on the gorgeously wrapped chocolate bar:

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The GREAT teacher inspires.
A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops.

A writer is one who gives voice to the voiceless.

They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Three reasons to have a writer for a teacher:
1. endless coffee
2. an excuse for a childish mind
3. pugs

Someday I may wish to teach college. Who knows? But I must admit, (and many writers who have visited and worked with my students would agree) teaching high school can be a rewarding, challenging, and beautiful experience. I am blessed each day to work with the students who fill the seats in room 201.

I teach them how to make poems and how to practice empathy through reading and writing. They leave me chocolate bars decorated with e.e.cummings references. I know life isn't all rainbows and puppy dogs, but for some Saran wrapped cliche reason, these kids make me a better person.

We have the best days so very often. Days we will never forget. So I teach them about enjambment and I talk about my pugs and they remind how tender words can be and how happy I am, on most days, to be alive.

Some days are rough and teaching is not always conducive to my own writing, but for the most part, I can't imagine a more puddle-wonderful way to spend my days. Thank you to all of my students. I won't keep you a secret anymore.