Sitz im Leben

I want to say more. I want to free my voice again. I’m buried.

I’m a teacher – a special education teacher, at that. I work with the intellectually gifted – not what most people normally think of when they hear “special ed,” but the services I offer are just as individualized and just as crucial as those that a student with dyslexia or a hearing impairment may receive. My students all show strong evidence of high potential, and I am working to help them realize that potential. I teach an advanced language arts class for middle school gifted students, and I serve as an academic advisor and mentor for gifted high school students. I love my students, and I care deeply about the work I do.  I know that my words and silences, my actions and hesitations, even whether or not I’m getting enough sleep to be fully “on” at school the next day, affect lives beyond my own every day, and can open or close doors for the beautiful and incredible young people I serve.

I am keenly aware of my responsibility to my students and their families. I teach at a rural community school and have a relatively small caseload, but the phrase “public figure” has been running through my head lately as I consider my situation in life. Surely I’m not so delusional. I’m not a senator or a radio host or a “public intellectual.” My scope of influence in the world appears to be relatively narrow. The influence I have, however, may be profound. Because I am entrusted with the intellectual and socio-emotional development of children, I expect thoughtful questions about the work I do and respectful criticism of how I do it. I expect attention – from my students, certainly, but also from colleagues and community members. I expect to be taken seriously, and I expect to be scrutinized readily, held to a higher standard. I don’t want to get grandiose here, but I am a teacher, and I embrace that role and all it entails.

I am also a writer. I might need to type that again. I am a writer.

I was a writer before I was a teacher.

I must know – I must hope, anyway – that this fact does not make me less of either.

I hope.

Gatlinburg 2014 - Lessons Learned

1. Bring hiking boots and something water-resistant to go hiking.

2. Gatlinburg is too crowded in early October.

3. Clearly communicate packing expectations before leaving.

4. Hang up the Do Not Disturb sign.

5. Bring the car that both people can drive.

6. Ask many questions about lodging situation beforehand.

7. The library is always a good place.

Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children and just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.

- One Writer’s Beginning, Eudora Welty

I forgot about the way Mom used to make us chocolate pudding until I started filling these blue sherbet glasses (yes, that is a spoon in one; no, I didn’t wait until the pudding chilled completely). I don’t know if this is the same recipe (It’s “Sunliner Chocolate Pudding” from Aunt Bee’s Mealtime In Mayberry), but these are the same glasses we used.
Six servings: maddening for a family of five. Maybe Mom and I would split the sixth. Maybe she’d insist on saving it for Daddy (or Dad, but I think pudding happened a little more often when we still called them Mommy and Daddy). Maybe if I kept a very close eye on the fridge I could get to the extra serving before Tyler. Maybe Mom would save it for herself, because she was the cook and she’d earned it.

I forgot about the way Mom used to make us chocolate pudding until I started filling these blue sherbet glasses (yes, that is a spoon in one; no, I didn’t wait until the pudding chilled completely). I don’t know if this is the same recipe (It’s “Sunliner Chocolate Pudding” from Aunt Bee’s Mealtime In Mayberry), but these are the same glasses we used.

Six servings: maddening for a family of five. Maybe Mom and I would split the sixth. Maybe she’d insist on saving it for Daddy (or Dad, but I think pudding happened a little more often when we still called them Mommy and Daddy). Maybe if I kept a very close eye on the fridge I could get to the extra serving before Tyler. Maybe Mom would save it for herself, because she was the cook and she’d earned it.

It’s got to be big enough for at least 2 books.

Me when asked what I look for in a purse. (via bookwormbabe89)

Mmhm.

(Reblogged from booksandpublishing)

I like to celebrate my personal freedom, my own independence (spiritual, emotional, what have you) on Independence Day (although the day is officially just called Fourth of July). So this morning, downstairs alone, I thanked God for the freedom to eat mangoes, but then I remembered that mangoes are definitely not local to Tennessee. Why wasn’t I celebrating freedom to eat peaches or apples or cherries? Why wasn’t I picking peaches or apples or cherries? Because we haven’t those trees in our garden. Well, we are part of a CSA. Maybe we could buy something extra from the farm this next week to help celebrate.

Roy made aebleskiver this morning - funny little spherical Danish pancake-like things. I was a bit aghast at the amount of butter involved, but that didn’t stop me from eating at least half of the giant mound we piled up on a single plate, mostly with powdered sugar, occasionally with blueberry jelly. We celebrated the fourth of July with aebleskiver and The Muppet Movie. I love Roy Justus. One thing I can celebrate is the freedom to marry the one I love and to love, love, love the one I’ve married.

I also celebrated Independence Day by reading about the Japanese internment during World War II. I’ve had a copy of Farewell to Manzanar for nearly a year, and I just started reading it last night. I’ve nearly finished. Patriotism: I love this land and its people and some of its ideals and some of its history. And here is one line from the book: “One of the amazing things about America is the way it can both undermine you and keep you believing in your own possibilities, pumping you with hope.”

A Mixtape from Roy and Allison

1. Temporal Dominoes - Marian Call

2. Nothing Short of Thankful - The Avett Brothers

3. by your side - The Everybodyfields

4. Get Lost - Tom Waits

5. Sax Rohmer #1 - The Mountain Goats

6. 100 Years - Dr. Dog

7. Edge of the World - Josh Ritter

8. How Can I Keep From Singing? - Enya

9. Gold To Me - Ben Harper

10. Goodnight, My Love - Benny Goodman & His Orchestra

11. You Can Never Hold Back Spring - Tom Waits

12. June Hymn - The Decemberists

13. Resist the Tide - Cynthia Hopkins

Don’t Think About Katy Perry

eunoiareview:

Don’t Think About Katy Perry

Especially Katy Perry
in her whipped-cream-
squirting bikini top.
Don’t think about the fame
you’d win if you had
her blue eyes, or the pop
of color her anime
hair would give your face.
Don’t think about all the lattes
her record deal could buy,
the rich Hollywood
men lips you’d kiss,
or the smooth fatless
body you’d have.

Don’t think about death
while eating in front of the TV,
especially if…

View On WordPress

Wow. Yes. (Go read the whole thing.)

(Reblogged from eunoiareview)
Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has not time to be anything but a machine. How can he well remember his ignorance—which growth requires—who has so often to use his knowledge? We should feed and clothe him gratuitously sometimes, and recruit him with our cordials, before we judge of him. The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom of fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden