i went to sleep at 4 a.m. and woke up with this in my head. i don’t fancy myself a songwriter, but i hear a horn section and a keyboard that crashes over the last chorus.

you never will

i have never been a dancer, never been a queen
always looking for the answer somewhere in between
ascending notes and rhythms underneath my stumbling feet
the soundtrack playing even after i have gone to sleep
oh i have gone to sleep

we always say hello, and come on in, and hurry up and wait
staring silently across the room at the chaos we create
i stand alone against the wall holding my body still
wanting you to say my name, and knowing you never will
knowing you never will

step 1, step 2, here we go, one final spin around
step 3, 4 keeping time in a place that has no sound
the water rushes here beneath the bridge we didn’t see
and everytime we’re getting closer you forget i’m me
yeah you forget i’m me

under blankets and across rivers in towns too small to name
where the people and the weather always are the same
when the choir has stopped singing but people still are on their knees
i whisper up into the rafters for a little divinity
it never comes and it breaks me down, climbing up this hill
wanting you to say my name, and knowing you never will
knowing you never will

so we still say hello, and come on in, and hurry up and wait
staring silently across the room at the chaos we create
i stand alone against the wall holding my body still
wanting you to say my name, and knowing you never will
knowing you never will
knowing you never will
knowing you never will

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just a few things

September 15, 2007

my cousin jake carried 13 times for 127 yards in the ku vs. toledo game tonight.  i remember the day he was born, being in the hospital and seeing him, this little miracle in my aunt and uncle’s life, the first baby i really remember, and now he is this badass football rockstar…i am so ridiculously proud of him.

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going to football games with alex means laughing, drinking too much diet coke, dodging his peanut shells, yelling way too loud, and knowing that this is my partner ffor life and we will always have a good time together.

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teaching is so much more than i expected–giving my students a place to feel safe is as important as teaching them to be strong, confident, and good people.  do they need to learn to read and write? yes.  will i help them do that?  yes.  but if they don’t learn how to identify prepositions, but do manage to learn they are incredible, capable people with much to offer the world, than i will still know i’ve done my job.

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i am blessed to have friends who, when i hear from them, can change my entire day.  i have friends whose mere existence is enough to make believe in something bigger than myself.  i am grateful everyday for them, and jealous of the people that get to see my dear friends everyday that i don’t.  lisa, carrie, maria, jennifer, i miss you more than words can say.

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fall makes me believe in magic.  crisp air,  burning wood…the whole world easing into a rhythm that feels most like a slow etta james song…at last…my love has come along…

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timothy hutton should have waited for natalie portman.  beautiful girls got it wrong. ignoring something that real is like telling fate to eff off, and that is not cool.

man crazy, a book review

September 4, 2007

i just finished reading this novel, ‘man crazy,’ by joyce carol oates.  if you’ve never read her it is about time you got to your local used bookstore and found a little piece of word-crack.  i’ve read her short story “it’s all over now, baby blue,” about a thousand times, there’s even a film based on it starring a very young laura dern and an even younger, and creepier, treat williams.  she has a young-adult centered novel called ‘because it is bitter and because it is my heart’ that is not only beautiful, but has one of the best titles ever.

anyway, ‘man crazy’ is a vivid and evocative book that had me shuddering and near vomiting at different intervals.  there is so much description–all of it integral, not extraneous–that you would have to be blind not to see the images she is creating.  the fascinating thing about the novel, or at least one of them, is the fact that though the characters are at times despicable and horrifying, there is a vulnerable and aching sadness to the whole lot that makes it difficult to write them off.  even the satan worshipping murderer has, we learn, moments of tenderness but, as is typical of the men in the oates fiction i have read, he often acts on these tendernesses  by reacting violently towards the women in his life.

i’m not sure i would recommend this book.  it is hard to say ‘go out and read this novel’ when that would mean i am suggesting you read 280+  pages of mutilation, abuse, sexual deviancy, and–in one instance–human sacrifice.  however, it is a helluva read.  i actually left it at school today and when i got home and realized it wasn’t here i made alex drive me back up to get it, and after working 7-5:30 toaday, that says a lot about how badly i wanted to read the last 40 pages or so.

so if you need a book that will devour you as much as you are devouring it, or just want a little break that helps you recognize that gee, your life maybe really isn’t so bad after all, then i would check out ‘man crazy,’ a booze and sex soaked romp down the devil’s highway that dares to ask if there is such a thing as redemption.

the first 12 days

September 2, 2007

teaching at the high school level has proven to be everything i had hoped, and then a whole big pic-a-nic basket full of surprises. i have around 120 students split between my classes and of those about a third has something called an IEP. this stands for individualized education plan and can be for students who need extra assistance due to some kind of learning disability or diagnosis, or could be for gifted students who need extra/more difficult opportunities. i often feel overwhelmed by the amount of extra planning this causes, and though i want to serve the students as best i can, i wonder sometimes if all this inclusion is a good thing. i believe in the least restrictive environment for all students, not just those with difficulties, and inclusion seems to restrict the environment of average students by slowing the pace of the class to accommodate those with extensive needs. all the kids i teach are remarkable, i just hope i am qualified to help them.

there’s this thing called ‘maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ and it looks like this:

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it suggests that people deal with their needs in this hierarchy and students who are on the lower levels (physiological and safety needs, i.e. SURVIVAL) they are not going to be able to process and synthesize information the way students working on higher level needs can. this theory always fascinated me, but now, seeing it in practice, i realize how sadly true it is. students living in foster care or group homes, some living in different places every other night, how can they be expected to produce thesis statements and topic sentences? to explicate poetry? to simply sit still and bask in the glow of education? i have so many students whose physiological and safety needs aren’t being meet that i have come to realize the biggest part of my job will be creating a safe and effective learning environment so that, if only for one hour a day, they feel settled.

i love what i am doing, but teachers are doing much of the work the rest of the world has abandoned. we are trying to piece the hearts and minds back together of america’s forgotten children. i love teaching english, i love high school students with all their wit and and unjaded wonder at the world, but i am done with adults who satisfy only themselves and leave their children to wander lonely and afraid in a haze of self doubt and sadness.