Monday, July 24, 2006
The Lonely Doll
When I was in kindergarten, I had an old-school teacher, Mrs. Griffith, who didn't put up with any nonsense. She ruled the room through fear, not love, and the students by and large arose to the challenge. I loved the badass atmosphere of the place -- time-outs? Not hardly -- you acted out, your parents were called to take you home. Couldn't focus -- try sitting in a room alone for an hour. The classes fit my masochistic longing for routine and my need for structure. The only thing I hated about the experience was naptime. I loathed naps and couldn't sleep so I finally after much campaigning was allowed to read while the other children slept. There was one condition to this -- I had to tell the students a story when they woke up.
A shy little girl, I had a dilemma. I didn't mind telling stories, but I hated talking in front of people. So I'd sit on Mrs. Griffith's lap and hide my face in the folds of my dress while I told my story for the day. I tried to leave each day with a cliffhanger so the kids would want more. I'd forgotten all about those days until in high school a girl reminded me of my old performances. "You'd sit in front of the class and talk with your dress held over your head." Suddenly it all came back, and I made some feeble attempt at laughter to hide my shame. I guess some things never change.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You made me forget myself; I thought I was someone else, someone good." Lou Reed.
1 shot of scotch
1 glass of milk
Serve over ice. (Also known as a Chicago Boxcar -- my dad said it was the weirdrest drink he'd ever served in his brief time as a bartender.)
Benedictions and Maledictions
A little more writing advice for the lovely Nina:
I think it's important to start slowly with writing as it is with all forms of intense activity. A lot of my students (and I have done this) say, I'm going to start writing four hours a day every single day for a week. It's not practical to go from zero to ninety. I find it's much better for me to say I'm going to write for twenty minutes. And if twenty minutes turns into four hours, then that's great. But I haven't set myself up for huge failure. I know some people need large chunks of time, but I've found it's better for me to do it in small increments. Part of it is the fact that my life is fairly chaotic. Like Jim, I find myself writing on whatever is available whenever I can. Much of writing is just paying attention and always having a pen. Or a friend with a pen. Or an eyebrow pencil. Whatever works. I'm usually writing on the back of my checkbook.