Monday, October 20, 2008
Take Your Breath Away
I once read that Joan Baez was taught as a child to treat everyone as though they only had one hour to live, particularly when said person was working that last nerve. If we could maintain this fiction which like a stopped clock will be right at least once, we'd be a lot different. But to live with such intensity is impossible. When I taught freshman composition, I often had students write that because of such and such an experience, he or she would never ever take life for granted. One of my students claimed she would not take life for granite anymore which made me like the cliche a little bit better. Some parts of life are like stone: hard to move, impossible to destroy completely. But could they, I often asked, live each moment with joy and bliss, even the mundane tasks of brushing teeth and dusting the television and filling up the gas tank? It seemed like a great goal, but not a likely one.
I remember lots of essays, many sad stories that took my breath away. No matter the level of skill, I got honesty, the kind that shocks you awake. Like most teachers, I hated grading given the judgement aspect (sorry your brother was shot, but you have a lot of comma splices!), but I always enjoyed reading the work. Even the mistakes were interesting. Once a student with a closed head injury wrote that he had dug a profound hole. He meant it literally, that he had dug and dug a pit in his backyard, and he didn't know why. This remained a mystery to both of us. But to dig a profound hole, well, who hasn't done that?
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." Charles Mingus
Drinking Halloween candle suggestion: www.darkcandles.com
Benedictions and Maledictions