Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Thursday, January 19, 2006

all the usable hours in a day

I love to teach.

My class Tuesday went much better than I could have possibly envisioned. I set it up very much as a discussion and inquiry-based seminar, which was making me fret a bit -- but they talked. Eve the very shy ones. They have great ideas and let me segue into all sorts of small explanations. Their critiques were surprisingly sensitive and well-thought-out. They understand euphony and associative logic and how darn fun langauge can be. It seems that all my job is right now is to tell them what the proper words are for things, decidewhen we take a break to get moe tea, reassure them poetry is not tring to kill them. Really. And then just watch them be funny and brilliant and come up with the most fabulous stuff.

I've had several students come to me in varying degrees of nervousness and exciteability to talk about the first assignment and first round of submissions. I feel completely energized after each conversation. I lvoe watching things connect, watching them relax and understand something, actually seeing a synapse click ito place. They all have notebooks now, beautiful things they've all scribbled in.Without fail they hold their notebooks protectively, with a kind of reverence, like they're magical artifacts. They send me email with questions and drafts, want me to look at things, repeat things, recommend books, talk for a while. I love it. I love every minute of it. This is why I am here. This is what I am meant to do. If I can do this for a living, all the most frustrating parts of graduate school are worth it. I will teach my way through a doctorate. It will remind me every day that this is really worth it.

I am not sleeping right now. It happens every now and again. I am not an insomniac but I go through phases where my body will just have none of it. I toss for a while, then give up and lie still until Ed is asleep, then get up and work for a while. The cats visit me. I watch t.v. with the sound as low as it can go, and my ears get so sensitive with everything else so quiet eventhat seems too loud and I wish I could reduce the volume to smaller increments. I doodle. Finally, I don't really get tired, but something finally relaxes and I crawl in bed for a couple of hours. I don't seem to fall deeply asleep, but rather have the most brilliant dreams about octopi and strange architecture and burgundy velvet boxes the size of jewel cases that unfold to hide rooms full of treasure. I wake up with a headache and a stiff neck, drink too much tea, and start over again. Maybe I should tranq myself.

Thanks to all the kids (ha -- half of them are older than I am) in my class for all the energy, for being so willing about writing even if you supposedly hated poetry before, for your beautiful wrinkly brains. Thanks for having the love.
Natalie Zed updated @ 12:51 p.m.!!