Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Gatsby Passage

I'm asking my students to do this right now, so I'll play along and take it a step further by posting in public. The prompt: Write for 10 minutes on a passage in the book you're reading. Choose a passage that makes you feel something—an emotion, a memory, a pleasure in language, a frustration with the character. Respond to the passage on an emotional level, not an analytical level.

I'll write about The Great Gatsby, which fewer of my students chose than The Catcher in the Rye. The passage I've chosen is from the first chapter:

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." (4)

I know exactly what Nick means here. Or at least I have a sense of it. There's a time of year when everything seems to move incredibly quickly, the trees glow as if they're lit from within, and everywhere you look, things change and shift and blossom. The "fast movies" remind me of looking at my photos from the last year—in each album, the babies seem to grow exponentially, getting bigger and bigger and bigger and turning from little larval beings into the tiny people they've now become. Because I've spent so much of my life in academic environments, I always associate fall with beginning life over again. But perhaps now that I'm freer in the summer to watch things (people!) bloom and grow the summer will become my realm of endless possibility.

Meeting People Is Easy

If you want to meet your neighbors, have a baby. If you want to meet everyone else in the world, have twins.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back to Work

It has been almost exactly three months since I last posted here. I have several posts that I started, but stopped working on when babies woke up or while I ran to the store, or did any of a million other things I do with my time when I'm not feeding or entertaining babies.

But school has started, and I'm back at work. Fortunately, I'm teaching my favorite class in two sections this term (and that's all--I am very grateful to be teaching only part-time). The lovely thing about teaching a writing class is being able to have some time, even if only a few moments, in which to write for myself.

So here I am. And, dear readers, I have so many things to tell you about. I have notes all over the place about things I want to write about. About being a mom and a teacher at the same time, about trying to also fulfill my other roles (wife, daughter, friend) and mostly failing. About sometimes thinking I'm not so good even at the mom stuff, even though I've been working really hard at it for 8 months now. And about how quickly the boys are growing and changing and how amazing it is to watch. And how I can't wait for the day when they sleep just a little bit better, so I can sleep better too. And, yes, about what I'm doing in my class this fall, and whether I think it's working.

And maybe I'll get to write about all of those things sometime soon. For now, being back at work--even part-time, even teaching a class for the fourth time--is hard. I'd like to say that I feel more whole and more complete interacting with older children and adults than I did while endlessly walking around the neighborhood with the twins. And in some ways I do. I love my job. I love working with teens. I love teaching writing. It's nice to see other adults and to think about the nuts and bolts of teaching. But few of my colleagues are really interested in the two small people that I'm most focused on right now. And that's isolating in a different way from being stuck at home trying to maintain a nap schedule.