Thursday, April 16, 2009

If We Could Collect All The Missing Hours

If I could just leave my body for a night
In the Flowers," Animal Collective

What haunts you? When & how? Funny how some things long removed or unthought have their odd resurgences. The other day I was feeling fatigue & an unexplainable empty-headedness. I arrived to work around 5 then took a deep breath before inserting myself into a chair. The day was like most days. I can't tell you about the weather or the temperature, or even share with you some funny remedy seen from inside a train. My eyes recorded & my brain erased or deposited the images for later use.

Sometimes, you step in & just do a job. Other times the reality of the responsibility that you have--the lessens that need to be conveyed, lessons that are applicable not just to grammar but to life- the daily interaction of communication with ourselves & others seems daunting. Sometimes you are left speechless.

For some reason when I stepped into the classroom I had a flashback of sitting in Liam Rector's classroom. Somehow, he was looming around inside me- 'though I haven't read or thought about him for quite some time. I remembered the way he challenged my classroom (first year MFA students) & most didn't respond. & then his look of disappointment. Maybe it's because I've been thinking a lot of my responsibility to others, especially my students that brought on this memory. Maybe not. I also thought about the time I passed him sloshed & sitting outside of a bar in his purple tweed suit. (When I think of Liam- he is always in this suit). I sat down and had a drink with him. We both felt like romanticized male characters from a Hemmingway or Ftizgerald story. We laughed. I left; he remained.

Now I remain & he has left. & he left behind family, students, friends-- many that were much closer to him than I ever attempted to be. This is old news. The tuxedo, the dance, the sleeping wife, the gun. Yet it has been haunting me for some reason. Something fragmented & floating in my psyche. Who knows. Today was beautiful. The student that asked if I was okay earlier in the week said I looked happy today. I said today we're going to talk about honesty & responsibility-- the ability to communicate as individuals to individuals & as individuals to communities. Cosmopolitans vs Neo-formalists.

Or what's on your mind?

You talk; I'll listen.

I've been told I'm good at that.

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