about bliss

Thursday, September 30, 2010

daily bliss: endorphins

A two and a half mile walk through the neighborhood, orange trees reaching up into cerulean skies, brings a smile to my face.

A circuit through the weight machines and free weight area of the gym turns my arms and legs to jello.

A handful of laps in the pool leaves my eyes stinging and red.

A series of yoga poses in the warm water therapy pool washes my body in languidity.

Five minutes in the cedar lined dry sauna relaxes every tight muscle.

Recharged, relaxed, rejuvenated.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

haiku: cloud

tall and billowing
swathed with cotton and faux down
cradling me asleep

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

daily bliss: finding inspiration

Some weeks, I drown in ungraded student work, pressing committee business, and a general sense of work induced weariness.

I long to set paper to pen, fingers to keys, and create my own sentences, but by the time my other responsibilities are fulfilled, I'm exhausted.

Yesterday, I made my words a priority, and wrote a blog post I love. I wrote a journal page of "I wishes."

And I felt like a writer.

Today, I was back to harried writing professor and frazzled committee member.

After nine hours of wrangling with others' words, Gregg and I drove to a nearby town to see/hear Michael Perry, one of our favorite authors. I'm currently teaching Perry's memoir Truck, and I encouraged my students to attend, promising extra credit for a blog post on his reading. Four students attended. At the end of the reading, several of them stood in line to have their books signed and their picture taken with Perry. I caught smiles and laughter on their faces throughout Perry's 90 minute talk.

And I was inspired.

Inspired by Perry's awesome storytelling and insights into the writerly life. But moreover, inspired to see my students interested and excited enough to attend an evening event in a town 30 minutes from campus.

Words change lives.

How much I needed this reminder today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

what came first

Hold me.

I am solid.
I fit in the curve of your palm.
I am a contradiction of oppositions: fragile and strong, solitary and multitudinous.

Tap me gently, and I yield to pressure, thin walls and membranes stretching open.
Rap me decisively, and I cleave, neatly sliding out.
Crack me harshly, and I shatter into jagged shards, piercing myself.

Separate and whisk me:
I thicken into voluptuous richness
I billow and froth into airiness.

Swirl me together, whole, and I strengthen and lift.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

haiku: autumn weekend

sunshine and high clouds
miles unwind beneath my tires
driving home to home

Saturday, September 25, 2010

100 words: (bitter)sweet water sea

I'm participating in a weekly writing challenge: 100 words. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, that evoke the word. This week's word: greater.

(Bitter)Sweet Water Sea
Sand swirls and beach grasses sway along undulating dunes.
The early evening sun streaks between grey clouds, illuminating
pink salmon orange striations. Whitecapped waves build, crest,
break, roil silt, creep up the shore. Plastic chairs teeter along disappearing banks. Looking east, she sees only water, churning across the distance, far greater than the 60 miles between Michigan and Wisconin. The pier, reaching out from the harbor, calms the waves. She runs toward it, scaring up flocks of seagulls taking wing on gusts of wind. Her feet dance along the strand edges, avoiding frigid water, leading her somewhere closer to home. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

daily bliss: party prep

Tomorrow, Mom and I are hosting a bridal shower for N, soon to be my cousin's wife. Since I rolled into town this afternoon, Mom and I have shopped for supplies, strolled the beach, cooked Mexican dinner with my dad, drank slightly effervescent wine, baked two kinds of cupcakes, and made pimento cheese.


More importantly, we've chatted, laughed, and enjoyed time spent together, in the same place, which happens much too infrequently.

It's good to be home.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

daily bliss: stress relief

a stroll in the brisk autumn air

podcasts of The Splendid Table and This American Life

homemade chocolate chip walnut cookies

a silly sweet text message

reading a few pages for fun

child's pose

a chat with my mom

email from far-flung friends

not having to clean up the kitchen after cooking dinner

two new pairs of shoes

snarking with a friend

humorous malapropisms in student essays

an unexpected compliment

a colleague helping me carry my lunch to a meeting

fast, flowing pens

nerdy TV sitcoms

a soundtrack of joss stone and mindy smith and neko case

the tapping of computer keys

warm arms drawing me in for a big hug

new magazines with features on stress and simplicity

funny tweets

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

daily bliss: falling into fall

I'm munching the addictive combination of candy corn and roasted peanuts, and sulking because I missed the super harvest moon, due to a cloud-filled sky. I'm rubbing my eyes after grading essays, and stressing about all the work-related responsibilities that seem to be piling up. Falling into fall, indeed.

Sometimes it feels more like flailing.

I long for the long, lingering days of summer. I dread the short, stunted days of winter.

But I do, despite my current issues of overwhelment, love fall: crispness. Brightness.

Thin sweaters and dark jeans.

Soup and cornbread.


Happy autumnal equinox, y'all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

twd: coffee break muffins

When I discovered espresso powder years ago, my chocolate cakes and cupcakes were transformed by a richness and depth they previously lacked. There was one unfortunate incident where an espresso powder laced kahlua chocolate cheesecake kept a group of poker players up much of the night, a reminder that this magical ingredient packs a caffeinated punch. Overall, this one ingredient wields great power!

Dorie's Coffee Break Muffins include two forms of caffeinated goodness: strong brewed coffee and the aforementioned espresso powder. Besides adding layered coffee flavor, these ingredients create that same depth and richness I discovered in my chocolate treats. Only slightly sweet, this muffin would be a perfect vehicle for a layer of nutella, don't you think?

I ate my muffin after lunch yesterday, with a mug of hot vanilla green tea instead of coffee. I didn't want to go to class jittery. 

I like these muffins—they're rich, simple, and different. They're not my favorite, but I will make them again for brunches or coffee hours. 

Thank you, Rhiani, of Chocoholic Anonymous, for selecting this week's TWD recipe. Check out her blog or buy the book for the recipe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

daily bliss: twd rewind: rosy pear and pistachio tart

A few Friday nights ago, after a too-long hiatus, my wine club reconvened. This crisp evening, we sipped Rieslings from around the world, gathered around a chiminea, talked, laughed, snacked, and reconnected. Bliss. Besides a bottle of Dr. L Riesling (tasty, only slightly sweet), we brought this delectable tart, made with farmers' market pears soaked in a bottle (an entire bottle!) of shiraz.

I just love the facets here, so very jewel-like. I prepared the pears Thursday night, and allowed them to soak overnight in their poaching syrup. 

By Friday afternoon, the wine had seeped in, creating a gorgeous deep blush, and an extra-boozy flavor.

My assembled tart wasn't quite as pretty as the one in Dorie's book, partly because my pistachios had been roasted and hence lost some of their bright greenness. But I loved the layers of sweet crust, rich pistachio custard, poached pears, and candied nuts. A stunning dessert for a wonderful night. My friends deserve nothing but the best:)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

daily bliss: cookbooks

My students are reading Michael Perry's memoir Truck: A Love Story this semester. I chose Perry because he's a reasonably local author with an amazing range of vocabulary, emotion, and experience. Many of my students are, ah, infrequent readers, and I'm trying to show them that reading can be...fun.

Last week we read the second chapter, in which Perry waxes poetic about leafing through glossy seed catalogs during the cruel winter months. He also describes his collection of thirteen cookbooks in some detail.

Many students were not impressed by the detail.

They thought it was...weird.

Me? I get it.

My cookbook collection skews to the pastry arts, with a smattering of vegetarian cookbooks, and a few all-purpose tomes: Gourmet Cookbook, Bon Appetit Cookbook, a vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook like the one my mom used when I was growing up, and G's contribution: Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

On Thursday, my copy of Dorie Greenspan's latest book, Around My French Table, arrived. I settled in with a cup of coffee, and slowly turned the pages, marveling at the delicious recipes, gorgeous photos, and delightful stories.

I use cookbooks mostly as guides and inspiration, and my typical approach when cooking a new dish is to find several different recipes for it, and then create my own version, using loose measurements and relying on my senses to properly prepare the dish. Most of the time, this strategy results in tasty meals.

Cookbooks are comfort, possibility, offering up food as more than mere sustenance; rather, they show us food as craft, as companion, as love.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

100 words: lost beats

I'm participating in a weekly writing challenge: 100 words. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, that evoke the word. This week's word: jars.

Lost Beats
He emptied the closets, packing boxes and hauling them to Goodwill, saving the flannel plaid shirt that smelled of sandalwood and sweat. Sifting through books and CDs took longer; he flipped cover pages and scanned liner notes, tracing the handwritten initials. He turned pages, read marginalia, and lingered over the autographed, vintage copy of On the Road. He loaded the five disc player with music he always hated: classical, blues, jazz. He kept Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, soundtrack to their third date. He opened the pantry door, gazed at the gleaming jars of jam, his final gift, and wept.

Friday, September 17, 2010

daily bliss: friday night lights

A crisp Friday night in fall: my parents drop me off at my best friend J's house. We drive a few blocks,  join the crowds heading into the stadium, buy tickets and some snacks, and then find our favorite seats: along the perimeter where the band sits when they're not marching on the field. Under the bright lights, cheerleaders shake their pompoms, and the football players take the field. Let's go WO! The band plays the national anthem, then the school fight song, sung to the tune of "On Wisconsin":

on you panthers, on you panthers, wearing black and white/we'll defend our alma mater we will always fight you rah rah/on you panthers, on you panthers, fight on for your fame/fight panthers, fight and we will win this game!

The game begins. The band returns. We watch precious little game, instead preferring to flirt with certain trumpet players, chatting with our friend M, who plays clarinet. We make plans for after the game—gathering at J's house for Little Caesar's pizza, pop, and an intense game of running or dancing on the Nintendo power pad (circa 1991). One year, we decide to prank call a boy two of us like, and A chirps, "i want your bahhh-dee" into the phone as we dissolve into giggles.

As such behavior might suggest, my friends and I didn't attend many dances, and very few of the dress-up variety.

Oh, but some of us wanted too. Years later, when my baby brother, nine years my junior, was on the snowball court (he may have even been crowned king), I was jealous.

I longed for those taffeta dresses in bright colors with matching shoes.

After a long five hour meeting, and a coffee date with a friend, I head to the mall in search of a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding, a bridal shower gift, and a clearance rack bathing suit to wear to the gym. The few remaining bathing suits are juxtaposed against racks of wool and down coats. I select two, clearly geared towards women with body concerns, with tags proclaiming "lose 10 lbs in 10 seconds!" I locate the nearest fitting room, nestled in the junior's dress department. Early teen-aged girls laden with bright, short dresses stand in line, or pop out of the dressing room. Several moms line the wall, arms filled with rejects.

I am the same age as these moms.

As I struggle into the miraclesuit (it takes longer than 10 seconds to squeeze into the super-spandex fabric suit), I listen to the girls talk about the dresses, their voices a mingling of English and Hmong.

I peel the suit off, and reassemble my professional attire. I buy the suit.

I drive home, calling G to make dinner plans. As I pass several small-town high schools, I look for bright lights and crowds; I listen for cheering and a smart cadence. Dark and quiet, it must be an away game.

I remember moments I've forgotten: sipping scalding watery hot cocoa to warm up at those late season games, stuffing my hands in the pockets of my unzipped jacket. A heart full of longing for a boyfriend, for a date to a dance, for a pretty dress, for a glimmer of popularity. A self blessed with smart, kind, positive friends; a loving, stable, supportive family; a mind eager to absorb, learn, grow; and dreams of endless possibility.

A block away from home, I spot the bright porch light, welcoming me home. Upstairs, hot pizza and a swell guy await. I'll put on my new dress and twirl.

Friday night...so full of lights.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

daily bliss: list o' dreams

Image from the Ayurvedic Nonsurgical Facelift Massage Website

Tonight I'm inspired by G, who sent me a list of writing prompts because I'm sniffling and sleepy and...stuck. And my students, who boldly blogged about their "bucket lists." (note: i don't like that title. i prefer list o' dreams.) I offer you five things I would love to do intend to do in my lifetime:

1. become a certified yoga instructor, going through an intense, spiritually focused program, perhaps jivamukti.

2. suffer the pain and beauty of a small, tiny...tattoo (don't freak out, mom) of a lotus flower or an om symbol on the small of my back, off to the side. Or maybe both, intertwined!

3. marry the love of my life at a lake michigan beach wedding, in front of our family and friends.

4. publish a work of creative non-fiction (or fiction. or poetry. but probably creative non-fiction) in a non-academic medium.

5. attend a writing retreat, complete with small cabins and woods and water, devoid of technology and distractions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

daily bliss: kindness

It's 10:32. I'm sitting on the loveseat wrapped in my favorite fleece blanket, having just finished grading last week's blogs from two of my classes (total entries: 48). I switch to my personal blogger account on one tab, open facebook on another. I check facebook first. A colleague is challenging one of my favorite quotes on someone else's page. Something about kindness. How can you be against kindness as a philosophy? My internal reaction is anything but kind. (clearly, I need to revisit Buddhism 101). I reach for a tissue, but my timing is off, and my rhinovirus infested nose drips onto my laptop keys. I click over to blogger. Finally, my time to write after spending hours today responding to others' writing, leading them through other pieces of writing, and writing responses to explain their grades. My computer battery temporarily dies. It's time to reconnect to the power source.

Today I need that power source—that magical cord that refills the depleted energy. I want my creativity and words to spill forth on the page. I want my NaBloPoMo experience this month not to devolve into daily mediocrity. I want to work on the stories and poems shimmer in the corners of my mind. I want to be the enthusiasm for myself that I am for my students. I want to save some of that energy for these evenings at home, when G and I tap laptop keys side by side, discuss the magic of writing.

I know that once the rhinovirus departs my energy and optimism will return. But the overwhelming take home work will also return, from time to time.

How can I keep feeding my own creative writing spirit?

I will begin with kindness.

Always, be kind.

Somedays I need a reminder.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

haiku: early fall

eight o'clock darkness
dipping temperatures
clouds of foggy breath

Monday, September 13, 2010

daily bliss: summer fun

breakfast on the farm, june 2010

summerfest, june 2010

meet the parents and siblings party, june 2010

fourth of july, july 2010

beach day, july 2010

finding balance, august 2010

copper falls state park, july 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

daily bliss: football dip and desolation

Today was a special day for one half of this household: the First Football Sunday. G is a huge NFL fan (and, incidentally, a blog post of his about the Detroit Lions endeared me to him before I ever met him).

To celebrate, I made a layered Mexican dip, to be scooped up with crunchy, thick Frontera chips. The dip resembles other taco dips, but includes a few flavor enhancers. It was a small consolation for the horrible call that snatched the Lions' victory away.

Layered Mexican Dip
layer one: black beans
I saute one clove garlic, perhaps some garlic, and cumin seeds in a bit of olive oil. When they're softened, I add black beans—about a cup and a half—and, if they're homemade, their liquid. If from a can, a bit of water as necessary. Sprinkle with chipotle powder and chili powder, and mash with a fork until they're the desired consistency. Remove from heat, spread in the bottom of a glass dish, and refrigerate.

layer two: guacamole
Roast two cloves of garlic, and split one avocado. Mash the fruit with a fork, then add the garlic. Squeeze the juice of one lime or lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mash until well blended. Spread over the black beans.

layer three: sour cream
I prefer daisy light sour cream. Layer over guacamole.

layer four: cheese
Today I shredded some of the sharp cheddar I bought at the local dairy. Sprinkle over sour cream.

layer five: salsa
I often use bottled salsa, and then chunk up peppers and onion. With an abundance of farm fresh produce, I made my own pico de gallo. I diced three heirloom tomatoes, two peppers, two green onions. I chopped a handful of cilantro. I juiced one lime. I added salt and pepper. The fresh salsa was bright and fresh. Spoon over the cheese, draining off the excess liquid.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

daily bliss: remembering

Low-key, calm Saturdays are rare these days, and their infrequency makes them all the more dear. Today I read the first set of rough drafts from my writing students, and dozed on the loveseat. I rested, and watched the fog dissipate, the rain dry up, and the horizon reappear as the gloomy day lifted. A single male cardinal landed on the wet, white porch railing, a spark of heat. Later, a fat robin perched on the shed roof, alone.

On 9.11.2001, I was alone, in Alabama, 900 miles away from my family. It was at that moment that I started dreaming of a way to be closer to home. I had nightmares about national chaos, and being stranded from my family.

Today, I read Meg Cabot's story of 9.11 for the first time. I cried.

G and I shared our where were you stories. I clung to him, remembering. I clung to him, glad to not be alone, to have someone to share my daily life with.

Love. Compassion. Remembering. Peace.

Friday, September 10, 2010

100 words: compost

I'm participating in a weekly writing challenge: 100 words. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, that evoke the word. This week's word: rotten


rotten: bruised peaches dried coffee grounds blackened banana peels green grass clippings cracked egg shells twisted tree branches yellowed corn husks moldy bread spent tea bags squeezed lemons giant summer squashes horse dung carved pumpkins golden straw wrinkled apples multicolored leaves cow manure melon rinds flowering weeds sad tomatoes chicken shit blighted berries greening potatoes shredded carrots
flourishing microorganisms: fast fungi beneficial bacteria miracle microbes
turning turning turning: sifting lifting pitchforking
small scraps large pile hot core
worms: detritus digesting skin casting
feeding: rich soil prolific garden velvet lawn
transformation: making abundant life out of so much death and decay.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

daily bliss: poaching and sipping and brainstorming

Tonight, the house smells like warm sangria. I heated a bottle of Black Swan Shiraz with sugar and citrus zest, then gently simmered five farmers' market pears in the ruby liquid. Tomorrow, I'll make a pistachio pastry cream, and a sweet buttery tart crust. I'll assemble a rosy and green tinged tart, a work of art in itself, to take to wine club. We'll be drinking Riesling. Mmmm.

Now, I'm sipping tea—Margaret's Hope Darjeeling, my favorite—and mulling over a new writing project. I've been searching for a topic to write for Wake, a journal of Great Lakes thought and culture. And tonight, a topic, touching on both sides of the Lake, appeared in the way great ideas often do: in a random moment, spurred by one image or word.

I'm inspired.

And tranquil.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

daily bliss: chocolate art

Saturday morning in Paris—our last day—Grandma, K, and I stroll through the streets in the Sixth Arrondissment, searching for culinary treats to transport back home. About an hour after our breakfast at Bread and Roses, we pass Christian Constant, where fruited tarts beckon from the store windows.

We enter. We order. We enjoy.

And then, we look. The shop is filled with gorgeous tarts, and stacks of artisan, single-bean chocolate bars.

But mostly, we see the purses. And shoes. Crafted of chocolate. Created with love. Too beautiful to eat, too gorgeous to disturb. Edible aesthetics.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

twd: peanut butter crisscrosses

Oh, for a peanut studded peanut butter cookie, with a glass of milk. Or a mug of coffee. Or a cup of tea.

I love Dorie's peanut butter cookies, and have made them several times for friends or family events. The last version included chocolate chips, which made them tricky to crisscross, and also made them a bit crumbly, but the flavor combination was worth the mess.

Because this is the first almost full week of school, I didn't have time to bake them again. And apparently I didn't take any photos before packing them up for parties and gatherings when I last baked them. Ooops!

Trust me, they're delicious. And they look just like a peanut butter cookie should look: golden, sugar dusted, and inviting.

Head over to Jasmine's blog, Jasmine Cuisine, for the recipe, and for her delightful story, written in both French and English!

Monday, September 06, 2010

daily bliss: new book lust

the sample covers for Jennifer Crusie's latest novel, Maybe This Time, from her website, arghink.com

So I've been blogging everyday this month because I challenged G to a NaBloPoMo to help us both keep writing regularly as our work lives pick up. The theme this month is art, a theme that should be easy to touch on in multiple entries. G's done a fabulous job linking to the theme. Won't you check out his blog?

As for me, I have a doozy of a post in the works on techne and episteme (please don't run away. it will be interesting. and not hoity-toity academic. i promise.) But this post demands some serious writing time. And I've been re-entering the academic world, finalizing syllabi, shifting daily routines, spending time in front of the mirror deciding what to wear, all of which are preventing me from writing said post. I could pull it off tonight, except that I bought Jenny Crusie's newest novel, Maybe This Time, on Saturday, and have yet to dive in. I cannot wait any longer. The siren call of an unbroken spine, of pristine pages, of a narrative world from a favorite author yet unexplored is simply too much to resist. Ahhh, new book lust. Forever and always my weakness.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

daily bliss: floating

Summer's last hurrah...

An afternoon at the beach...

Watching kites billow and soar in the crisp September air...


Saturday, September 04, 2010

daily bliss: indian cuisine

Tonight G and I ate dinner at Sai Ram, an Indian restaurant in a nearby town. Neither of us has much experience with Indian cuisine, so we were eager to explore the four page menu. I was positively giddy reading through nearly a page of vegetarian appetizers and entrees, finally settling on potato pakora and chana masala washed down with Kingfisher beer. As I ate a forkful of basmati rice with my spicy chickpea dish, the fragrant spices triggered a memory of my high school friend A. We participated in many of the same activities—school orchestra, town youth orchestra, and olympics of the mind (yes, i was a dork. yes i am a dork still.) We never spent much time at her house, but when we did I would inhale the unfamiliar scents of curry, which lingered on our clothes after we left. She would offer sweets that seemed coated with thin, aluminum foil. Her house, though outwardly suburban and "American" was altogether exotic.

I can recall moments when I thought subtly—and not so subtly— racist thoughts, such as when she was cast in the school production of Grease and I wasn't. I cringe at such memories and want to shake my younger self. I remember A gently asking us not to give her any more Christmas ornaments, as she didn't celebrate Christmas.

As I left my rather homogenous hometown and explored a broader world inside and outside of books, I realized many things about difference, about exile, about being a stranger in a strange land. I've often thought of A, and I long to apologize for my former self and insensitivity.

Now, threads of Indian culture weave through my lifestyle, from delicious food to literature (Jhumpa Lahiri is a favorite), to the ancient spiritual practice of yoga, to my eastern based philosophies of life, love, and human interaction.

I love how food forms a tangible bridge between cultures, and how for many of us, this is the first way we fall in love with another culture. New flavors and spices, textures and sites fill our plates, bellies, minds, and, most hopefully, hearts.

My heart overflows, and I pass some of this goodwill and compassion to my friend A, wherever she is.

Friday, September 03, 2010

100 words: letting go

Letting Go

Sarah holds her son in her hands, lifting up his peach fuzz head to meet the softness of her cheek. He smells altogether familiar, yet strange. She traces the soft spots on his skull, the indentations left by an arduous labor. His eyes flutter open and closed, unaccustomed to the harsh hospital lighting. She unwraps the swaddling blanket to marvel once again at arms and legs, spindly and perfect, hunched instinctively inward, then stretching long. Her fingers circle the umbilical stub, and he begins to cry. She hugs him tightly, feeling the separation already. “I cannot get you close enough.”

I'm participating in a weekly writing challenge: 100 words. Each week, Velvet Verbosity posts a prompt, and participants write 100 words, in any form, that evoke the word. This week's word: fingers.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

daily bliss: a tale of two meals

Last night, in an attempt to ward off back-to-school butterflies, I channeled my nervous energy into creating a delicious meal of eggplant and squash parmesan, roasted romano beans, garlicky bread, and chocolate ganache topped chocolate cupcakes. I even bought a bottle of Jargon, our favorite inexpensive pinot noir, for the occasion.

Slicing, whisking, dredging, dipping, baking, frosting...the sure steady rhythms soothed me, and my meditative state created a delicious meal.

(I adapted this eggplant parmesan recipe by baking the panko encrusted slices of eggplant and patty pan squash. I also used less cheese, and three different kinds: American Grana, provolone, and fresh mozzarella.)

Tonight, in an attempt to avoid cooking after my first exhausting day of class, G and I headed to our favorite Italian deli, where we supped on marinara covered meat ravioli (G) and red pepper, onion, and artichoke pizza (me).

Sitting, chatting, sipping...the easy companionship, casual debriefing, and waitstaff service demanded just the right amount of energy.

Delicious food and delightful company eased my transition back to work:)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

daily bliss: back to school

The playground fills with girls and boys. Many of the boys play an intense ball game, while two girls walk around the perimeter in their bright dresses layered over colorful pants. A cheerful din fills the air, as I walk my usual morning path.

On facebook, many of my friends post photos of their children, carrying backpacks and clutching lunchboxes, broad smiles and bright eyes shining through the screen.

So much excitement for the first day of school.

And so, tonight I pack my bag. I stand in front of my closet, weighing my options. I review what I will say to two classes of 24 students each, eager first years most likely nervous and scared to write. I know my role: exude cheer, confidence, friendliness, and knowledge. Above all, be kind.

Many of my students don't love school. Many of them have no idea what being a college student means. Many of them need more help than I can give them. Many of them have been told they're poor writers.

Tomorrow, I will start to show them that writing—and school—can be fun.

And I will swallow my nerves, face my fears, and lead the way.

But I still wish I was a student, all dressed up in colorful clothes, brandishing bright pens and folders, ready for the whole world to unfurl before me.