As I take attendance, my voice rolls out just like my high school theatre teacher taught me.
“Enunciate to the back row,” I can hear her booming in her high, clear voice. That voice still rattles around in my head, reminding me how to project and how to capture the attention of a room.
Unfortunately, the buzzing in the classroom muffles the sound of students announcing their presence. Sounds do not carry well in this room. Some of the ceiling tiles are missing, and there are enough layers of paint on the windows to make opening them an Olympic feat–a feat I attempt every day to atone for the lack of air conditioning. My work blouses are always cotton, with breathability a priority.
The level of my voice not encouraging the students to stop their chatter, I try another tack, waiting a bit before tapping my pencil and asking the rumbling classroom for silence once more. My voice lowers another octave, a trick that worked last week.
Then I just stand there at the podium, staring at them.
Eventually, they begin shushing each other, my favorite students leading the charge against useless prattle. Silence achieved. I can begin teaching for at least another fifteen minutes before the cycle repeats itself.
I sit at the computer for a few minutes after the dishes have been washed, a Word document facing me. It mocks me with its blank stare. The words don’t come.
It’s okay. After no more than two minutes, I return to the stack of blue books on the coffee table, picking up the red pen, my favorite one with the smooth rollerball. The stack never seems to shrink, and the hours pass so quickly I hardly notice them. Teaching others to write has become the priority.
The email is long-winded and takes roundabout ways to get to its point, but the point is: I am upset that my grade is so low. I sigh. Checking email on Sunday morning is a mistake. Now I have to respond to this student, explain why not doing the classwork and not revising papers for errors results in less-than stellar grades. I put together a breakdown of the student’s grade, black and white facts that cannot be argued against. The numbers don’t lie.
The stack of ungraded papers has grown, and I carry it around with me now, grading one now and again between appointments, while tonight’s chicken browns in the oven, after I scarf some down and answer a few more student emails addressing end of the semester panic.
Word sits unopened on my desktop, the cheerful blue “W” mocking me with an invitation I can’t accept.
Another student has written an entire paper without using the correct verb tense once, and my heart sinks as my red pen bruises the paper.
Later that Night
Since I have been working for only ten hours, I open the computer. I have a few minutes to myself, and I am not exhausted to the point of wanting to drop.
I think it’s going to be hard after such a long absence, but it’s not. The words pour out of me like water through a sieve, like rain from the sky.
“Another student has written an entire paper without using the correct verb tense once” — that’s crazy-making! I have mad respect for you for not returning that paper in tiny pieces in a plastic bag.
And welcome back! 🙂
Suzanne recently posted…Literary Device Resurrection
Samantha Brinn Merel
Welcome back! So happy to read your words again.
Don’t you wish that for just one week, you could do nothing but write? I actually took a vacation and devoted time to write. I cleaned the condo, took walks, stared out the window. There was too much time in front of me. Take those moments to write. We love your words.
William Dameron recently posted…The Martin Guitar
Hang in there!! Summer is where we can find our “me” time again. 🙂
I was so glad to see your post! Real life is something of a damper sometimes but in a silver lining you at least have your priorities in order. Your words flowed beautifully and there will be time for more soon, I’m sure.
Sandy Ramsey recently posted…Interview With an Introvert
I love, love, love this. I struggle with having official Time to Write. I found it only worked on my WIP, but anything new or a blog post, I had to do spur of the moment. But once I got into a habit of 5am is Book Time, I started being able to write on demand better. Anyway, this was a wonderful post.
Michelle Longo recently posted…Better Way Love – A Review
Reading this puts my own struggle into perspective. I am in awe of anyone who manages a demanding job and has anything left (energetically or intellectually) for writing. You are a hero!
Nancy Lowell recently posted…Spring, Maybe
Good to see you again. 🙂
Tabatha recently posted…My Awkward and Official Foray Into (Feminist?) Fashion Blogging.
Such a Catch-22, working and writing. Since I started selling houses again I have no time either. Michelle has got it right – carve out a tiny bit of time just to write!
Beduwen recently posted…Spiritual Painting – Art Therapy
I hope some day those students will appreciate your dedication to helping them be better writers.
Cyn K recently posted…shame with a side of fries
Sometimes the time and the words find you. I’m glad they did.
I get the whole concept of writing daily, of the discipline, but most of the time I find it works much better to let the words come when they will. Exactly as you describe it in that wonderfully poetic final line.
Silverleaf recently posted…Ancestral Migration