Sunday, November 19, 2006

"I will dream with you

If you need me to."
-Valley of the Minds Eye, Thomas Dolby

Tonight, my body chose its own cycle, claimed back from the anxieties over last weeks' WCATY class preparations, claimed back from the hormones my birth control is attempting to use to control my body. It's an interesting battle - the moon versus a little latex ring near my cervix. All the women close to me are on the same cycle I used to be on - the one my body is still fighting to be on; it's like my uterus is anxious to stay on track with everyone.

Last Thursday, I stood in front of 20 12-13 year olds and told them it is not only acceptable but benefitting to lie in their writing, only if they are noble about it. Teaching the kids was both draining in a way the adults are, and also so much more subtly inspiring - they bent over their pen and paper again and again, and I stood there while they opened to their own magic. I am stunned, again, this time the same form, new situation, that we need teachers to lead us to our own creativity. This is what the surprise is, I guess, the surprise I have had since I have begun to teach - that it feels so inspiring, so deathly simple and yet, so essential, to sit by anyone's elbow and breath for them, convince them that they should abide their mind for 10, 20 minutes and let themselves create. It's not that I don't know that I have needed it my whole life, that I still need it, and often. It's not even that I don't know that others don't need it. It's just that - we don't need people to tell us to eat. To sleep. To breath. To breath! And it feels that essential - Natalie says again and again, "Write like your life depends on it". Now it does to me, and yet what do I do instead sometimes? I watch tv. I go for a run. I wash dishes. I worry. Any of these instead of writing.

To my students, 12-60, I give the offer that I will dream with them. Just for 2, maybe 4 hours, tops. And now that I have romance in my life, this offer is intimate again. It has an added texture to it. Added dimension. I mentioned to D. the other night that I don't feel any urgency when we are together. What I get from D. both feels essential and calm. I am not panicked, like I often was in past relationships. It feels a lot like a dream, it feels like when D. woke this morning, and had had a nightmare about Aliens and high school, and needed to just mention it. Sometimes we need to just mention it. I can't dream for my students, I can't even be in the dream with them, but I can listen when they are done. And that is a very close, worthy second for me. I know that creative writing is essential. I am grateful someone out there, many someones, know that it is, too, and take them to my classes, bus them in, make their lunches, ask to hear the results. And for my adult students, that they even allow me to take them out onto the edge of the pier, close their eyes and tell me about the stars. What a wonder. What an honor.

And for D., who will lay there with me, hands held even in sleep, tight like two children near a lake, letting the breeze fill our lungs with dreams.


  1. And those of us who do need that someone by their elbow, that breath when it's all crazy, who value your presence in hearing about the dreams ... it means so very much.

  2. Thank you so much, for being here and there, dancing waves. "Students" like you help to keep it all alive, including the non-distinction between learning and teaching, breathing and being...