Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Teacher Man

I heard a few excerpts from Frank McCourt speaking in Raleigh recently . . . he's been making the rounds plugging his new book Teacher Man, about his thirty-year career as a high school English teacher in an underprivileged neighborhood in New York. One bit that caught my attention was his description of the peak moments in teaching . . . it wasn't quite what I expected, those moments when an individual comes to you and thanks you for what he's gotten. Instead, it was about what Rose would have called Rapport -- a moment when everybody is thinking the same thoughts, discovering something Real and True for the first time, all together. "It was like God Himself had revealed himself in a brilliant light..."

Equally telling was the fact that teaching was hard, hard, hard . . . for every story of a kid that one might have helped, there seemed to be three stories about kids that one couldn't help, who in spite of all the dedication and love and "magic" still are undone by their circumstances. And every single one of those stories of downfall began with "he had a hard time at home."


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