Hi. I’m eddie. I’m a teacher that has always identified as a failed writer who identifies as a failed romantic who identifies with everything I’m not as opposed to what I am. I am eddie and I’m a teacher and this will be my last entry in the everyday blog thing for work.
I actually started this post early on in the challenge. I mean it’s kind of like a time machine just sitting here typing and knowing this will be the start to my final post which won’t be completed or published until the end which is still a ways away. I will edit and revise and add as I go. I planned it. That’s what we teach, right? I know me. I have upwards of 50 notebooks or so that have remained and are filled with thousands of poems spanning at least 2 decades and maybe 1 percent of those lines have ever been edited. I’m a first draft, first thought, pure emotion kind of weirdo writer. Or I’m lazy. Whatever.
That said, I do think writing is important so once i started i took this seriously. Yes, we ask the kids to edit and revise and plan. We ask them to reflect, which I did throughout and blogged about it in my penultimate post yesterday (again, weird time machine moment). We also ask them to trust us when we tell them that writing is important. So i write with honesty and i try to make it good. Just like because we ask them to believe when we say that reading is important, we read and we tell them, in honesty, that since we were their age we have, at all times, had at least one book going – no AR points on the line or tests to take. In short (ha) I would never promote anything which I do not practice or ascribe to.
I get that anyone who read more than one of my posts might be getting a bipolar vibe. I get it. I just don’t know any other way to write. I respect the medium too much to put falsehoods on the page. I do lots of texting with people and am amazed at how good people are at it. Seriously. I’ve had hours long text conversations with people. Like, lots of times. I can’t do brevity and my fat thumbs are stupid. So even when I have something super clever to say in such a conversation and those clever somethings come, for once, lightning quick so you sound all witty and junk, it still seems like a comeback to a burn way too late. Because the clever response is way too long and takes way too long to be translated from my brain through my dumb thumbs to the little buttons. It literally goes to outer space after I finally hit send and gets beamed back to earth in the same amount of time that it popped into my head but you’d never know. So yes, I am, and have been, emotionally all over the place and very long winded and I am aware of all of this. It’s just me. The fact that I didn’t filter for audience is in no way disrespect to you, the reader, it is more my respect for writing in general.
Looking back, I took this slice challenge and basically outlined myself within the context of my daily life. Most of my stories are in here, and all my things. That’s always been me: for whatever reason I use things I am into, my favorite everythings and such, to define myself. That went from my always finding ways to change up my school uniforms to be unique, to an unparalleled movie film and rock concert t-shirt collection, to tattoos nowadays which are either quotes from art I like or writings/drawing by the people I love, now forever emblazoned on my skin summing up and defining my essence. Or something like that. So in reflecting on what I’ve written for this challenge I feel like I pretty much nutshelled myself like t shirts or tattoos do. Explored, traced, and defined my parameters as it were. At least some of them. Maybe most of them.
I am also thinking at least one or two people clicked on one of my things and thought “TMI much, buddy? That is not what this thing is supposed to be!” And for a while there early on I think that bugged me slightly, this being my first time doing this. Again, what I did know is that this was writing. Based in writing. I teach writing, I write, I believe in the power of writing almost as much as I believe in the power of love despite the fact that both have failed me (or I them) more spectacularly than anything else in my life. I don’t just wear my heart on my sleeve usually. I am aware of this too. My shirts are all made of thousand count sacred hearts and are made holy by sharp twisted thorns and crispy by burning eternal flames of angst and remorse and indecision, and which are stained and dripping from wrung out strung out bloodletting.
But that’s writing to me. It’s what I say when I interrupt what Lucy Calkins says I should be saying because I see no passion in the ten year olds I’m trying to turn into Whitman or Plath. I tell these children that I want them to bleed on those pages. That this, what they’re doing, this…writing, is important. That giving voice to their hearts and minds is a tool unrivaled in this or any society. That the exorcising catharsis of a tear stained sheet of loose leaf at ten can mean the difference between being stuck at meaningless, soul-crushing 9 – 5 and ruling the the whole damn world at forty. That what they spend their time writing should reflect as perfectly as possible the clouded fractured hide and seek fluidity which comprises their inner experiential awarenesses at a stage in life where everything is changing and incomprehensible sometimes from one day to another, so they can develop some sense of who they are were and will be one day.
I approached this as a writer and as a teacher of the writers I want to produce. Be brave in your weakness in the hopes that you may one day write it out of existence by virtue of the bravery you are creating in admitting and exposing it. This includes understanding others will see your vulnerability and may judge you. Let them and move on. Write your truth always and maybe one of those who would look down on you will instead be the one with the key and ability to make you use it to unlock answers to those questions that constantly lead you astray. Or maybe your problems are those only conquered by going it alone on sometimes Quixotic journeys, madness and struggle and virtue and truth – write that stuff out too. Explore the corners you think are too scary even for the dimmest flashlight and work your way up to knocking down the walls which leave them in shadow. That, what I tell my kids, is what writing can do. Should do.
And so with all that in mind, yes, I wrote personally about various sadnesses I’ve been encountering and trying to handle. For some, including me at times, it seemed like that’s all I focused on: Her. Not being adult enough for this or that. Struggling with kids/students. Her. Money problems. Unfair systems of the world. Her. Negotiating with my own qualms and demons. Her. Loneliness solitude and isolation. Her. The past, the future. Stuff like that. But in honesty those were things on my mind this month while the thing was happening and guess what? They are a part of life. I spent my worst years compartmentalizing. Thinking that life had to be just one thing at a time or at least one general flavor and if that one thing didn’t taste/feel happy or secure or even understandable then I was screwed and had to do something rightthisverysecond to “fix” it.
But that’s not life, is it? I slice of life wrote about life. My life. And what I know now that allows me to carry on even through very rough months like this is that life is all of those things. Loss, happiness, confusion, trepidation, worry, angst, joy, connection, rebirth, renewal, fear, loathing, self doubt, struggles, accidents, uncontrollable variables, failure, breakthroughs, despair, longing, regret, triumph, giddiness, wistfulness, humbling bigness, microscopic pick me ups, and like 4 other things. You just ride it out and control what you can which includes how you handle what you cannot. And sometimes you will suck at all of that and know it and it will be hard. So what? That’s just how that day or moment or year went. So what? Life is still here and still capable of being all of those things on the head of a needle which is your lifetime compared to everything else so suck it up, buttercup.
Yes I am an island. I have bridges burnt and bridges that used to reach but don’t including those dismantled by me and those by others and some very important ones by those who have nothing to do with the island chain save for a very inflated sense of self importance and blindness toward all else. Some burnt bridge smells still suffocate me when I look upon them and some look better charred. Some bridges that connect my island to others are shifty and precarious and only traversed when necessary for purposes of danger or need. I look and look for realtors magic enough to relocate me but have resigned myself this late in the game to island life, finding satisfaction in the fact that while my kids may not always want to visit I can hold out hope that they will and know it will be enough.
But I still think the best means for movement, for change, for redemption – is writing. If I have a golden ticket that is it. With my brain and my heart and my words I still believe 100% that I can find my way back. That I have used those same transformative machines to become what is needed for success eventually or at least that I will die trying. I know that I know what I want and will settle for nothing less than exactly that and that I can remain in this transitory state forever if need be until such machinations allow for the finding of the gold at the end of this messed up rainbow I so solemnly bow before. I will rebuild that bridge and it will grow and evolve until islands are no longer separate entities but a rejoined summation of all that is supposed to be. I got this.
Thank you for reading, thank you for creating, thank you for just being.
“Words defy the plan
When I can, I will
Fool enough to almost be it
Cool enough to not quite see it
Old enough to always feel this
Always old, I’ll always feel this
No more promise no more sorrow
No longer will I follow
Can anybody hear me?
I just want to be me
When I can, I will
Try to understand
That when I can, I will”
So it goes.