Saturday, August 22, 2020


I don't think I can express to you, dear Reader, how grateful I am to have a job teaching and how much I love my students and the place where I work. I teach at a school that uses a one-to-one model, and we went virtual back in March after a week or so of Windexing our rooms and wiping down surfaces to ward off the beginnings of the plague. Sigh.

That seems like forever ago. It was forever ago. The transition to virtual was virtually seamless, to tell you the truth, and while I miss seeing my students and colleagues in person, and Zoom can be exhausting in a weird way,  teaching English literature is doable. I had only a few students all summer long, but the fall term is picking up, and next week I have a nearly full schedule with about 12 students. They range from a darling sixth grade Language Arts guy who bounced up and down all through our fifty minutes together, to a young woman and young man in their last semesters of 12th grade English. I'm also what we call a Tutor/Mentor to a couple of students who struggle with reading. Each student is like a miracle, to tell you the truth. They show up on this weird platform and we work together to learn about literature and writing and life. I am encouraged by their and my own sons' general resilience to #weird world. The term ahead has Catcher in the Rye, Macbeth, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Anne Sexton, Little Women, The Laramie Project, Anne of Green Gables, Out of the Dust, Roald Dahl, Flannery O'Connor and so forth. There's really nothing better than back-to-school for geeks like myself.

In other news, I've been doing a little bit of art these days. I've taken a couple of Zoom classes and dabbled a bit in a handmade book with collage, via an old blogger friend of mine, Suzy Banks Baum. I also ordered an embroidery kit.

This morning, I spent an hour doing paper cut-outs, Matisse style, via Zoom and the London School of Drawing. The instructor even had a jazz playlist on Spotify for us to listen to, and damn if it wasn't the best hour of quarantine that I might have spent.

I feel somewhat at peace of late due to meditation, I guess, and turning things over to a higher power. Just kidding on the higher power. Sort of. Things had gotten so bad that I sort of broke into my higher absurd dark-humored self. Or she came around again after taking a hiatus. Praise Jesus. Even today, for instance. I've been feeling covidy lately, so this afternoon I made an appointment and went for a test. I paid big bucks to stand under a tent with a guy in full PPE who handed me a swab and told me to first cough hard a few times into my mask and then wipe the swab on the inside of both cheeks and on both tonsils. You'll know you've gotten the tonsils when you gag, he said. I then dropped the swab into a test tube and went on my less than merry way. I'll find out by midnight tonight. I don't mean to be glib. It's hot as shit here and northern California is burning. There are people in Terrible America who believe the virus is a hoax, and there are people I love who still support Dear Leader. There are, quite obviously, two Americas and who knows what will happen? I'm struck by the ease with which I got a Covid test, by how much it cost and by how quick the results come in when you have the money to pay. This is not right. This is totally fucked up. But like I said, I'm feeling more at peace these days having surrendered in a small way to all the fuckery in my own world and the outer world. We can only live in the now, as they say.


  1. I can imagine you teaching. How lucky your students are. Art if the most therapeutic thing. Reading is the most therapeutic thing. And I love watering my 17 house plants. Still writing, but ..... I don't know... it's such a painstaking process. I hope you feel well soon. And that the fires go out. xo

  2. I had one teacher like you. She loved books, literature, reading. She was passionate and it showed. Your students are lucky to have you.

    The fact that people have to pay for a COVID test is reprephensible. I hope it comes back negative.

    Stay safe my friend.

  3. I forgot to say I love the photo. Five kids on the roof of the school house and nobody is worried:)

  4. What ARE those children doing on the roof? Two of them look to be babies.
    I am sure that your students love you and through you will love language. There is little better than that.
    It appears to me that you have chosen some of the best and most creative ways to deal with these times. Art and craft art and music and meditation - these are all true remedies for the illnesses which we are surrounded by.
    I hope your test was negative, negative, negative.

  5. When I look at that Vintage Photo of small School Kids up on a roof with the Adult totally okay with that I'm reminded of how different things now are about Child Safety. I know some Old Timers that tell me stories of their Childhood that would be shocking by Modern Standards, driving when they were Six {Rural Roads, but still!}... working dangerous jobs as very Young Tweens! As for the fuckery, I'm still trying to come to a Peace with myself about it all, I struggle to still. Who has the Money to, will always dictate the quality of Health Care, Education, Opportunity and Treatment, it's always been that way, perhaps it always will be.

  6. Your English literature job sounds totally fun. I'm glad you enjoy it and your students too. Needless to say I hope the Covid test is negative. I think a certain amount of surrender is required, but a certain amount of fight is required too. Balancing the two is the challenge!

  7. I love what you do - reading and art and teaching. My hopes are for your negative test result.

  8. That reading list sounds so dreamy. This was the first year that I didn't take my girls to a bookstore on the last day of school to pick a summer read. Back in July, when we had a scare and got tested, we sat in a car and swabbed our own nostrils, three times each. I can't help but wish there was a bit more consistency between all these tests, though I get it. They're different kinds. I admire your ability to surrender to the fuckery. I'll try to do so as well.

  9. I love that you are an English teacher. My English and Art teachers were my favorites. In HS, my 10th grade English teacher has us all come to school dressed in Elizabethan clothes. Early cosplay!! Shakespearean style.

    I worry so for California and the fires and the people and the critters. XXXXXX

  10. You seem to be conquering weird world with creativity and grace. Having work you enjoy that you also can do from home is a gift. I am glad the teaching English is fulfilling for you. The art class sounds amazing, your shapes beautiful and fluid.