Sunday, August 24, 2008

Because it's too late at night and I have too many lists

I do more than a few things to make a living. Mainly, I’m a counselor. In a high school. I teach English too. Sometimes I teach creative writing in an after school program. I also wrote a book. And, well, I guess I can say I write books. In the present tense. This week all of these things I do have been crashing together as I prepare to start a new school year at a new school and try to keep to a writing schedule. I spent four days in western Massachusetts last week, studying the theories and practices of a particular very familiar institute and it made me think (intensely, like it is two a.m. and I can’t sleep kind of think) about the way we build writing into our lives. In all of the things I do for a living writing is central. I do it not only to tell the stories that come to me at two a.m. but also to re-imagine the stories I pass on the street and bump into on the subway platform. I do it as therapy. I do it as a way of understanding myself, I teach it as a way of asking questions of yourself. I teach it as a way of understanding texts and making comparisons and digging out new ideas and explaining why you love or hate something. I do it because I can’t sleep and putting together the words to understand why makes my muscles relax and my brain slow slow slow down. I do it because something I’ve learned is that the stories people tell are the way we see the world. So all of these things I do, which sometimes seem to tumble and bang into each other, are actually inherently tied together by this truly simply act.

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