I feel as if I haven’t written in years. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. I haven’t written on my manuscripts in months would be more accurate. The last month of the school year has arrived and that mixed feeling of giddy exhilaration and profound sadness has eclipsed my creative efforts. I’ve continued to read and study Kress’s Characters, Emotions & Viewpoints. I’ve husbanded a fledgling student writing group at school. I’ve begun a farewell-fairy tale for some of my students whom I will miss very much, but I’ve made little or no progress on Scions; indeed, I’m near giving up on it and turning to other projects. What those other projects are, I have no clue.
Thus, I’m out of sorts and out of discipline. I am tired nearly all the time…dangerously so. I am always like this during the last four weeks of school. As an advisor for student council, my work load grows exponentially, particularly with the advent of prom (an all encompassing event at our school) and student elections. I am also a member of various committees: Leadership, Safety and APIP and each of these demands its due with year-end meetings and wrap-ups. But in the end, I am still a teacher and dazed that I still have so much to do, amazed that any one could possibly think I’ve extra time on my hands to do anything else and dismayed that what time I have left is not enough! I am also so angered by the attitude some teachers and parents in the district have who feel that after STAR testing the year is over.
“Sorry folks, but there’s still six weeks left. My seniors and sophomores need tending: their drama, their grades, their plans, their ever-shortening attention spans need attention. We have goals and your ‘all done!’ attitude is not helping.”
I have to admit however, that I am growing restive and am looking forward to the end of the year. That being said, I find I am having to command myself to concentrate, not simply on work but in order to control my growing inner sadness. I’m ready for summer to begin and to enjoy the freedom it offers me, the rest and rejuvenation, but I’m not completely ready to say “good-bye” to my charges. So much drama, so much emotion, so much time invested: some with effect, some wasted, but I will still miss the various tribes within my jurisdiction, the L.A.V.A.s, the Fairy Queens, the Heroes and the Fosterlings, with bone-soul fondness.
Ah, my L.A.V.A. poets, writers and wannabies (and those who simply want to hang out with such), especially my senior L.A.V.A.s who I just got to know just this year, I will miss you. Who would have thought that an abandoned house on Loon Lake could have brought us together so tightly. How I will miss our afternoon discussions. No web-forum will ever replace our fun filled afternoons.
Beto, my ruggedly handsome giant, foot ball player, enforcer, body-guard, and lady-killer, who would have thought you were such a deep thinker. What marvelous poet you are. The rhymes literally pour from you. Keep seeking your voice, my brother. It has so much to tell the world.
Theresa with that hilarious sense of humor you must share! You drip ideas and plots like dew. All you need to do is concentrate on one flower and I’m sure it will blossom into the story you are looking for. Forget the naysayers…go and be the writer you dream of being.
Brandi, with that goofy anime puff fob hanging from your horn-rim glasses, no one else could have sported a duct-tape prom dress so seriously, so stylishly and yet with such panache and humor. You too need to begin writing those stories down. One cannot be a Scrivener unless one scrives.
The Fairy Queens tribe are an elite crowd—almost but not quite surrogate daughters. I’ve been told I have, “…a gift for speaking girl…” I don’t know if this is true, but I was raised by women, mentored by women and have raised two women myself, so there may be some validly to the compliment.
Samantha-of-the-Eats with an appetite as voracious as she his skinny and who can wield a “pinky promise” with deadly accuracy. Thank you for your thoughtful gift at prom. It truly was the best dance I’d attended in years.
Megan-of-the-smiles who could charm the horn off a charging rino, but has too big a heart to do so—what truly happy thoughts I leave the year behind with will be your legacy. Your gift at the prom was like a life-preserver to a drowning man. Thank you.
Lasalette, my Lady-of-tears and adopted child, so brave and so heart-broken and so in love with the wrong person—may you find a man worthy of your love and may it help you realize how all the drama was really nothing more than that.
Chelsea, Thief-of-Hearts, who magically grew up right before my pride-filled eyes and stole my heart—your greetings, hugs and good-byes at the end of each class were like rejuvenating breezes on a hot day.
Gabby of the beleaguered office. Nothing like a group of loud mouthed know-it-alls who think they can do it better but don’t have the stones to step up and do something about it, to make your senior year perfect. Sheesh!—long may you live to spit in their eyes, girl-friend!
Kathryn, Touched by God, so, so eager to please, so intense, so worried, so curious—it’s time to fly, little bird. This place is too small compared to what you have to offer it. Go exploring.
And then there are The Heroes, the twitchy thoroughbreds, all on their Campbell-esque journeys, all in search of something as fledgling Jedi and Labyrinth solvers. The wounds left by your passing will eventually heal, experience has taught me this, but the rending will be particularly acute. Oh, my young heroes, the final threshold guardian is at hand and though the leaving will be as glorious for you as it will be bloody for me.
M, how I will miss your intensity and your grief—I hope you find the solace you seek, until then keep your heart dancing and dancing and dancing. It is what you do and maybe your only path to true freedom.
Tyler, my rock-and-roll godling, I will miss our afternoon conversations about music and gaming—may you find that place of creativity and performance all great musicians and poets seek. Now, go forth and slay dragons.
Tori, Lady of Horses, Basque Princess, how you have sought yourself and what a marvelous woman you have become—I wish for you Andalusian dreams and equine realities…I know a Basque princeling awaits you (one taste of your amazing molasses cookies and he will be yours forever!).
Last, but no least, are The Fosterlings, those who have worked their way under my skin and into my deepest heart despite my best defenses. Of these I can hardly write for the huge lump in my throat.
Santiago, student for two years and Teachers Aid par excellence for three, how am I to keep my classroom going without you to set me straight each morning? You know my curriculum better than I do and I have no doubt you could teach it with greater results. Each day for four years we have greeted each other and set the tone for the day. I can hardly set my mind to even wonder what it will be like next year when I walk into my morning classroom devoid of you and your calming presence. You are one of those rare students with whom I’m sure I would have been friends with even if we had met under other circumstances. You have been a true student-friend to me and I will never forget you.
Mary, Mary, Mary…hardest and must frustrating of all, how deeply you are entrenched in my heart. I have not allowed a student so far in since Marcus died fifteen years ago. This has been made all the more painful by your butterfly tendencies. How many of us have you gone through as new confidants and mentors each year, reaping our pollen only to fly to the next flower at the turn of the year? Nonetheless, and though visited less often, I can hardly calculate the void you will leave behind after next Thursday. The thought is a hot stone taken from the fire. You have been a daughter, a source of strength and love, a protégé, my padowan learner and student-friend. Words choke and I can hardly express how important your presence has become to my daily life, but I recognize my role as Gate-Keeper and Threshold Guardian has come to an end. It is time once again to leave.
I truly love you all, my students, my charges, my children. I will miss you all with happy sorrow. Go and do wonderful things. Let no one stop you. Give the nay-sayers not even the time of day, for no one knows the future. Go create it. Some of you will come back to visit and I encourage you to do so, but only that you might see and feel how you have outgrown this place. It will be different and awkward. You will have changed. It will no feel right. You will be eager to leave and that will be good, because you have so much to do…out there, forward, not backward to me.
As for myself? The inspiring seas are rough at this point and my muse, though not completely silent, is more than understanding as she sits to the left of the helm patiently watching me pilot these last few rocky days. I look forward to docking two weeks from now, debarking with her on my arm, and finding a local tavern host her to a meaty steak full of red juices, inspiration and ideas for a summer manuscript. We’ll discuss the next stage of our journey: CampNaNo One? CampNaNo Two? Scions? Kevodran? Mary MacLeod? Marchers? A book of poems? Memoir? Or something entirely different?
I can hardly wait.