On Tuesday next week, winter term begins. My college operates on the quarter system, ten week courses, with day classes in two-hour blocks. For some reason,people often think the shorter term is easier to manage. Regardless of quarter or semester, after having taught at the post secondary level for fifteen years, I still find myself exhausted after each class I lead. Something in me simply cannot settle for two hours of lecture or leaving students to write in class without feedback during the process. I question, I move around the room, and I refuse to allow laziness into the session. It takes an incredible amount of energy to teach.
Writing is an equally demanding activity, not just emotionally, but intellectually as well. In the main, my antagonist tends to be the craft; I count agonizing over word choices and syntax as two of my favorite things, but many times I do start to pull my hair out when the decisions on pace and phrasing are like the children who throw tantrums in the grocery store. Tonight, my issue is with feeling — too much feeling. Writing my post yesterday on Dennis Martin consumed me, and the fear it conjured in me, the sadness, the anger simply will not abate.
What this means for me is that I will have to write a poem to free myself from some of the agony I feel. It’s difficult to admit that so much of these feelings are for myself, the part of myself that feels lost and vulnerable right now. I ask myself if it’s ethical to use someone else’s tragedy however well-intentioned. I don’t answer the question. I have to get it out.