Stepped out of the house to meet a poet friend tonight for dinner. She was mad (crazy) from grading papers; I was mad from wallowing in self-denigration and dust. It was good to sit under the bright lights of Bob Evans, to talk about her students, my frustrating neighbors, her Catholicism, my Anglicanism. She told me about a role playing game for which she is writing a devious character; I told her about my current practice of writing poems beginning with a first line by poets I love.
We talked about the fearful hatred we see on social media and hope that it's only those with loud mouths speaking out.
I ate soup and salad; she ate a sandwich. I drank two glasses of water; she drank three cherry Cokes ("I need the caffeine to get me through later!").
Her lightness lifted me.
Tomorrow, I'm buying a cup of coffee for a local professor I've met only once (she doesn't remember, but I have a long memory and remember every second, even the way her hand felt in mine when we shook) but who might be a good collaborator for me someday. She is bright and passionate. She's a bit more fierce than I am.
Oh, who are we kidding? Everyone in the world is more fierce than I am.
On Friday, I will go to a short Christmas concert.
On Saturday I meet with my lovely teen writers who are pushing themselves to go deeper, to sing louder, to step out of their comfort zones so that they can learn what it's like to write differently, to see the world through different filters (we've been working on "empathy" exercises, though that's not what I've been calling them).
Next week, my darling Girl comes home for holiday break. I'm embarrassed for the state of my house, things I've needed to fix for months and months, but something broken in me hasn't been able to get around to doing or calling or asking or fixing.
Between now and then, I'll do what I can and try not to feel too much shame when she sees the mess. It will be all right.
I'm on the edge of talking myself into teaching a single composition class over the summer, perhaps one in the fall. My poet friend tells me her boss would love to have me back. The thought fills me with dread, but I need the income.
I don't know how to teach; I just know how to mentor.