Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The End of the Semester Cometh!

Scott describes it this way: When the semester starts, Candy gets into a submarine and submerges, and occasionally comes up for provisions. This is exactly right.

I have two more weeks of class, then a few days to breathe, then a pile of final papers lands on me like a cement truck dropped onto an inchworm.

My plan for just after turning in my grades: 5 days of full blast slothery. I'm going to watch movies, read books, roll on the floor with my legs kicking in the air like a cockroach, and ignore everything to do with teaching. My students will dissolve into an Icelandic mist of angst and float to their hometowns.

One problem with summer is that each time it comes along, I delude myself into making an ungodly impossible list of things to do. Everybody I know who teaches does this. We see the summer as a vast, beautiful Utopia that will allow us to become everything we've ever dreamed of becoming. We will be unrecognizable when school starts in the fall. The extra few pounds will have fallen off like an ugly banana peel that's been hiding our true, thin selves. We'll devour every single book on our reading lists, both reading lists (the one for fun and the one for teaching), we'll write so much that we'll be sending out fifteen separate manuscripts in September, we'll have long, meaningful dinners and talks with each of the (formerly) good friends we've been forced to neglect while trying to keep our heads above the academic water. We'll pray and meditate so faithfully that it'll feel as though God lives just down the block. Oh, and we'll visit all family members, finally unpack the 100 or so boxes in the garage, and have crazed rabbit sex with our spouse until we surface again from our dazzled, happy, serene, nirvana state at the bitter, horrifying end of August.

I'm not getting fooled this time. I'm not falling for the bullshit list that makes me feel like a a bat turd on a cracker when the summer is gone. I've done this to myself over and over. I'm picking two things to focus on. OK, three.

1. Writing. My goal for the summer is to finish a first draft of the book I'm working on (I gotta long way to go).

2. Dropping the hideously bad habits I've picked up. These are the same habits I pick up at the end of every school year:

a. Going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning and dragging myself out to teach the next day.
b. Giving in almost fully to my chocolate cravings. Almost fully. If I gave in fully, I'd be wearing a muumuu and daydreaming about being able to cut my own toenails.
c. Filling the house with stacks of papers. Graded papers, papers that need to be graded, poems I've found online and printed out, stories that current and past students have given me to read, my own writing, class plans, lecture notes, old TV guides, missing electric bills, etc. I become a schizophrenic little bird who is trying to nest all over the house at one time.

3. Spend lots of time with my family.

And that's it. That's plenty. I will pray for help in focusing because I suck more and more at that. I need a personal coach who follows me around with a whistle and orders me to the next task. And while we're at it, a personal masseuse, a personal trainer, a personal organizer, and so on.

In the meantime, full steam ahead for two weeks. Periscope down.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Springtime, Beauty, and Sorrow

I've been insanely busy with school, and also trying to emotionally process a loss.

On April 5th, one of my poetry workshop students died of a drug overdose, either accidental or intentional. He was wildly intelligent, funny, good looking, and a magnificent writer. He was 22. He had just lost his dad 6 months ago, and he was an only child. I don't even know how you go on if you are his mom.

The final poem that he turned in for class (on March 31st) is below. I've read it so many times I almost have it memorized. Among all the beauty around me, all the purple blossoming trees and all the crazy-bright flowers, I keep hoping that where he is now, is even more beautiful. And that his dad was waiting to embrace him.

Rest in peace, Ryan.


if he or she
or it
is quiet

a few months ago
i knelt beside my bed
and for the first time
in a very long time
began to pray

despite years of
and doubt

i knelt there
at the bottom of the lowest of my worst



my pride a dead horse
and beaten
and beaten

so I folded both hands
and eyes shut
head down
knees to the ground
mumbled a few brief breaths
to who or what I am still unsure

though I may be thought a fool
you know what?

it felt good

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!!v=7ltcWcwnPfY&feature=channel

This has nothing to do with Easter. It just makes me laugh, even more than the last one.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Busy with Work. Here's one of my favorite videos.