I'm becoming schizophrenic, y'all. I forget who I'm supposed to be from time to time, start using my teacher voice with my peers in the creative workshops I'm taking, find myself laughing at my kids' inappropriate jokes (when I should be schooling them on how to be respectful college students). I was commenting on my classmates' memoir essays* for poetry workshop the other day, and I caught myself marking weak thesis statements, misplaced modifiers, poor paragraph development. That's probably not the best way to be a respectful classmate, is it? Well, teaching basic writing really informs the way I read writing. And the way I write. Don't mess with Tim/Mr. Sisk when it comes to transitions and topic sentences.
Today, I've decided to take a break from all the grading and teachering to focus on getting my thoughts in order. I'm calling it my Mental Health Day, a day in which I will not respond to student emails, I will not do lesson plans, and I will not read a blessed critical essay on poetry or drama for the classes I'm taking. That's why God invented Sundays, right?
I'm going to the Greek Festival with some friends and reading around in Gregory Maguire's Wicked for fun. I'm going to wipe down my kitchen counters and make some chicken cutlets. Then wipe the counters down again. And then I might work on revising some poems, or I might just read some of the poetry collections I've been picking up from book sales and the library that I haven't had time to do much more than skim. I'm expecting all of y'all to hold me accountable.
*Memoir essay: Use an experience from your life to situate yourself in a poem you like, thereby reading it autobiographically and getting inside the poet's head to better understand the lyrical decisions she made. That way you can understand how the rhythms, line length, form, etc., works in that poet's poem and import those strategies into your own poetics. It's a wonderful assignment, probably best for advanced writers (but, you know, it might be a good way to teach beginning writers how to engage with a poem). I chose "Practicing" by Marie Howe and wrote about my first kiss. The exercise was so helpful, I plan to do it with other poems as I work on the critical introduction to my chapbook.