Recently, it occurred to me that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. Funny that I didn’t know this until now since I’ve been adjuncting (yes, that’s a verb; catch up, Oxford Dictionary) for oh, I don’t know, about 15 years now. How is it possible that I’m only now realizing this?
Somehow I became convinced that teaching was not quite serious enough for my life’s calling. Someone else’s maybe, sure. Nothing wrong with being a teacher. In fact, teachers have always been my favorite people. I love teachers. Keep reading; maybe I’ll convince you. It’s just that my life had bigger designs. I should be a Supreme Court justice. A scientist. A Peace Corps activist.
From what source did this notion come? How, for example, could I forget that as a child, my favorite fantasy was to pretend school. You, little sister, be the pupil. And you, little neighbor friend. And you. Now sit straight and raise your hands before asking a question. And yes, I’ll be the teacher. Naturally. Who else? I’ll be the one who writes on the chalkboard. I’ll be the one who scours the encyclopedia for little-known facts about seahorses (did you know that the male seahorse gestates its offspring, not the female? Bet you didn’t know that). I’ll be the one who watches Big Blue Marble and ponders who else is out there, somewhere across this vast planet of ours, all those different languages we speak and all the different foods we eat, clothes we wear, all those ways we live so differently, and yet we’re not really; are we? Do you understand? I’ll be the one who hands out the paint supplies and the jars of glue and helps you fold a neat edge on your craft projects. I’ll be the one to direct you to consult the dictionary when you don’t know how to spell a word.
That was me. (Or rather, that was I). My sister hated me, of course.
Lately, I’ve taken to calling myself part cheerleader, part gargyle. Find out why in my new essay “Courting the Gargoyle” at Change Seven.
My poem “Bailing Hay by Headlight” has just posted at Pine Hills Review, a really fine journal put out by Daniel Nester and the MFA program at The College of St. Rose. Please make your way over and have a read, and if you’re so inclined, share with others. Thanks much. Hope you enjoy.
My co-editor Antonios Maltezos and I are launching a new column, which we’ll share at Change Seven Magazine. The column is Change: The Subject. Look for it in our menu. The first essay is from yours truly. You’ll find it here: Swimming Alone.
As disturbing as the novel Lolita is, I cannot deny it’s one of the most beautifully penned and complicated love stories I’ve ever read. Today, I just discovered, is National Kissing Day. At least, I think it is. There appear to be a couple of days honoring kissing, and that’s beautiful. Keep calm and kiss on.
Here’s one of my favorite passages from a book that you really have to read to appreciate.
That Nabokov sure could write a humdinger of a kiss, couldn’t he?
In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall. She trembled and twitched as I kissed the corner of her parted lips and the hot lobe of her ear. A cluster of stars palely glowed above us between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own. Her legs, her lovely live legs, were not too close together, and when my hand located what it sought, a dreamy and eerie expression, half-pleasure, half-pain, came over those childish features. She sat a little higher than I, and whenever in her solitary ecstasy she was led to kiss me, her head would bend with a sleepy, soft, drooping movement that was almost woeful, and her bare knees caught and compressed my wrist, and slackened again; and her quivering mouth, distorted by the acridity of some mysterious potion, with a sibilant intake of breath came near to my face. She would try to relieve the pain of love by first roughly rubbing her dry lips against mine; then my darling would draw away with a nervous toss of her hair, and then again come darkly near and let me feed on her open mouth, while with a generosity that was ready to offer her everything, my heart, my throat, my entrails, I gave her to hold in her awkward fist the scepter of my passion.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita