Them: So how is everything?After briefly talking with my aunt several minutes ago, I got to thinking that whenever I speak like this, I am basically discrediting my entire existence. Why do I undervalue the minutes I live so deliberately in my life? Why do I lump all my emotions, my thoughts, my experiences, and lessons into the broad categories of work and sleep? Are the hundreds, if not thousands of thoughts, I mull over daily not worth anything?
Me: Well you know, same old same old. Just go to work come home and do it all again the next day. All in all things are good. What about you? How are things?
Them: Yeah. Same as you. Work, work, and sleep.
Sometimes when you fall into the routine of “real” life, the days may seem to run into one another, but they don’t have to. I have a friend who is currently not working and hasn’t had a job in nearly a year. He is single and currently dating as many women under 25 as he can. He seems to be living a very exciting life. He is drinking and partying, and doing drugs. He is living the life I lived a few years ago. I sometimes, as I am falling a sleep, I put myself in his shoes and ask myself if I like the feel of them. The answer I am finally realizing is no. I don’t need those things anymore to make my life exciting or meaningful. My life now is exciting and meaningful despite those things, not because of them
I guess what I am trying to say is that although my life may seem like a routine, and while I discredit my actions, by telling my aunt that my life is made up of a series of hours spent at work and the other ones sleeping, in reality, my life is quite exciting, enriching, and pretty fuckin good.
Tomorrow night, I will attend the second annual poetry reading at school. This is an event I founded last year as part of my poetry unit at school. It is the culmination of all the work my students and I have done in the last few weeks. Like last year, I have taken a group of eighth graders who a few weeks ago liked poetry as much as they liked to be punched in the face, and I have inspired them to see the world from a variety of perspectives. I have taught them how to see poetry in everyday life. I hope that one day when they are older, perhaps traveling the world or at the dinner table, they will experience an indescribable moment in their lives; they will feel the need to hold that moment and give it life, whether in poetry, or photography, or by simply appreciating the fact that they can recognize moments those and distinguish them from the other more mundane ones in their lives. They will think back and remember that I was the first one to show them this side of life. Perhaps they will remember to look at things more mindfully, and they will realize that poetry is everywhere; you simply have to allow yourself to see it. This is no small feat. This awakening of young minds is more than mere work. This is what I was meant to do. But why do I not tell my aunt this when she asks me what I am up to?
My students will also be sharing their self-published books, and they will read their work in front of their peers, parents, and other teachers. This is no small feat for a thirteen year old riddled with anxiety, but they will read with pride; they will read with confidence, and they will be lions. They will cherish the moment. They will nod and smile at me as they walk away from the podium. That night as we fall asleep, we will have poetry on the mind, and the world will never be the same because of our dreams. There will be food, music, candles, and of course magic. We have spent hours in class listening to Miles Davis talking about the magic pool of inspiration that inhabits everything we see, hear, touch, smell, and feel. Together we will be more than a group of students and teachers in a conference room on a Thursday night; we will be a group of poets basking in the glow of our collective verse.