April 20, 2016

Everything is Fiction

My night after I got home and put the kids to bed and did some prep work for my classes tomorrow, included a healthy dose of self-induced rage absorption as I followed a twitter link to an ignorant racist clip of Bill O’reilly spouting off about how black people are too stupid, crude and entitled to ever be successful in the American Capitalism model. It actually raised my anger threshold to “white-knuckle,” and subsequently put me in a pretty toxic mood. Which was ironic since I had a pretty great day at school working with students learning to read non-fiction about topics as diverse as the creation of the universe, Columbine, the possibility of life on other planets, the effects of eating meat, and the Salem witch trials as an example of how society treats women it doesn’t know what to do with.

Did I mention I teach grade 8?

I grabbed a glass of wine and watched an episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to help alleviate my fury. And now here I am. Sufjan again. This time Wednesday night. The days are a blur again as I plan and teach and meet and think and write and rest and speak and watch and give and take and carry on and on.

The cool part, or the weird part or the irony or whatever you want to call it, is that my classroom during the time I actually teach kids is the place and time that I am the least tired, the most focused and the most present. The blur happens outside and around those times. The planning meetings, the lunch time breaks, the after school chores, the taxi rides home- this is what adds up to make the blur. But the core. The center holds.

the things you love are contagious:
tend them with care,
prepare them for others.
the more you give away
the more you’ll grow.

Remembering the days in Central Park. Sundays with the hats and the sunglasses. Bottles of wine and hungover snacks. Anja would bring her chihuahua and Ari the frisbee. I laid in the sun with my shirt off, mildly aware that I might be deemed too skinny, but my skin was tan and I had forceful eyes and that had always been enough. The people of the city sprawled on the great lawns, reminiscing about the previous night’s adventures in the alleyways and bridges. Teachers, actors, designers, waiters and financial planners- all we had in common was the privilege of wasting a day in reverie.

everything is fiction
and you’d do well
to believe every word of it.


  1. How old are 8 graders in your country?
    And where are these quotes from? I can't find them.

    1. These 8th graders are 13 and 14.

      The quotes came from my brain and you found them here.

    2. Thank you. I really googled them, I wanted to listen to those songs...;)