Friday, January 30, 2009

My computer popped a gasket on Monday—as if the heat of this latest book I was going great guns on made it blow a fuse—and so for the past four days I’ve been laptopless. I’ve felt as though some one tied my right arm behind my back. Even though C generously offered the loan of his Apple while he was at work, I couldn't make the adjustment. Thank God the wizards at the computer fix-it store restored the motherboard to health (don't you love that word? Motherboard...)

Meanwhile, I‘ve been a freeway warrior, driving out to far-flung school districts (far-flung from Oakland, anyway) coaching students in preparation for the Poetry Out Loud competitions. It’s been an unexpectedly moving experience. The students have been diverse in every way—racially, culturally, geographically, and in their public speaking confidence and understanding of the poems. I’ve been touched by how much they’re into this, whether it’s because it’s a competition, or just because memorizing a poem lets you own it so much more deeply, but many of them have told me they love “their” poems, and they light up when extra layers of them get revealed through the coaching process.

I get to enjoy discovering or re-discovering great poems that are on the POL web site ( and also exercise my latent theatre teacher instincts. It's great to encourage shy students to straighten up, make eye contact and come alive in their expression. A fair amount of the students have accents, and they are the most moving of all to me.

And my class at Writing Salon started—a full complement of 13 students. So I feel like I’m back in the teaching saddle again.

The laptop blow-out means I’ll miss the January 31 deadlines I was hoping to make for the completion of this ms., but that’s probably a good thing—had I managed to rush out enough pages by then, they would have been premature. Now I have to get my momentum back. But for the moment, C is working on the in-law again and I promised ravioli for dinner.

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