Tuesday, December 30, 2008

year-end catch up

it's been so long since i've blogged -- over a month -- that i'm not sure i remember how to do it anymore. and i'm not sure what to write about, so many ideas have come and gone.

i was going to write about post-course tristesse, that sense of loss and desire i still experience when i watch my students write their final exam. i look at each serious head, bent to the ruled booklet, and wonder exactly what will become of katie the nurse, or johnny the class clown (what's he hiding? when he does finally take himself seriously, how painful will it be?). i look at hac, who's spoken english for under ten years yet wants to write like the BBC commentators he reads online: could i have spent just a bit more time with him in my office, talking writing? over in the theory class, i'm still marveling at the single mom who brought her 8-year-old to exposure's trans day of remembrance, thrilled at the varsity hockey player whose world was blown wide open by eli clare's gender ambiguity -- gender wealth? -- and curious as to what motivates alex, the quiet military guy who didn't miss a trick all year. i watch them write and i think, hard, about who they seem to be now and who they might become, and hope that what i've been able to offer these past few months is enough. in this way, teaching is painful, and it only becomes more poignant by realizing, as i have this year, that so much of what's just happened will be forgot -- by them, by me....

i was also going to write about more generally about what it was like to be back in the classroom after so many years away -- i loved it, obviously -- but also what a mysterious thing it is to learn something, by which i mean: i know that i am different from two or three years ago, but the difference is so evanescent that i can't really pin it down. i think differently, something like that. and so, yeah, i get tired, but i don't (can't?) work beyond my limits any longer. i was savaged on the dep't listserv, and just moved on. i was flattered, no doubt, to be nominated by my students for a teaching award, but it didn't serve as a measure of my sense of worth. a therapist might say i make better decisions now, but as usual the decision-making process is so habitual and, well, quick that it never feels like you're sitting at the table saying no to the day's special in favour of the tried and true.

christmas has been really good, one of the best ever, in both edmonton and ottawa, and i was going to write all about that: my sister's life-changing brussels sprouts, how my uncle got up at 5 in the morning to purchase a wii fit, the conviviality around dan and tony's dinner table, what it's like to spend evening after evening just visiting with good friends and family. among other things, we've seen a ton of children this christmas, and i really enjoy my relationship with them: laura's diva style, morgan's love for shoes, maggie's ballet and daisy's made-up song, eria's cuteosity, stella's blue pjs, harriet's brute intelligence, the other morgan's shy, sardonic and dangerously passionate approach to the world -- i feel lucky, on an almost daily basis, to have exactly the relationship with children that i want to have.

i was going to write about how aunty jo told everybody at boston pizza that yes, heather and maureen are going to ottawa this year but she just didn't feel up to it. i was going to rave about how many new design blogs i've found (though i suppose you can see them in the blogroll) and how keen i am to rearrange everything on the main floor of the house. i was going to talk up the exposure board for anyone interested in arts and culture and event planning and hard work and fun. i was going to mention that my first column in unlimited magazine will be posted here after 1 jan.

but now here we are, 2008 is on its last curtain call, its brave bow turned bored and its glance to the techs in the rafters more and more worried: any second now the curtain comes down for good, and there will be no time left to write any of that.