Quote of the Day: I started writing because of a terrible feeling of powerlessness: I felt I was drifting and obscure, and I rebelled against that. I didn’t see what I could do to change my condition. I wanted to control rather than be controlled, to ordain rather than be ordained, and to relegate rather than be relegated. – Anita Brookner
Oh, how this quote speaks to me and about me. All of the things that blocked me and silenced me were released as I found my voice through writing. During my years as an English teacher, I encouraged my students to write, to stretch themselves and to discover their voices. Then, they turned that around on me and challenged me to do the same. One of those students is Beth. She is a writer and an actor and a musician, and now, a mom with two beautiful daughters. They stopped by to visit me last Sunday.
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Mary, before answering your always stimulating question, I’ve got to say that your relationship with Beth is a testament to your teaching abilities and to you as a person. Your story affirms that a lot of people are doing a lot of things right here (for values are often generational) and empowers others to feel good about the future.
My high school class held a reunion this year. Couldn’t go because of the trip but did spend considerable time (okay, hours) yucking it up on the phone, not that much has happened since last I visited, but small towns have time for life’s details. Ahhh, nice.
Mary, how many times in the classroom did we start off the period with “Now, in your journals, write about…” You even let me write some poetry (haven’t done that in years!) and didn’t freak out over the morbidity in it. Looking back, I’d say I was battling this cruddy depression even then.
Right now, I have half a dozen ideas wandering around my brain right now, and if I could just make one stick, I’d be off and writing much more again.
Thank you for letting us stop by, and I’d like to do that again. When I speak of you to others, I always say friend and mentor. You have really helped me broaden my horizons, to go with a cliche.
Beth, my eyes are a little misty from that sentiment. And, yes, I was the journaling teacher. How could I resist my true calling? I found it really made my students think for themselves. Since you brought it up…Yes, now that I think about it, you did have some things going on, like with your eating, and low energy. You are doing great in identifying it and taking care of yourself. Let your stories out!
How wonderful that you got to see all of them. Obviously, the two of you both had a great impact on each other. :O)
One of the things I regret about my frequent relocation is losing touch with the students I taught ten years ago. That teacher-student relationship is very special. I miss teaching, even though my plate is full right now.
Such a great connection. I love how you prioritize people in your life. You make time to talk, listen, share in their lives.
Mary, yes, there were many lovely moments of reconnection this summer. That is one of the wonderful things about it — you’re so right. I’d heard about your gathering with Beth and her family and it was fun seeing the photos, and to imagine you as her teacher. What an awesome feeling it must be to know that you helped form her, and that your impact was enough to keep this bond sound through the years. As I wrote in my column recently, “It’s all about relationships.” How true that is!
I actually got invited to a former student’s open house just a few weeks ago.
Oh, how I LOVED connecting with her relatives, her life!!!
So often we teachers DON’T get a reunion like this…
I love that you two have stayed connected and clearly mean a lot to eachother. I did a lot of visiting with friends this summer and it was wonderful. There’s just something about good conversation with an old friend.
What a lovely,lasting relationship between teacher and student. Sounds like all in the family!
Thank you, thank you for posting this quote. It’s perfect. This is exactly what I’m going through. I see now that I’ve had the power to “change my condition” all along: by finding my voice in writing. And I’ve been finding it all summer 🙂 Soon it will be time to unleash it!