On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My apprehension was mainly for naught. I feel very comfortable in grad school, in part because of the teacher, in part because of the other students, in part, perhaps, because I am older and wiser than I thought, yet so much younger than I appear.

My class, “Writing Across Genres,” appeared at first glance to be a snap. Heck, I TAUGHT poetry—studying it should be review! Well, surprise, surprise! There’s a ton of information out there beyond the normal high school exploration. I am learning words I never came across before, methods and styles that surprise me with their seeming simplicity yet deep complexity. And that’s just form, not even content!

The most exciting thing is that I feel I am learning to think differently, to look at poetry—and, indeed, at words in general—with a new and fresh eye. How exciting that even at my advanced age, life can still surprise me!

There’s a line in a song from the show Pippin that I try to live by:

“I believe if I refuse to grow old,
I can stay young ‘till I die.”

I think surprise is what keeps a person young. When we are just starting out in the world, every day is an exciting surprise, a gift, a party. Somewhere along the way, we tend to lose that excitement in the day-to-day reality of making a living, raising a family, losing loved ones, and blindly barreling along our own road to that dark unknown. I think as long as I can keep a sense of wonder, I can keep a youthful outlook.

That’s what I loved about teaching high school: the daily surprises presented by my students. I could watch their highs and lows, listen to their delight and pain, and myself experience their contagious celebration of life. I especially love directing young people in theater. To see the light come on in their eyes when they suddenly grasp a concept is nothing short of thrilling. To watch them grow before my eyes feeds my need to share, to nurture, to encourage. I have letters from students thanking me for giving them a little knowledge, a little push, or a little courage. Little do they know that they give me back so much more than I gave them.

Lesson: Keep up the wonder, keep up the hunger. Look to tomorrow as a challenge and enjoy each surprise, and you will never grow old.


Post a Comment

<< Home