Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let's Get Into Small Groups Now

Today I taught: today they learned.

A strange feeling of warmth...

A novelty? No. I have heard the click of understanding locking into place, multiple times, before.

What dazzled me today was that they enjoyed it. They interacted not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

I have prepared for sullenness. When I need to, I will pull out my sheaf of cards with their names and call on them.

I have yet to pull out the cards.

They know more than I expected! And they make connections I did not expect! And they care, which I expected least of all!

This is special. The joy I feel now may ebb, come October or Thanksgiving or even next week. It may last all semester, only to vanish next spring.

It may last until I die. It may crescendo and never stop crescending.

I will grip the joy I feel tightly, with both hands of my mind. I am good at this. I am fit for this. I am called to this.

I was born to this.

Long live euphoria.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Hath Ian Wrought

It's strange to sit here and realize that my life is not fiction.

My life is a tiny hot dilapidated office, and a tiny hot cluttered studio apartment, and elderly feces-smelling men rooting in the dumpsters, and new friends who are actually part of my discourse community because they want to be, and getting official student/teacher emails--except I'm the teacher now--and looking at the online course management system and being scared stiff by the assigned readings for graduate classes, and texting colleagues (colleagues!) to ask if I can use their powerpoints for my classes.

Fiction is an essential part of who I am: I read it obsessively, I critique it obtusely, I write it poorly. I watch fictional films. I play fictional video games. I even performed fiction, theatrical fiction onstage, before I got busy and old and cetera. I imagine; I create; I dream.

I know the fictional tricks. All that schlock about escapism and whatnot is only partially true. We enter (read, watch, write, play) fictional worlds because they are fresh and new and different. We escape Real Life, yes, but our enjoyment of fiction is not spurred by its non-Real Life-ness. Rather, fiction enthralls positively, because it forces us to re-evaluate how we look at our Real Life world. By changing the rules, it reinforces the rules.

But all that's a sidebar; my point is that I'm conversant with fictional construction.

And my life right now seems like a story. It seems like something I'd come up with on an especially dreary coffee-shop day, some fanciful fable to make java-slinging more livable. No, let me correct that: it is something I have dreamed about. The story I'm living is a story I wrote in my mind over and over and over as I sold scones and steamed soy milk.

Except--it's not a story any more. It's real.

I enjoy making fictions. I just never thought anything I crafted in my imagination would actually, y'know, come true.

Creation is an intimidating tool.

Long live contemplation!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Look Around

The following are unconnected, rambling observations: proceed at your own risk, dear reader.

I am quickly coming to believe that one of my favorite aesthetic experiences at Marquette will be driving past the Al McGuire Center at night, when it's empty. There's low light in the building, and the championship banners hang like two-tone textile idols in a deserted temple.

In the apartment complex north of mine--just up the street--there lives a man who likes peanut butter. He has a huge jar of JIF sitting in his windowsill. His obvious poverty makes him my brother. Perhaps I will high-five him when next I see him.

Cedarburg, where I lived for the last 15 months, diminishes in my rearview mirror. The leaving has been hard, I believe, because for the first time I felt native to a place, rather than merely resident in it. I've lived throughout the Midwest, but no place felt as comfortable as Cedarburg did.

I went to the State Fair tonight, and I saw more than my fair share of the following:

  • overweight people
  • people in motorized wheelchairs
  • tattoos, but not, like, cool tattoos, more like gross, stupid tattoos
  • families
  • livestock, especially sheep
  • quilts
I also ate a cream puff.

One of the classes I'm teaching is full. No more people can register for it. I'm officially In Demand. I am exhilarated.

Where is Captain Hammer when you need him?

Long live re-establishment!