Friday, April 8, 2011

The NWP and Me (or How to Revitalize a Teacher)

Three summers ago, I decided to take a break from sipping Bloody Marys poolside (which is, of course, a teacher's typical summer activity) to participate in the Red Cedar Writing Project.  One of my former professors suggested I should apply, and since I hold her in the HIGHEST regard (you know who you are Sue:), I figured I'd give it a try despite the serious dent it put into my leisure schedule.

Our first day, I was convinced I had gotten in way over my head.  There was no way, I was sure, that I could possibly keep up with all the amazing teachers I had somehow managed to get myself mixed up with.  These people were phenomenal.  They published articles, taught honors classes, understood that hyperbole is the BEST thing EVER.  This was a room full of the people I want to be when I grow up; how could I even hope to fit in?

Turns out, I did fit in, because this wasn't a cut throat environment; this was heaven. A group of people - educators - that wanted to grow, wanted to share, wanted to learn.  And we did.  I don't believe a single one of us left that summer as the same teacher who entered.

I have since participated in two more Summer Institutes as a Co-Director with the Chippewa River Writing Project, and am about to plunge into another season of learning, sharing, and growing.  Those Bloody Marys will still be cold in July.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mamma Mia

In four short weeks, I will again be a married woman. This is bringing me great joy, and of course, great anxiety.  I am absolutely convinced that marrying John is the greatest choice I've made in many years, and I fully expect to spend the rest of our lives in wedded bliss.  So, only the joy is coming from the whole being a married woman thing; the anxiety is coming from the becoming part.

Twenty-some years ago, I  stood up on an alter in front of a few hundred people and, after an uncontrollable bout of the giggles, married my first husband.  It wasn't a ridiculous wedding - well not overly ridiculous anyway - but it was enough to satisfy any fairy-tale dreams I held about just how a marriage should begin, and was kind of emblematic of the entire relationship.  Presentation was more important than truth.

This time, I'm looking for less flash and more substance.  And beginning the journey intimately makes sense, so the initial intention was to include only the kids in the ceremony, illustrating our commitment to each other and our family.  No friends, no extended family, no parents.  Enter the anxiety.

Because of recent discussion - John with his dad, who would like to be a part of the day. Me with Ally who hit my heart by asking how I'd feel if I weren't invited to her wedding - we've been rethinking including our parents.  The truth is, I have no problem with John's dad joining us; it's my folks' inclusion that I'm not so sold on.  And now my question: Is my hesitancy in inviting my parents because I'm still harboring all that teenage angst and I just need to get over myself?  Or is it because I'm afraid of Mom's subtle rejection and fault-finding?