Friday, January 18, 2008

Ought Eight, Part Six

Is it a truism that the busier you get, the more time you seem to have? I know for me, when I'm forced to flex my organizational skills the most, I tend to be apply them most effectively. So here I am, averaging a post every 3 days - by far my most communicative since launching this enterprise so long ago - at the same time as I'm ramping up at a satisfying rate on the day job, managing a more complex home schedule than is typical for me, actually reading some of the books in my queue, and even spent an hour (pun alert) fiddling around with songwriting, which I haven't touched in years.

If I can bowl a deuce and the Giants win Sunday, it just might be a perfect month.

The problem with all this efficiency, of course, is that it breeds opportunity, which brings with it more work. So when I was approached earlier this month about doing some grammar school poetry workshops, I couldn't resist the urge to revisit my prepackaged programs, refresh the anthologies I like to use, polish the writing exercises a little, etc. So instead of kicking back with a Blue Moon and some Numb3rs tonight, I'll be cleaning up the Burgess-Meredith-worthy piles of poetry and teaching books around the couch so my family can get near the TV tomorrow. I should know better.

But all the fiddling reminded me of the best advice I got as I was starting out with poetry workshops, which (oversimplified) is "Don't work so hard. Get the kids writing". For me, this simplifies the lesson plan: (1) Create energy. (2) Promote interest in poetry. (3) Get out of the way. Fortunately, the teachers I've worked with in the past (and present) have the same basic idea - and are sensitive to beating interest in poetry out of their students with curricula too focused on the "right answer".

That doesn't mean that this next book doesn't have a better example of rhythm and assonance, though....

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