Showing posts with label reflection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reflection. Show all posts

10.2.19

On Being Unfinished: Reflection On Starting Something You Never Completed

Michelangelo never finished this sculpture of a
crouching boy intended for a decoration in the
Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo in Florence.
source: wikimedia 
Reflection: How many times have you started something you never finished? Probably a lot. And what does “Being Unfinished” say about you?
The Unfinished Professional (For me that's being a teacher)
As a teacher, I start projects I never finish. I have a folder on Google Drive of several unfinished projects. There is a unit on Charlotte's Web I haven't yet completed and my Google Keep is filled with ideas I have not yet implemented. I have tests that are half-completed. I have units that are missing chapters. I have lesson plans that are missing lessons; and, I have piles of unsorted papers on my desk. I have projects without rubrics and I have rubrics without projects (really). I have quizzes I never graded, assignments I never checked, units I never finished. In my mind there is an imaginary Google Drive folder that contains all of the lessons, rubrics, tests, and quizzes I'll ever need. Will this  imaginary folder ever become reality?

The Unfinished Person (For me that's being a bit creative)
My unfinished teaching bleeds into my unfinished creative life, too. There are books I never finished reading and unfinished puzzles lying on the floor of my closet. I have a coloring book from my childhood that has two or three pages colored. I bought an adult coloring book for Christmas (A gift to myself) but I never started it. It's quite beautiful, really. The pages are a display of black lines and clear, empty spaces. I have one-hundred pages of a novel I was trying to write last Summer that still sits unfinished in a Manila envelope in my desk's third drawer. Work often brings me dread because I am caught thinking of work I have not finished. There are letters I want to write to friends and emails that have gone unsent (I am embarrassed to show you my drafts folder). But, what does being unfinished really say about a person?

Having unfinished projects probably means:
  • You are always thinking
  • You enjoy work but dread it at the same time
  • You like to be creative
  • You enjoy the process
  • You are a maker
  • You are productive
  • You are seldom bored
  • You value ideas
  • You keep to-do lists
  • You have a TON of FINISHED projects 
Consider:
Think about the projects you have completed. What do they say about you? What projects have you started that have gone unfinished? Do you judge yourself more harshly than you judge others? Let us know in the comments.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

2.1.19

Reflection: Another Year Goes Away and a New Year Begins

My friend and I lit a candle at St. Thomas Church in Manhattan.
Sometimes life is like a circle. I could go on and give examples - and I will - but I feel like E.B. White did it best in an essay he wrote about circus performers.
      It’s been a while since I closely read the essay but I remember its thesis poignantly. Time is like a circle. White focuses his writing on one performer specifically who takes command of the circus ring. He notices she is in counterbalance to another performer, older, who is also in the ring. White imagines the younger performer is at the crest of her career, illuminating and graceful yet the other performer is also she - less graceful and aging. That’s what I remember. White manages to place an idea of recurrence - of repeating and twinning that resonates with me even now. Perhaps it’s because it’s the beginning of a new year - 2019 and I just recently celebrated a birthday. In a year from now, I’ll celebrate forty years on earth. I’ve been out of school long enough to miss it and I’ve been working just long enough to see myself getting better at what I do - but I can see my older, aged twin on the other side of the circle. He waves at me but I can’t figure out if he’s happy or not.  If I zoom in too much on the daily details of my life it’s all a bunch of minutiae - picking up the trash, sipping a cup of coffee, placing dirty clothes in the hamper. And if I zoom out a bit more - like in that book - where each page is a zoom-out or zoom in of the universe - I see bigger picture things like how much time I spent teaching or how much time I spent writing. And if I zoom out even further I see myself as a generation among generations, and further out too I’m a speck - not even significant. Yet this is what amazes me about human beings. We are persistent in our urgency to slam into the earth some smattering of meaning. And it feels worth it when I’m introspective and desperate when I’m barraged by life’s demands - yet it’s a life. At the start again. So - happy New Year.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

12.4.10

Poetry: Gone with the Wind, among others — Leuven, Belgium

In this poem, which I wrote when I was a college student at the Catholic University of Leuven (K.U.L.), and living as a seminarian at the American College, I tap into feelings of aesthetic taste, sharing intimacy — and I used the phrase "stones of erasmus" for the first time! 
     Erasmus was a student in Leuven during the counter-reformation. One can still see the dormitory house where he supposedly lived and studied. There is a saying among students that only if the stones of Erasmus could speak! What would they say?  
photo credit: spirit of paris
After a film,
poster and reflections
neatly crisp

Intently, furtive glances, to the right, then gone …
left man passes, consume in a bite, then a girl
with glasses, lashes and a bic light
smokes.
Curly Q’s and then somberness of night.
But, still the poster glows … the Trocadero, a movie
de l’amour and Vertigo, a fright:
An image of a man, a stale lacuna, a ghost of film noir
gazing, not apart, partly connected.  Dreams and visions
speak aloud to wet, litter caked streets.

Rotted lemon luminaries haze a path,
dulling humid low land streets, scarcity curtains pulled upwards,
A Peugeot passes, the stones of erasmus clamor to get out.
The posters gleam yet; characters speak and a stomach,
somewhere thirsty growls — it is filled and then …
in upward windows aching, she dresses for a silent figure fantasy.

A flicker, then bed, holding a teapot, languidly.
Une regard to a postcard, to consume.
Speeches to please, to sugar, then the tongue licks,
alors, madame …
then laugh,
like a box of potpourri; charming
half-dead, withered, enchanting