A few years ago, I attended a conference presentation during which audience members were asked to construct a metaphor to represent our experiences as students. No one had ever asked me to do this, so I was intrigued, but pretty stumped. Then I remembered my old boom box, with its radio and dual cassette deck–I always kept a blank tape handy, ready to press “record” whenever something caught my ear. I realized that I did the same in the classroom, gathering bits and pieces from various sources, often without an idea of how–or even if!–those pieces would fit together. That was the joy of making and sharing mix tapes; when crafted thoughtfully, they were greater than the sum of their parts.
In that same spirit, I share a weekly “mix” of articles, recipes, book recommendations, and ideas in the hopes that something I share might fit into your own personal, ever-evolving collage.
Have something you think I might be interested in? I’d love to hear about it. Share it here.
Shiv was born in July 2012; that new year’s was his first night sleeping away from home, spending the night with his Nani (my mother). New Year’s Day 2013, he had his first taste of solid food – sweet potato. Since then, it’s become a tradition for him to spend the night with Nani while Jill and I enjoy an evening together.
Last night, as we driving back from our friends’ house (where we’d thoroughly enjoyed a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity), Jill asked me if I had any goals or aspirations for the new year. We’re not necessarily resolutions people, but for the past few years, I have picked a word or phrase to focus on: 2016 was “discipline” and 2017, “courage.” But I hadn’t yet thought of what 2018’s might be until Jill asked.
“I want to have more fun this year,” I told her, as we moved through the dark in the truck, the sky around us lit up as people set off backyard fireworks. When I think about the memories from 2017 that are the most satisfying, what comes to mind are nighttime dance parties with Shiv, playdates with friends and their kids, time spent in art museums, reading, or enjoying delicious meals. Those are the times when I am the most present and the least in my head. Those are, as cheesy as it sounds, the times when I feel most alive, like I am living according to what I value: time with the people I love, good conversation about things that matter, learning new things.
So, I’ll be making a new notecard for my bathroom mirror today: MORE FUN. What about you?
-I’m really excited to be offering a new writing course for 2018! Come What May: Navigating Transitions with Grace is designed to give participants time and space to examine the changes, both big and small, transpiring in their lives. Course materials will be delivered electronically each Saturday, from January 6 to February 10. The cost is $25. I’d love to have you join me if you’re interested. You can also gift the course to a friend or family member – just leave me a note with their email address when checking out.
Learn more about the course and sign up here!
-Sometimes it’s important to take some time to look at beautiful things. This piece from Edible Brooklyn features the stunning marzipan creations made at Fortunato Brothers, including the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes, but in marzipan form. All made by hand and ridiculously beautiful.
-I appreciated the message of this piece from LitHub: How Fetishizing ‘Craft’ Can Get In the Way of a Good Poem. I’ve tried in the last year to be especially mindful of how we English teachers can unwittingly cancel out students’ enjoyment of literature by analyzing it to death, and this was an important reminder to keep an eye on that balance.
-In the last week or so, we’ve been the lucky recipients of the generosity of so many friends and family members, who’ve volunteered to help with Shiv, deliver food, run errands, help move furniture, and the like. The family of two former students arranged to pick Shiv and his best friend up for a joint playdate; when I arrived to pick up the kids, they sent me home with a trunk full of food, including this delicious vegetable lasagna. I’m not sure I can really articulate how humbling and grace-filled an experience it is to have a young woman whom you’ve known since the eighth grade cook you dinner, but I can say with confidence that I’ll be adding this recipe to our family rotation.