Monday, October 25, 2004

Being orange is no longer unexpected . . . It's the time of harvest, you know, rituals, "the transience of life" I read somewhere. The change of seasons makes me feel things continuing on. I miss being in the northeast this time of year, yellow leaves and stocking caps, wind. How come big cities always have more wind?

Ah, the mysteries of life. I do have another human interest story to share. This ones main character is Cliff. He's an eighteen year old kid, skinny with glasses and a grown-out crew cut with an ever-so-slight mullet in the back. Cliff was a varsity basketball manager in high school. He loves the game, but is only five-five. He's prone to negativity--a dozen "I can't do this(es)," a dozen in-class writing sessions where he sits looking around the room as if no one ever said go.

At first I thought I needed to break him. But I don't. He only needs gentle bending. We met the other morning so that I could tutor him on his opinion paper. Cliff's sentences can stretch anywhere from a typical five lines all the way down the page. We worked on this, and also on defining his ideas. He listened to me. I get very little negativty anymore. Quite often I'll ask him and the other students how their other classes are going. When our session was done he and I chatted about this. Cliff is failing remedial math and biology (badly). He told me all he wants is a 2.0, explaining that if he doesn't make it, his academic freedom will be taken away. Advisors will select and limit his classes. In explaining some of his positions on why foreigners should learn English and adapt once they get here, Cliff told me he can't even get hired at a video store. He feels that maybe the reason is that he's not bilingual. Maybe other applicants are, and have one up on him. Cliff feels limited; he feels his freedoms are tenuous.

I wonder. We're working on his sentence mechanics. We're going to get them better for certain by Christmas. It'll give him something to go on. Community College. A good day that one was.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

It is the responsibility of writers to listen to gossip and pass it on. It is the way all storytellers learn about life. (Grace Paley)


If there's anything worth calling theology, it is listening to people's stories, listening to them and cherishing them. (Mary Pellauer)


I have no stories today. Come again another day. But I do have six invites to gmail. Does anyone want one?