dashing running.

cramer's sixth period was really good today. it went a lot smoother than i expected, and the kids were very responsive. and even more surprising, carlos, ana, melanie, and eivette showed up after school. we held a half-hour poetry workshop, talking about melanie's poem "easter sunday." it made me miss college, writing groups, talking about writing like nothing else matters. because, really, nothing does.

these kids helped me remember that good writing and constructive criticism is all about asking questions. funny how we forget simple things like that. i wish i could remember the time when i was fourteen. all that sticks out is dax rossini kicking me in the legs and not stopping until i finally fought back. i didn't know that's what he wanted. or bitching to my parents about how much i hated jesuit, like any place would've been any better. god knows, it might have. i would've been more proud to be a wildcat than a marauder.

carlos asked me if i was good at writing poems. "not really," i said. "could you write one right now?" i said i could, but that it probably wouldn't be very good.

i heard some amazing things earlier when talking about dickinson. janessa said "tell the truth, but go easy." i liked that. and yvonna brought up the fact that it was so quiet that you could hear the fly buzzing in her poem. irvin: "she's got rhythm. like shakespeare." and most troublesome of all, magali, boldly announcing, "i'm not afraid of death. i'm not!" two days ago, cramer told me how she was telling him and other students that she was thinking about suicide. i didn't know how to respond. she was the same girl who wrote about how her father, an alcoholic, chased her around a table one night with a knife. her brother restrained him.

after our workshop, the kids said that they would try to meet every wednesday to talk about poetry. i wish i had more for them, my own writing published even, to show them that it can be done.

but how do you encourage something you can't do yourself?

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