Gonna Be Fun!

Yesterday, after I voted in the town election and had my annual doctor’s visit, I went to hang copies of this poster in surrounding towns. It’s for the workshop I’m giving on Saturday at the Maynard (MA) Public Library where, being an expertly unstoppable blabbermouth, I will teach a small group of interested people how to journal – or rather show them that they already know how.

For sure I believe in the practice.  Dark times in my life, journaling is all that got me through I sometimes think. I would drive in my car to someplace quiet, some anonymous outdoor space and just scribble my every thought down on paper. Scribble it down, tear it up. Scribble it down, tear it up.  It worked too. It helped me fish around in every last corner of that messy attic that is the human mind.

And that was just when times were tough and my mind was a toss of conflicting emotions. When times are good inside your head and the livin’ is easy, well who wouldn’t want to write stuff down then?

I have a whole 90-minutes for this workshop during which the audience and I will remember back over our lives, using little starter phrases to get us going. I got a million of those all right. And if you’re not shy about telling your own funny-slash-embarrassing stories you find that your audience isn’t shy either and pretty soon everyone is laughing and slapping their knees, their own if not each other’s and sometimes that too.

I used to be so shy I couldn’t call up the theater to find out what time the movie started but I am not shy now because at the tender age of 21 I got a job where I was thoroughly exposed, right down to my footgear and fingernails. (“Gardening over the weekend, eh Miz Marotta?” No, staining wooden furniture actually.) Or “Miz Marotta! Time for some new shoes!”

You only get remarks like this in the job if you stand between the front rows, among your ‘customers’, so to speak, which is what you have to do if you want them to pay attention and live in healthy fear of getting called on.

You know what that job is now, right? Here are two super-blurry picture of me doing that job many a long moon ago, and along with it some of my ‘customers’ from Sixth Period.

Best job I ever had, I still say. Guess what that job was and I’ll give you a free book on Saturday when a bunch of us will look back together 🙂 (Oh! and the library says “If it’s not convenient for you to register in person, send an email to fmplibrary@gmail.com, include “workshop” in the subject line. and specify which class you’re interested in.”)


No Fool Like an Old Fool

Around 5 o’clock on Monday Facebook decided it was sick of me and my stupid  birthday. Up until then it was meekly reporting that this one and that one had written on my wall and I’d go and read “Happy Birthday Terry!” again and again and how nice was that? Later it just seemed to be saying, “Okay 60 people wrote on your wall, all right? Can we just leave it at that?”

But I was still happy. I loved getting all those greetings even thought by rights birthdays should  bring up weird stuff  for me what with that  phase I went through at 18 where the worse a guy acted the more determined I was to learn his birthday and send him a card. Who knows what I was trying to do there. The only thing our mom ever told us kids about our long-gone dad was that he let his brother use him as a doormat so maybe it was the doormat gene coming through. What can I say? I was young and trying to improve the whole universe through outlandish gestures of maidenly love.

But back to Monday: The birthday greetings that really killed me came from two former students: One said “Happy Birthday Mrs. M! Still a babe!” (So chivalrous and so untrue!) He was a boy taller than all the doorways with wonderful blond curls. The other came from this kid always loping in late to class, pushing his glasses up on his nose and smiling like it was Christmas morning. His comment: “Happy Birthday! Thanks again for friending me!”

But oh, you Boy-with-the-Glasses I am so glad I found you again! And you, Chivalrous Tall-Man! And you Marianne from the fourth seat in the middle who found ME! And you Christine in the row by the clock and you Jean with your delicate bones and you Sharon who I never actually had in class and you Paul and you Tom who went into the Air Force and of course you Michael who could tell even as young as you were that under my brave teachery line of chatter I was as shy as you were.

Sigh. I’ll admit it: I cherish  my friends on Facebook, which is probably silly. I know it’s all supposed to be light and fun and ‘omg!’ and ‘lol!’ but there it is. The more greetings came in Monday the more “seen” I felt – and accepted and yes even understood . I just loved  everyone’s shout-outs and especially the ones from  those former students to their teacher in room 334, who never found another job she loved as much.

even now when I drive by I want to go in  and teach a class