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24 September 2003

Little Boys Kill Frogs in Jest, Frogs They Die in Earnest

I'm lying panting on the ropes after my all-day Wa He Lut-ing yesterday. I'm just sorry to be so miserably feeble. I put schedules in teacher's boxes last week for the Tuesday count-week obligatory art session. My plan was to see all the paperwork kids on Tuesday, which fulfills federal requirements. I managed to get everyone (teachers forgot, though, mostly). I have trouble communicating with Christy's very nice new teacher. She was in my room at 8:45 on Tuesday as I was explaining how I needed Christy at 1:45. We then made plans for a proper ongoing schedule, but I said I needed Christy at 1:45 on that particular day. So of course she sends Ch+Mercedes at 9, and I send them back as I have another class scheduled.
Last night I tried emailing the teachers... we'll see -- how do I communicate? Many, many times I've spoken in person with a teacher about a child's scheduled art time half an hour away -- and I STILL didn't get the child on time without calling. They just forget easily -- they go into a different mode when they are in front of their classes.
I'm working on my SECRET PLAN -- which is to bring in an artist to take over half my students and hold classes in whatever way she feels fit. Jon was worried about it costing money, but I said it was 2people x 1day instead of 1person x 2days -- can't be a big issue, one wouldn't think. The person I have put forward is an applicant for the parapro job -- don't ask me about her qualifications for that as I haven't a clue -- but I could see how that might be either good or bad -- we'll see. I'm trying to make up an ongoing schedule -- and although a few of the new students can start before I have another artist in place, I think it's fine if the bulk of new, young students just wait. I need to split up the T/H/S/A block and the S/D/T/C block -- aside from the fact that we have 2 computers, it's impossible to help 4 students when I have difficulty moving. I was going around and around yesterday getting them started with pastel drawings, and I expect that's one reason I'm knackered today. I did paperwork on S as it was too big an issue not to -- however I told him I'd give no quarter. He needs to behave or I won't have him in there. It's not a benefit or kindness to either of us if he can't behave -- however, he deserves a chance. His fear of failure is apparent. What a difficult time he manages to make of things! John has had trouble with A, slightly, but he says S has been great. That's good -- and John's calmness and common sense are made to order for S.

A dear friend was upset with me because I hadn't asked her to go with me to my pater's memo bash last Saturday. I know that I can be uncommunicative at times, and have been making a puny but concerted effort at work to let them know what I'm thinking and planning -- but I think the friend's "upset" was caused more by mistaken assumptions than anything else. I thought she was going -- I think she'd said, "If you want me to go, tell me," but I translated that into "I'm going," and then the time/place was in the obituary, so I never thought about that at all. And I worked 3 days that week. I was quite a nasty wreck by Saturday. I'm unhappy to've caused her pain, and I realise how justified anyone's claims about me being uncommunicative can be. However much I may attempt to change, the truth is that in the core of my being and as per the way I was raised I value the idea of keeping one's own council. I'm the daughter of a Yorkshireman, and they are notoriously closed-mouthed and secretive. The war, too, made both my parents value discretion. I consider myself too blabby -- so I'm trying to be more blabby, and that's weird. I've always thought "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you," to be the opposite of the way it is. "Sticks and stones can wound for a time, but words wound for a lifetime" is more like it. So -- blog therapy, I reckon.

Tiff: I am renting Spanish movies but to tell you the
truth--I don't understand much--Movies rely so heavily
on the visual that the vocabulary seems very limited
and mostly idioms. It is really easier to understand
the words on Spanish radio because they are relying
totally on clear vocabulary. I never really realized
it before but movies really don't have very many words
and the words they do have are idiomatic. My best
medium is Spanish books. One thing I have really
enjoyed about Spanish movies and books is that the
magical and otherworldly just sort of jumps in
anywhere without much preparation or
introduction--just suddenly there is a ghost or
whatever running things and then its reality again. I
find it lots of fun. Also the absolute belief that we
are at the mercy of our emotions and its futile to try
to overcome them.

My reply: I was very interested in your movie dialogue thoughts -- yes, I can see how that would be. And American society seems to be more visual, less verbal now than in the past -- perhaps it is so, too, in other places. It's very difficult, I think, to communicate verbally with someone for whom words are an unfamiliar communication method -- seemingly almost everyone I have to deal with. Words are used for "colorful" effect, to demonstrate power, etc., but the base-level need of humans to communicate is not addressed. Communication is made to stutter when, for instance, words on paper don't make flowing sense. I find I have to try to figure out what people mean, rather than learn it from their words. And perhaps they do the same when I write to them. I think menopause doesn't help much.
I have this other-worldly sense all the time -- I mean, you know I say things that are bizarre. I have a sense of having climbed stairs to the roof of a building, and although I've been stymied by the feeling that there's nowhere to go from here, the true progression is to feel trust and step off the roof into air. I'm almost there -- I can feel both ways equally -- I know there are things I can't understand, and I do feel trust in the way things have turned out, but I will need to be patient and learn by degrees until I can progress. In the mean time I am trying to let it happen as it may, without excessive worrying. I told Becky I was trying to be graceful in the way I was dealing with my work. She said I'm always graceful, but no, I believe that formerly I had the energy and physical capability to do things my own way, and even if I had to expend 25 times the effort it was well worth it to me to do it the way I felt it should be done. The idea of what might be called "spiritual purity" (rather comically), has always been an absolute pillar of my artistic sensibility, and I was never willing to give one inch and slope off into the easy way, no matter what the cost to me. The cost has been VERY HIGH, but worth it nonetheless. At long last, in my feebleness, I am more reliant upon the concept and reality of grace, gracefulness.

At my pater's memo the photo album Shelley had made for my Alzheimer-y pater contained a picture of my uncle, the husband of my father's sister. I said he'd skied away from the Nazis and crossed into England where the Polish government was, and where he met my auntie. Loosh laughed and asked if he'd skied to England, at which I felt shirty and replied that he'd skied away from the Nazis INTO A PART OF EUROPE NOT IN ENEMY HANDS, then crossed THE CHANNEL into England. Thinking about that, it is an example I suppose of how, since there's no shared cultural background, each of us had a different fund of information that seemed obvious to each of us, but which was apparently not obvious at all. I wonder how much of the difficulty* in communication I experience is due to that very thing. People will point things out to me with special care -- things that are so basic and obvious I think they must regard me as a total idiot if they think I don't know. Usually I just say, "Oh, really?" while feeling the upswell of annoyance. But the truth is probably more like: It's not an obvious piece of information to them. And the reverse has got to be true. And then also, a piece of information I feel confident in not specifying is just the crucial thing, apparently, I am not to leave out.

*I mean, I'm just thinking about this now -- it isn't a huge problem in my life.

posted by - 11:34 AM


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