This time last year I was filled with just a smidge more optimism than I am this year. I was so optimistic I began to learn the song “Hands” by Jewel. I downloaded her version, the bluegrass version and the karaoke version.
A year later it shuffled through my play list and the lyric “we’re all ok” came out. I was in my car on my Saturday errands and I said, “I’m not ok, Bradley Cooper!”, harkening back to the day I ruined Midnight Meat Train for BatBeard. (I personally think that Bradley did a good job of that himself, but what do I know?)
There are certain things that are compromising my optimism. I’m exhausted. I spent all last week catching and keeping up with teaching and feeding myself and two cats. I think I have a cold and am praying it’s not the flu because I have to give a math test and a spelling test this week and drag my cherubs through the stages of their writing samples for their files. I also have to get them started on a combination science and social studies project that addresses the big question (that’s a whole blog of its own). The reason I was behind was that I spent the week after Spring Break trying to staunch my tears from missing BatBeard. I got spend four days with him and like Actor Boy says, it doesn’t matter how long the visit is, it’s never long enough. Seeing BatBeard only reminded me how crazy in love with him I am and that he is lucky enough to have a job where he gets to do what makes him happiest, acting. It is just unfortunate that he has to do it so far away from me.
So while tamping all of that down, I was rehearsing my theatre club kids for their first competition. There is a whole lot of detail that I will toss in to another blog. Suffice it to say that I was running on a stream of coffee and not so fantastic leftovers. I think I ate a cold steak finger as I was running from copier to copier to get everything ready.
After all of that, I did find three things that gave me a hint of optimism:
I have a student who is full of questions. Sometimes he’s a pain, but most times they are very good, thought provoking questions. He is the child of survivors of the Rwandan Genocide. He was asking me about how the political environment is affecting racism. (See, I told you they were good questions.) He seemed truly dismayed that he could be judged on the color of his skin. I explained to him that because he has dark skin some may equate him with people of color who have had unfortunate circumstances causing them to commit crimes and possibly felonies. This is because he is African and black he may be misjudged even though his parents would throttle him if he even thought about doing something criminal. It gives me hope that a child who has very few living relatives still finds the concept of racism baffling.
The other thing giving me hope is something I saw on my way back from the errands. Four small boys, probably 8 and 9 years old were walking on the side of the road eating ice cream cones. It was simple thing to do on a Saturday afternoon and it made me happy that, at least for today, it’s safe for them to do this.
And the other. Today a short story I wrote went up for sale on Kindle. I went to see the listing so I entered my name., Lynda Rodriguez into the Amazon search bar. A whole list of things came up. Eight of them were things I have written. Four short stories, two novellas, one play that is available as an audio book. So here I have been feeling that I am not capable of writing a good story. I have written eight.
So, right now, Jewel, I’m Ok. Be sure to tell Bradley Cooper.