Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother, May I or Against Permission

I'm feeling a little wiggy and free, like bouncing in my seat although the wildest thing I might do is have a shot of bourbon or not wear sunscreen when I go out in a few minutes to mow the lawn. I just turned my grades in! Huzzah! No more wrestling over quality and quantity and revision bravado and surprise inspiration and the good plain luck of having a talent.

So why did the above title suggest itself to me. (Do you remember that game--"Mother, may I?" "No, you may not!) I'm at one of those rare times when there are no expectations for a few hours or days. Why am I thinking about permission and rejecting that stance? I was a very dutiful child always conscious of obligation and ritual--quite frighteningly so for a little while.

Are all moments of freedom/release related to each other? This small soaring away from the gradebook reminding me of all other flights?Maybe it's the students reminding me of the thrill of abandoning syntax and punctuation to see how that makes language on the page different. Maybe they remind me of myself when I first stopped rhyming or using question marks or using line breaks. The necessary hubris that allows a writer to walk the plank over the unknown. What's keeping me up in the air?

Let me just say that I never tell my students something has to be earned. I find myself quite scornful of this sentiment.Maybe it's not the sentiment but the language. Just as epiphany seems to have fallen out of style, or at least out of mine. A poem does not have to have a little peak at the end--our own personal Himalaya (although put that way it sounds kind of fun).

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