Ramblings on school, books, and other stuff
My brain, heart and body are 100% engaged in school now. That means a temporary lull in all things bloggish, although I do have at least one post scheduled for the coming week, and I hope to do more.
So, the first week of school is over and it went great. I couldn't have asked for a better start to the school year. I love my students. I love my teaching schedule. Okay, so I don't love lunch duty and all the mundane and minescule tasks I have to complete, but I'm a realist.
We had our first football game of the school year on Friday, and everyone was there. I mean everyone: our superintendent, several thousand parents students and fans--everyone. Our school, Bluffton, played against our arch-rival Hilton Head Island High School. We blew them out of the water (final score 76-0). Yeah, our team is good.
So this weekend I'm trying to get on top of next week (and rest up a bit). My honors students read Cry the Beloved Country for their summer reading, and I'm rereading this beautiful novel. It is such a pleasure to read a carefully constructed novel. I find it interesting that Paton wrote Cry the Beloved Country in part while traveling in America. He was heavily influenced by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. I wish more writers were publishing social justice novels today; the time is ripe for novels of conscience. Some truths need the breadth of a novel, and the political rhetoric today is reduced to talking points and sound bites. Tales told by idiots, signifying nothing.
Besides rereading Cry the Beloved Country, I'm also reading James W. Pennebaker's Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions. I've had this book on my shelf for years and just never got to it. It is absolutely fascinating, and confirms what I knew intuitively: writing about traumatic events is good for both your psyche and your body. Trying to suppress or inhibit thoughts about traumatic events (even those from many years ago) has an impact on your immune system.
Have you found writing to be healing? How many readers out there keep a journal and write about their lives? I'm a fanatical journal keeper I have notebooks and journals going back decades. Some are writer's notebooks, and some are personal journals. I don't go back and read them very often, but if I want to know what I was thinking when I was fifteen, I can find out (probably do not want to know this!). I can feel the physiogic effects of writing immediately: a few minutes with a notebook and a pen and I feel focused, calm. Do you keep a writer's notebook or journal? Do have the same experience?