Wednesday, April 29, 2009

presents! presents! presents!

I have a song that goes a little something like this: presents! presents! presents!

I really like presents, but I don’t like to open presents because, well, once I do, there won’t be any more presents. It’s the anticipation of surprise that’s so much fun; that’s really the gift that comes wrapped in pretty foil paper and topped with a bow. Last week was Steve’s birthday and I asked him in the evening if he was ready to open his present. Sure, he said. But honey, then there won’t be any more presents.

As I was walking to my life writing class the other day, I was thinking about how Thursday’s class is going to be like a present I’ve been waiting to unwrap. This class this semester has been the kind of class professors dream about and screenwriters imagine when they conjure scenes in college classrooms. On Thursday, the last day of class, we’ll all read an excerpt from a life writing piece we’ve been working on. And a big part of me doesn’t want that day to come because then it will be over. I don’t know how to bottle those feelings, to save them for later, for a time when I need to remember why I do the work I do.

My plan as I’m walking into the room is to tell them this, that I’m thinking of Thursday’s class as a kind of present waiting to be opened. But when I get there, these smart, thoughtful, self-aware students who have written their lives with grace and mettle begin asking asinine questions like, Where is your office again? When’s the final essay due? What are we doing on Thursday? Are we meeting next week?

I moan and groan in response. You’re kidding, right?

And I was just about to tell you all about how I think of Thursday’s class as a kind of present waiting to be unwrapped.




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