Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Art of Inspiration PART 1

Two weeks ago I took a nonfiction writing class.  I arrived at the first class without an idea.  I thought we would be brainstorming ideas, completing meandering free writes, and discussing topics.  (Lesson learned.  Next time read the syllabus.)  It soon became clear that everyone had an idea and almost everyone was in the final stages of writing their books.  GULP.

My classmates' books sounded awesome. 
  • One woman was writing a memoir.  Her mom left the family when she was 16 and never returned. 
  • One man was writing about prayer.  (I wanted to preorder his book, because he was so calm.) 
  • Someone else was writing about her daughter, who has special needs and can't speak.
  • Oh!  Another woman was writing about growing up in a Tibetan village.  She was going to weave her grandmother's recipes throughout her writing. 
I left the first class feeling frantic and desperate for an idea.  Any idea.  I hastily decided it was time to write about teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for ten years. 

I could start the poignant memoir with being hired to teach 8th grade science in MPS. (My only qualifications for this position was that I once took 8th grade science.)  The memoir would end with the day I finally had enough abuse. (The students had set the dumpster on fire during a staff meeting. Imps!) 

Somewhere over the rainbow, principals are sane . . .
I could sprinkle in "hilarious" vignettes about my parade of administrators.  There was the principal who wrote my final evaluation when I was showing the movie Twister at the end of the weather unit.  (I got very high scores.  Probably because I knew how to operate the remote flawlessly.)  Who could forget the principal who would plink out "Over the Rainbow" on the intercom whenever he felt like it?  He had a piano in his office and preferred to communicate in show tunes.  (Can I add that he was the highest paid administrator in MPS?)  My memoir would also showcase the amazing teachers I was privileged to work with (Mara, Keila, Janell, Jess, Dawn and on and on and on). 

Maybe if I take a nap an idea will come to me in a dream

Here is the catch.  I sat down to start my MPS memoir and found that I didn't want to write it.   Writing it felt like homework.  There was no passion behind my pencil.  My muse had taken a coffee break and I was left sitting there with 2 pages of whining. 

To be continued . . .

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