My sweetie Nicole starts school today, and she put in about 12 hours of organizational work at home yesterday. After she finished in the evening, she showed me a deeply detailed spreadsheet of all the students she works with; I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s necessary, I think, given the strange new world she’s entering. But it puts the lie to the ridiculous “lazy” claims some are making about teachers (us, I should say) lately.
For myself, I’m missing the work, but at least I have good books handy. My favorite phenomenon in reading is encountering something in one book that leads me to another book that leads me to something non-literary. I have been strolling through a Zadie Smith essay collection for over a year (her best pieces are like a glass of good bourbon: strong, a little spicy, with unique notes), and in a piece I read recently she wrote about the influence a book, The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi, had had on her–she was re-reading it after having first wrestled with it as a kid. The chunks she excerpted were delightfully wicked, like Wilde, so I had to read it myself. 15 pages in, I had to look up Kureishi; I hadn’t known he wrote the screenplays for two movies that were wildly popular when I was a video clerk but had never gotten around the seeing, My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy & Rosie Get Laid. I may have missed the boat thirty years ago, but it’s docked and ready for me now (if I can find the latter streaming somewhere). I love reading–it’s incredibly exciting, simple as that.
A teacher friend of mine started his classes the other day with a counterintuitive ice-breaking query: “What’s one boring fact about you?” Takes the pressure off having to dare to be interesting! Let’s play: you share in the comments, and here is mine.
I completely peel a banana before I eat it.
Streaming for Strivers:
Soul, jazz-style, courtesy of two masters.