Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teaching Moment

Day 15. Teaching Moment - Sometimes we find teachers in the most unexpected places. Who surprised you as a teacher this year, and what did you learn?

As we reach the middle of December, I find this Reverb11 project to be a most surprising teacher. I was sure during this year that I was paying attention and being awake. An intense year of art and writing surely was a time of focus; still these questions, near the end of the year, find me without answers. I feel like Herman Cain saying, “No, that’s a different one….I gotta go back and see….I got a lot of stuff twirling around in my head.”  Well, actually, I never feel like Herman Cain, but I am surprised at how little I remember about this year. My focus was a spotlight on my work, when it should have been more of a floodlight on my life.

This is precisely what makes Reverb11 such an excellent exercise; it asks questions that we could be asking every day. I’ve never been one to make resolutions or keep a rolling record of my days, but that sort of attention to the detail of life completely wakes me up to what I am doing. It wakes me beyond what I thought I was; I thought I was awake, when I was sleepwalking.

Now, I’m going to do what I always say is future's futile hope; I’m going to make resolutions. I dislike even saying it, but you can hold me to it. I am going to carry my camera everywhere I go; I don’t mean my camera phone; I mean my real 35mm. There were so many moments, so many miracles, that I saw this year that I could have shared, like the day the praying mantis nest hatched. Have you ever seen that? Hundreds of tiny green twigs scurrying about, faster than light, eating each other; you have to separate them to various locations of the property or they might devour their kin; crazy, but an intense sensation, so much to learn about life.

I will keep a journal of days; the weather, the sounds, the stories of the bees, the comings and goings of the all-around-me.  Like you, I am at the center of the universe; that should be noticed, appreciated, repeated in your story, history, her story.

Sure, there are other solutions and resolutions I should reconsider, but attention is my daily deficit. My attention needs my attention more than my diet, my exercise, or my phobias. To paraphrase my old buddy, the Buddha, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

I could wait until January first, the new year’s day, but I will start early, in the morning, tomorrow morning, Friday; no need to set an alarm; I will be awake.


  1. first. this will be wonderful. i love the day to day stuff. i am glad i found you before you began this, so i can be there from day 1.

    second. reverbing. because i did talk about all this stuff through the year, i feel as if i am doing too much looking backward. i am looking for ways to spin the questions forward.

    can't wait to see your days.

  2. I am so eager to look ahead. I feel like I've been trapped on pause for much too long. So much to learn!

  3. I am so glad that there will be more here from you. When you ended your Civil War project, I missed your writing.
    Paying attention is the hardest thing to do in life. It seems like it should be so easy, but we forget, again and again and again. I'm glad we are all here to remind each other.

  4. as I read these words I got goosebumps, imagining what a praying mantis nest hatching must look like, imagining you and your camera early in the morning, and knowing how much fuller my life will be reading more of your words.


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