Stumbling Over Inspiration

Writing inspiration is all around you, unless you live under a rock or in one of those dark, dank artist’s attics that we’re supposed to inhabit. I love it when I stumble over something that I can’t wait to add to a story. I just did my daily check-in at salon.com and ran right into one of those delightful details that not only reminded me of my own school days (and not in a pleasant way), but demanded to be written into A Well-Educated Boy.

Down with classroom icebreakers: Can we all just start teaching instead? is by a teacher who probably remembers his own school days, and has some excellent advice for teachers who insist on boring the pants off their new classes as a way to start the school year. I don’t remember if I had to sit through recitals of the entire year’s syllabus, but I do remember icebreakers, and not just from school.

As a very private introvert, right from birth, probably, I detested those “getting to know you” sessions that rarely do more than embarrass the hell out of everyone who’s forced to participate in them. It’s another of those social rituals that are rarely disrupted by someone with the courage to say that they have nothing to say. Everyone meekly reveals their name, their favorite whatevers, and heaves a sigh of relief when it’s all over.

Every time I read some bit of news about how schools have found yet another way to violate kids’ privacy, sense of self, sense of safety, I look back and wish I could do it all over again, but with my mature experience of life and the perspective it’s given me. I would like to be the one who says “I don’t give a damn about everyone’s favorite whatevers and I’m not going to tell you mine.”

I do believe that’s what Hart is going to do. And it will be another black mark on the record that sends him to an alternative school to learn to keep his mouth shut and follow the rules.

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4 thoughts on “Stumbling Over Inspiration

  1. Reading material on the blogs I frequent has gotten kind of sparse lately; I’ll try out the salon.com link since you go there. I’ve tried reading medium – didn’t care for screaming at the top of lungs to get noticed.

    Feeling very introverted today – a couple places have gotten corrupted by the banning I got; I don’t know whether I’m being shunned or not, and I’m damned if I’m going to ask, but I’m not comfortable being there if they are not happy with me being there. And it was an outlet I had hopes for.

    So back to writing, and trying to not be so needy!

    If there were a real-life someone cheering me on occasionally, it would be easier, but I seem to be in this one all by myself. When the WORK is hard, then EVERYTHING in LIFE is hard at the same time. Whine, whine, whine: you don’t have to write, Alicia.

    1. Go ahead and whine. Sometimes we just need to, and know someone is listening. My family has zero interest in my writing (probably aren’t even aware that it’s something I’m serious about, so I know what that’s like. It doesn’t bother me, but that means I do occasionally get up in front of my readers’s faces. My pathetic version of self-promotion. As for banning, I think I was once, many moons ago. I lived. It’s raw for a while, but it will recede into the background eventually.

      1. I’m not worrying about being banned, but the banner is someone from a group I was starting to get comfortable with (okay, I invested MONTHS in it), and it took me several days to wonder if the banner had said something privately.

        It didn’t work for the reasons I joined, but they were good people.

        Usually, if I offend, and someone calls me on it publicly, I apologize and/or explain – whichever seems to be necessary – and it’s over. I’m not used to the chilling effect – and hope I’m imagining it. But the other person has been a member far longer.

        It’s the uncertainty: I can handle outright banning – I know where I stand.

        I never claimed to be a nice person, but I have reasonably good manners – I am not, nor do I aspire to be, the center of the universe!

  2. It’s the uncertainty that’s most frustrating, I agree. You ask politely for a reason, but never get one. I suspect someone is offended and just doesn’t want to admit they’ve been petty.

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