Friday, June 6, 2008
I loved designing this simple space that will be my home for as long as the world allows it. In the sidebar, a photograph of my husband and myself, fresh from nuptials, our rings still sparkling in the sparse Alaskan sun. I love the way the zip line gear has our clothing all bunched up, awkward, and our proud grins--me, that I did it, and him, well, also that I did it. Facing fear (oh, how woozy I get when I look down). How important that is to open up our arms and be brave in this world.
That's what this is about, right? Risk. Perhaps I'm facing my three years of risk. Perhaps it's always about taking risks. Perhaps it's about knowing exactly what risk is.
I also think about what we miss out on because we aren't brave. The whole time I was zip lining, I kept praying for it to be over, but that momentary joy of speed, that flash above the trees--it was worth all the tree clinging and stomach clenching fear. Maybe leaving a comfortable profession will be that too: scary, but good, in the end.
I chose this title because of the layered play on words. Perhaps a certain slant of light was about coming out from that fog of forgetting, my discoveries of the world behind the lens and along the lines of a blank page. Here, I want to explore the layers of sediment, the layers of self, but also, quite literally, my work within the field of poetry. My secondary interest, as I mold the manuscript, will take shape, but right now, I have a renewed interest in the natural world as well as the photographic world. I am compelled to hitch the camera up, to get my hands and feet dirty, to feel the world beneath my fingertips.
But that field can shift, unlike "theteacher" part of my former blog. That is permanent, that label. When I set out, I intended to catalog my experiences as a high school teacher, but the purpose of the blog changed, mainly when I landed on other blogs: Christina and Kate being two of my favorites, for the language, the imagery. For the beyond, thematically speaking. How we don't have to fit one life into a tiny box and put ourselves on repeat. At first, I loved documenting my lessons, reflecting candidly on what went well, what was an embarrassing flop, but then was found out, stilled, grew quiet. What else would a blog be for, now that so much had to be anonymous? The fear of losing my job for writing about my job was fretful; I cringed when we spoke of teacher reflection on post-observation days. I couldn't write about the time when I had to take a moment, let my team teacher take over, so I could cry in frustration in the bathroom because it was all just too much, the musical and the IEP meetings and the committees and the girl who had oppositional defiant disorder and would stream out swear words and taunts and instigations, little bits on the barbeque skewer. I couldn't admit the fear I had when a student of mine was found with a hit list (and the subsequent horror I felt at the bullying that went on in my classroom untouched by the deans and the police liaison officer I reported it to) or the colleague who was fired for what is rumored to be drugs found in his apartment or the other colleague who was forced out for throwing a fit after a basketball game or the other colleague whose contract was not renewed at the cusp of tenure due to incompetence. I never wanted to be found out for whispering about these things or worse yet--reflecting on these things. I did begin, in late winter of my second year, to express the fear that eventually became a job loss due to budget cuts. And I realized then what a comfort a blog can be--of writing, of reflecting, and still more--the breast lump, the musical photographs I was proud of when I discovered the thrill of a Canon Rebel, the way my hand twined in Ryan's (who was alternately called Husband and K before I said fuck it and named him). The first swearing on a blog post. The first time I posted my own photograph, realizing this is it, I can no longer hide behind anonymity.
I don't want to anyway. After all, this is who I am now. And I'm so grateful you've opted to come along.