Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dance with the Devil

I look back at all of these blog posts, and I think: Man, September is the greatest! Look at how much I did and how much energy I had to write about it. There’s some truth there. I think when the weather starts to change and we realize we are limited on time to be adventurous then we do as much as possible. I’ve embraced the fact that “winter is coming.” I’ve done everything I can for the yard and the house to prepare. But my writing has suffered, until this weekend. I’ve been revising the novel I wrote this summer, a book I am so very proud of. I added 4000 words this weekend to a “finished” novel. Not so finished, eh? I have a new development that is essential to the story, the leaves on the trees that I failed to include when describing the forest, so to speak. It will be better than ever, and I can’t wait to share it with the world! I think I have another 10,000 words to include and then will revise again, mostly cutting instead of adding. My goal is to do this over our college’s winter break and have a brand new book to send to agents and publishers by the New Year.

So what else has been happening? There are so many things, and it’s late and I don’t know how much time I have to devote to everything. But I need to reflect. I’ve missed reflecting via writing. It’s so important. And not just a Facebook status. A genuine “dear diary” kind of entry is needed. So here goes.

Well, there’s work. There’s always work. But I love my job. So freakin’ much. So much it hurts on the days I’m not at my best. I think of how I could have treated students better, and I hate when my human emotions affect my classroom performance. Without getting into specifics, I’ll just say this: Teachers are humans too, of course, although it may be hard to see that sitting in a school desk. But some days I worry about other things in life, and then I worry I wasn’t at 110% and I hate that. I always want to be at 110%.

I try to do more at work then just my specific duties, and that’s where the karate club and exercise classes come in. I love both of those programs a ton. Still, I wonder why more people aren’t involved, and that’s my theme for students: WHY DON’T YOU GET INVOLVED!? So many great opportunities. I want to be the teacher who also inspires people to get involved outside the classroom, and I’m afraid if judged solely on data, I’m not doing very well. Maybe 1% of my students have tried the exercise classes or martial arts club? I’m a proponent that we must use our bodies as much as our minds, and I wonder why more don’t take risks and get involved in such unique opportunities. People often ask how I have as much energy as I do, and the answer is simple: Because I’m active! Of course, I know that so many of our students go from full-time school to full-time jobs, and it’s IMPRESSIVE that they have that kind of determination.  Still, I want to see more involved.  

The more I write, the more I think of the past, and how lucky I have been. My title for this blog comes from the 1989 Batman movie starring Michael Keaton. I watched it last night on Netflix, perhaps for the first time since it premiered. The Joker says to Batman, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” It’s a fun line that has always stuck with me, but it makes me think of my childhood and my mom. I remember McDonald’s doing a Batman promotion at the time, and they had special cups for each of the characters. I wanted them all when I was a kid, and I remember my mom spending her evenings and weekends appeasing her child’s silly goals and driving me to every single McDonald’s in the city until I had collected them all.

How beautiful is that?

But at some point, I also lost interest in those hard to collect cups and must have thrown them all away. I don’t have a single one today, and we had moved a couple of times. I assume all were trashed in the moves. Isn’t that a little sad?

Today, and you know this if you’ve read previous blogs, I tend to hold onto items from my youth as if they were worth millions. It’s not the material value that is of importance; it’s the memories. I grew up with people who supported my dreams and goals, no matter how silly. Mom recently asked, “So are you going to quit teaching to be a full-time writer?” That’s how much faith she still has in me. And that is beautiful. (And no, I will always teach. I love it too much to stop, but thank you for having faith that I could make enough money to support myself by only writing.)

So, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Ha.

There are dozens of other things going on. I hope to write and reflect more soon.

But for now, I'll end with this thought:

I worry our younger generations are so wrapped up in capturing each and every moments of their lives, from selfies to recording live concerts on their cell phones instead of living in the moment and simply enjoying them. When I think of the moments from my past that meant the most, they had nothing to do with recording them via technology. They had everything to do with recording them via heart and soul.

It's why a line like "have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" can jolt me right back to my childhood.

It's why I think it's healthy to write, like this, and reflect on the joys (and sorrows) of our past. I know people who delete online updates and pictures because they didn't get enough "likes." Wow. The reason I post at all is to preserve memories. It shouldn't be about likes. You like it. That's all  the matters.

I just want to find the balance between recording our lives via technology and living in the moment. Between writing about life and living life. Perhaps that's why I've slowed down a bit in blogging. At first, all I did was want to write write write. But we have to take as much time to live, read, and love.

Thanks for reading, friends.

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