July 7th, 2008

First Day

I am nervous this morning. In a few hours, I will become a writing tutor for kids. I’ve never done that before, exactly. I’ve worked on writing with plenty of kids, including my own, as they worked on poems and prose. I pushed a classroom of first graders to tell me how things smelled in their poems, how things tasted. But no one has ever told me anything in particular about how to elicit writing from kids.

Oddly enough, I am going to be trained AFTER the first day with the kids. Time may be an illusion and all, but I’d still rather have the training in the illusory period before the first meeting. The good news is that I have the curriculum.

We will listen to someone speak about the organization putting on the writing festival. There will be introductions. There will be mixers. I am relieved that the mixers appear to be the kind that don’t involve water or other embarrassing materials (I used to have to inflict mixers on people on a regular basis and discovered, in reading books of them, that most of them were created by sadists for the express purpose of causing bonding through suffering.). I will try not to appear too entirely jaded to live.

We get to lay the groundwork for how our groups will work today. There is the formal setting of agreements in which we will promise the usual impossible things (and, surprisingly, we will do many of them over the course of our time together). We will also notice the shoes of our new friends, their smiles, the words they choose, the history of their names.

No matter what, I will have changed by the end of the day. Always a good thing.