It’s been interesting, over the last several days, going through literally every single post of my previous blog in search of material for Searching for Malumba. My previous blog started in 2004 and finally petered out in 2009 or so, with a brief revival before moving to this space a couple of years ago.
I was really really angry during those years. Like, all the time. This isn’t a revelation to me, mind you; it was the Bush years, and I have not forgotten what those years were like, but getting the compiled output of my brain for five straight years of that nonsense– plus a year or so of startled relief toward the end after Obama’s election– all dumped into my brain at once has been a little sobering. I also had a horrible job for a good chunk of that time that didn’t help at all. Right now I’m just compiling these posts, but once I start actually rewriting and editing I will be removing a lot more profanity from the earlier posts than I will from the newer ones.
(I won’t be removing all the profanity, mind you, which will make my book a bit atypical in the “teacher memoir” genre. Most of those books are sanitized for the delicate sensibilities of the elderly kindergarten teacher. I will not be doing that. My policy on profanity for The Benevolence Archives has always been to remove about half of it on second pass, and I’ll be following more or less the same policy for Searching for Malumba. I’m considering putting a parental advisory sticker on the cover. I need to find out if that image is copyrighted or not.)*
Actually, speaking of copyright, the other thing I need to do is contact William Carlos Williams’ estate and see if I can get permission to reprint This is Just to Say in the book, because one of my favorite pieces is about that poem and it won’t work if I can’t actually include the poem. I’d quote it, but it’s only about 50 words long, so “excerpt” becomes “reprint half of it” really quickly.
Anyway. The image, in case you’re wondering, was one of my favorites from that time. I have no idea if I found it that way or if I added the speech bubble, but either way I cracked up and immediately saved it once I found it.
I’m starting to Sunday a bit, I think. I haven’t gotten a single callback for an interview all summer despite applying for several jobs that I’m perfectly qualified (if not actually ideal) for. I’ve told my principal I’ll be back at school on Monday; the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stuff we ordered at the end of the school year is currently strewn in boxes throughout the building and it will take at least a week to get through everything in anything resembling a coherent fashion. I still have one solid chance at a position that will keep me out of the classroom but I don’t know how much I should get my hopes up, especially since it comes with its own baggage anyway.
If I get the other job I intend to keep looking for other work, because it’ll be a job I can quit midyear without screwing anything up too badly. If I’m in the classroom… I don’t know. My wife insists that I need to keep looking even if I’m teaching. I don’t know if I can quit on a group of kids partway through the school year. And you never know; I used to like teaching quite a lot, and I’ve been reading lots of stuff about liking teaching. It might end up being a good year. I might not want to leave. But one way or another this has to be my last year with this district. Cold reality is starting to creep up in a way that has nothing to do with me and I need to be gone before all the rats flee the ship.
Actually, that’s not true. I still love teaching, if by “teaching” you mean “helping other people to understand things.” It’s everything else about teaching that I hate. All the non-teaching stuff is awful and gets worse every single year. Entertainingly, the IDOE is commissioning some sort of group to figure out why nobody seems to want teaching licenses in Indiana anymore. It’s been fun, because every article I’ve seen about it has been swarmed by teachers going “Are you kidding? You need to ask?”
The reason no one wants to teach in Indiana anymore is that the laws and policies passed by the Indiana legislature over the last dozen years or so are having their intended effect. This is exactly what they wanted, and no one anywhere has any right to pretend to be surprised.
So. Yeah. Plenty to do today; I just need to decide if I want to focus on fiction, nonfiction, getting my head back on straight, or getting my house back under control. Only a few more days before my time gets substantially restricted again.
(* Answer: No! It’s basically just text and as such is ineligible for copyright. At least according to Wikipedia. So I probably will be including it, because doing so entertains me.)**
(** Slightly more complicated than that, but it still looks like it’s free so long as I file the proper paperwork.)