It looks like I'll be able to quickly join the Telling Room's teaching-artist roster (after jumping through a few simple hoops), and that is good news. The organization offers a decent hourly wage, and it focuses on in-school residencies, often in collaboration with other writers, which means that I will not only learn more personally but will also be able to share a wider array of ideas with my Frost Place teachers. Plus, the Telling Room administrators do all the grunt work of setting up the residencies, which means that the teaching artists can focus their energies on curriculum development and actual student interaction, not on writing begging letters to schools. I'm sure there will be kinks and quirks to work through, but on the whole I'm excited about getting involved.
After yesterday's meeting I slid-skipped back home along the icy sidewalks, stopping only to fill my backpack with bread, day-old pizza slabs (99 cents each! such a bargain!), and salami. Tomorrow the stove-repair guy will be here, just in time for the arrival of my older son and his girlfriend, and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to cook something for the holidays--a batch of shortbread, a pot of mulled wine, maybe even a doll-sized cauldron of minestrone. Today I am actually going Christmas shopping, and I think I can manage to get everyone a single small gift. The holiday will be a tiny celebration to go along with our tiny tree and our tiny kitchen. But no one in the family will be living alone in a boarding house that smells of sadness and Hot Pockets. No one will be staring out the window into silence and ice and wondering how to kill the hours of the day. No one will be far away in a midwestern city, feverishly working another tedious overtime shift at Macy's or NBC. No one will be hunched in a badly lit dorm room at 2 a.m., high on caffeine and anxiety and trying to finish that damn paper about Richard III. Instead, we will all be crammed into a little apartment, trying to sleep late but tormented by a bouncing bored cat who enjoys opening presents that aren't his, making too many pots of coffee, going for walks to look at other people's Christmas lights, trying to figure out where to hang up our wet bath towels, complaining when the hot water runs out, talking about this and that, listening to whatever music Tom decides we should listen to on the stereo, and so on and so on. Just imagine family life in the doll house, when the dolls are too tall to fit easily and you have to take off the roof to cram them into the chairs and beds.