A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
A few weeks ago, I commented on a book a co-worker was reading. I had come up to the front of the cafeteria to the cash register to relieve her for her break and she had her book sitting on the counter. I picked it up and read the back of it. It looked like a bodice ripper kind of novel, but it was set in Paris, so I asked her about it. She started to tell me that it was kind of a mystery thing with a supernatural element, but that the author had three other books in the series that she owned. She asked me if I wanted to read them. I don’t have the time or the energy to read for pleasure right now, but I said yes anyway. The next week, she had the books packed up in a Safeway bag and I took them home. A few more weeks passed and then I finally picked it up and started reading. I was about 100 pages from the end when I saw her again. We chatted about the book and compared notes on who was our favorite character and what sort of supernatural character he really was (vampire werewolf half-breed it seems). And while this book has very little, if any, literary merit, nothing quite compares with the way her eyes lit up when we talked about the book. Or the surprise in her voice that I actually read the book.
This is the book that she loaned me.
It was then that I realized something. While I may antagonize over the disconnect I see in classrooms, there is still so much hope. Reading a book someone recommends to me is so much bigger than just reading the book. The woman who shared this series with me is in her fifties at least and I sat next to her son in my high school typing class. His best friend, the only boy who ever treated him as more than just some weird quiet guy who always wore blue, died this summer. And I would have never ever known any of this if I hadn’t read that book. If I hadn’t shown that I actually cared enough to read it, we would still just be strangers. Reading a book someone recommends to you is so much more than just the book or yourself. It’s an invitation. It’s an acknowledgement that the other person matters. That you care.
This realization hit me full force last night as I was sitting in the auditorium during the high school’s glee club’s fall performance. One boy came out to sing a duet, “A Whole New World,” and he was so nervous. It was obvious. He was having trouble breathing right and he hit some of the notes off key, but he was out there. And I thought to myself, this is all so much bigger than I am. As a future teacher, attending events like these matters so much to my students. To be able to tell this kid the next day, “Hey, you did great out there,” is so important. Even if they never acknowledge that you were there or that your opinion counts. They care. They care so much. Another boy sang “Going the Distance,” from Hercules, and missed the entire middle piece of the song. He stood there in the middle of the stage and just smiled uncomfortably. Everyone knew that this is that boy’s theme song. This is his hope and his dream all summed up so well by Disney and he’s so nervous he can’t make a sound. The audience gave him a standing ovation. That means something. That means more than just getting a kid to read or to write. It means that they’re a valuable human being and you can’t wait to see what they do or where they go next.
So, I am now resolved to read every book a student recommends to me, no matter how busy or how stressed I am, or how lame the book looks/reads. I will try and go to every sporting event, theater event, speech meet, etc. that I possibly can. Because it is all so much bigger than I am. I can give them all the time of day because each and every one of my future students is worth it because they are a wonderful human being.
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Brought Together By a Love of Running
I discuss fossils
No One Here But a Writer Who Gets Up and Try
Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
Psychological, thriller, mystery, secrets, betrayal, adoption, romance, poetry, art
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)