7 hours ago
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Sunday Afternoon; or, My Wasted Youth
When I was a kid, Sunday afternoon was the saddest phrase in the phrasebook.
Because back to school on Monday was right there.
Unless you hated school quite as much as I did, you probably don't share the visceral dread of Sunday afternoon and evening I still (to this day) get.
It's a nice afternoon here, sunny and not too cold. I opened the window for the cats and I've been working steadily away on my novel and on prepping for my SF workshop (I am finally teaching a SF workshop this semester). Plus also the semester ahead looks almost pleasant: I am teaching only three classes, all of them excellent classes. (1) Grammar (2) Women's World Literature (3) SF Workshop. AND I have T/R off for writing purposes.
Partly school was so awful for me as a kid because I went to terrible schools. Partly it was so awful because I was nearly blind as a child, and no one noticed until I was eleven or twelve -- I literally couldn't see more than a foot or so away; my memories of my teachers and classmates are of pale smears. When my teachers wrote on the board, I saw nothing at all. Partly it was because the work they gave me to do at the desk was so amazingly tedious. I remember stapled together packets of worksheets that were 10 or fifteen pages thick. I don't know if this memory is accurate, but I do remember just not doing them.
These were analogy worksheets, "Fish is pond to flower is to ____"
Pages and pages of that. Also pages and pages of math facts; and pages and pages of crossword "games" that were supposed to teach us history and spelling; and pages and pages of geography exercises; and pages and pages of who knows what else shit, I didn't do any of it. I kid you not, from about third grade on through my sophomore year of high school I got Cs, Ds, and Fs in everything. How I graduated I have no idea. (I did better in college.)
Anyway. My point. Do I have one?
I think I am just attempting to examine why I feel so gloomy right now.
Though I might be thinking about the lifelong damage that a terrible education system can do to Your Tender Child.
Yeah. That's the ticket.
(Oh: and my youth wasn't entirely wasted. All that time I wasn't filling in worksheets, I spent writing novels in the fat notebooks where I ought to have been taking notes. I didn't learn algebra, but I did learn story structure and dialogue.)