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.

But still.

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.)

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