How the days go this week

In Drafts, En français dans le texte, I Ching, Local projects, Music on January 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

Crying jags. A sure sign I’m exhausted. Hadn’t cast the I Ching in a long time. Did so now, for the hell of it. Hsiao Ch’u, the ninth hexagram. The Taming Power of the Small. Taking small steps; for sure, do I have a choice?


“Si vous saviez comme de remuer le passé a fait battre mon coeur! C’est inouï que, tout à coup, tout ou presque soit remonté en surface ! … Est-ce qu’un jour j’ai pu vraiment trier le bon et le mauvais ? Où vais-je ? Et pourquoi ? Qu’adviendra-t-il ? Assez souvent, en retard, il me faut rattraper Qui? Quoi? Le saurai-je jamais?”

The handwriting: steady. Same with the flow. A single spelling mistake in six hand-written pages. Only in typing out her words do I catch the moments when her mind did something to maintain the internal illusion of continuity.For instance, she’s writing about two different uncles but the reader can’t spot where her memories switched from one to the other. As soon as she stops writing, her befuddlements take over. She no longer recognizes me but to the person who conducted the workshop (me), she left a handwritten copy of the note above. This, from a former French teacher, out on the journey through Alzheimer’s.


Of the written or drawn output in the afternoon session with kids some seventy years younger than the morning group: a cartoon, the approximate size of a pack of cigarettes and the word Réglement (Rule) on one side (yes the accent on the e should point toward the left).

A bit of back story before the main feature: a tense session the previous day when I paired this boy with someone else during a writing exercise.

The cartoon: in profile, a snowman on the left, Santa Claus on the right, and a tiny green figure in the middle (below the level of the guns both the snowman and Santa Claus point toward one another.) After he explained the green figure was a Santa’s leprechaun serving as witness to the duel, I had him find a witness for the Snowman. He chose a star and asked me to write in the words in English. The leprechaun is #12. The story, (I translate): Snowman is jealous of Santa Claus because he’s popular, he wants to kill him to take over his role. He calls on Star to testify about the duel and rings on Santa’s door who was busy answering letters with #12


One of the playground supervisors had her hands and arms full, restraining a young boy in total meltdown. She and I did a brief time out together. Restraining violent meltdowns isn’t all cookies and milk for the grownups doing the work.

Then, I went in search of  my two nine-year old pupils, and became concerned when I couldn’t find them. They were sitting in the classroom, sharing roasted sunflower seeds, and worrying about me being late. “We thought you were sick,” they said.

We worked on their “books”: sheets of paper folded in half. One boy is doing his on construction equipment and found his title: Les Travaux Publics. The second – working his book in a horizontal layout – goes straight to the point also. The book is called Les Avions. The first boy insisted on putting down my name as co-writer on his work.

Our next project: a story book sized project based on their favorite read, so far: Une journée sur la rivière.


Then I sang my guts out at rehearsal, as did all the other harassed, harried, worried and/or droopy assortment of teachers, actors, professional gardeners, day laborers and  unemployed musicians in the group.


Draft? Just the thought feels like a pair of droopy, reproachful eyes.



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