Becoming useful to yourself: Random moments from Journal 265

Topic for journaling freewrite: What’ll you be at age 33? Well, for you, do 15 years in future–shoot, 58! Damn, I’ll be nearly retired. I may not live, of course. But say you do, you’ll probably still be here, teaching. That’s not so bad. In 15 years, I hope I’ll still be married to M. I pretty much would like my life to be then like my life is now–journaling, dog walking–though my poor Sammy likely won’t be around then. It’s not stasis I want but routine. I like my life. What could change it–deaths, crises, problems–it can only get worse? Ha! [Page 22, Weds. 20 Sept. 2017, 3rd period class. I write daily journals in my creative writing class  as my students also write so I can model journaling for them.]

Ceiling detail, Cherryvale Mall, Cherry Valley, Ill. 29 Sept. 2017

Have them write about reality. So, yesterday, we went to a place and wrote about what we really saw, heard, felt, [movies leave out smells because smells can’t be transported via wire (media) so it’s not a priority for those actors/producers] and so, let’s talk today about what you really think real is–how define it, what is it and what it’s not, how can you tell. Let’s do a definition of real: what is real matters for you as an individual because what you regard as real is what you think matters. If zombies don’t exist, you don’t have to prepare for zombie apocalypse. But if you fear nuclear war is a real possibility, you act differently. [Page 23, Weds. 20 Sept. 2017, 7-8 period class]

♣  So, what do I value? Gardening. I want to live in a place where I can garden, not just for the fresh food but also for the experience of growing and caring for things, digging in the dirt, weeding, etc. I value having some time each day to journal, to create. I value not overworking but keeping my work confined to my workdays, as much as possible. I value being aware of my thinking, aware of my distinctions. I value being honest–not blunt, necessarily, but honest. I value, sure, freedom, accountable government, etc. I value not-knowing, uncertainty, not being over-confident. [Page 33, 21 Sept. 2017, 3rd hour]

  Some things I saw this morning: Saw flea-like bug, 2nd day on a row. Saw solid-color sheets for senior toga day this year: Maria, red toga. Jessie E., sage green. Justin, Jessie G., Karly: black. Jocelyn, red. Mychaela, teal. Gwen, burgundy. Saw my dog poop twice, and saw and heard him bark at neighbor. Looked at my red canvas-covered 9 by 12″ journal–nice journal, though corners weren’t completely covered. Saw cut-up green peppers for lunch and washed tomatoes.  [Page 39, Friday, 22 Sept. 2017, 3rd hour]

  Topic for journaling freewrite: You go to school to make yourself useful to others, but how can you be useful and interesting to yourself? Well, the first part of that was a problem for me. I didn’t want to be interesting to others. I programmed, liked it, liked having the skills, being known for that, but I never thought much about jobs I’d work–not ’til I got to college, not ’til well into my year of  Computer Science. I never thought about job as being useful so much as finding my work satisfying. Thus, my philosophy major and my teaching job. [Page 52, Mon. 25 Sept. 2017, 10th hour]

  I said on drive in to work today that I might as well look at myself as the calf in the pasture–as not really in charge. [Page 55, Tues. 26 Sept. 2017, 3rd hour]

 OK, it’s now 8th hour, noon:58, and I’ve been reading online and getting bored with that, and I’m sleepy and I don’t feel like grading and it’s Friday, so push stuff off to the weekend, or to next week, huh? [Page 74, Fri. 29 Sept. 2017, 8th hour]

Building labeled 102 State Street, Madison, Wis. My great-great-grandfather H.I. Gibson practiced dentistry in this building a century ago. Photographed 1 Oct. 2017.

 Mitch Hedberg is dead. 59 people died at that Vegas shooting. To be alive, and then dead. Tom Petty’s dead of a heart attack–66 years. And to be alive and then dead. My uncle works out–his dad had a stroke in his late 60s, right? … Today’s a new day in which to live. [Page 85, Tues. 3 Oct. 2017, 3rd hour]

Topic for journaling freewrite: What’s the least-loved thing you own? Well, that’s a good question. The cat, I’d joke, or the cat’s shit, but I don’t hold onto that. Maybe broken garden tools–that one-prong cultivator, or the rake with broken-off head. Papers I can’t give up but don’t really want to look at often? What about clothes that I don’t like wearing but haven’t discarded yet? Or maybe gifts (like now there’s a blender thing around kitchen) that we don’t use and can’t get rid of ? What about all the stuff I’m saving to use “in case”–like old shoes I’m keeping just to wear into a creek or into cement (like if I’m helping work it) one day? Or for “least-loved,” what about this: pants that are still in good shape but which I’ve grown too wide-waisted to wear? [Page 100, Fri. 6 Oct. 2017, 3rd hour]

[Today’s variation of a random-page-number look-up: I’m getting a random number for the first 20 pages of writing, then adding an additional random number of 1-20 to that page, and repeating until the end of the notebook.]

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