Where I took my mind for spring break

Physically, I had a staycation for spring break.

I was at home and the office pretty much all week, except for the occasional trip to the grocery store. It was quiet and I needed that. I had reading I needed to do for my class on Dickens, thirteen professional papers I needed to edit (2-4 hours per paper), some writing that I needed to do (the first weekend of spring  break)–which then inspired a blog post that will be my writing guide for the next year or two. SO that last thing was huge.

I hope.

I have been wanting to write about my teaching life for a long time and just didn’t feel like I could do it or what that would mean or look like. But in the last few weeks–thanks to you all in Honors Comp II, students in my Dickens’s class, and a few friends–I seem to have gotten INSPIRATION big time. Everything started to come together a week ago Sat. I’m delighted because, as writers, you know how hard it can be to articulate a large idea into parts that can be conquered over time. Like a research project with various requirements, writing a book is a gesture in faith as well as perseverance. And I will need to persevere (don’t you think there’s a good reason “severe” is part of that word?).

But the good thing is–the vision crystallized and clarified a bit.

My spring break mental trip, then, was something of a map of the future, a path I can follow to grow and learn and keep writing. It is a yellow brick road to something like an emerald city, an Oz, that I need to get to, in order to find the wizard, discover he’s just a dude behind a curtain, defeat an evil witch, tap my ruby slippers together, and come on home–to where I’m happiest.

That would be a classroom. Home is a classroom.


Dreams and visiting writers

On Monday, February 20, our class had visiting writers (seniors in high school) who have applied to AUM. As part of their day on campus, they came to participate in our class. Every visitor got a computer to work on while we did our writing. They were invited to send me their in-class writings that focused on dreams, the past, or memory. We talked about how, really, all these things were connected and deeply linked to the idea of higher education: have to get “past the past” sometimes in order to learn; we must have dreams to keep us going (or be aware of the dreams we have while we sleep and what they might tell us), and we also need to remember–memorialize–keep memories alive. And all of that goes into making up what knowledge we acquire and how we learn to apply that to various situations.

Four guest writers chose to share their work with us: thank you for being with us and writing with us and sharing with us. There’s no way we grow as writers without growing together.

Space Gorgeousness (JPL)

Many thanks to all who visited–we hope to see you all in the coming year. Keep your eyes on the stars–it’s one of the first things humans must have dreamed about, memorialized, wondered about, and wrote about.

Visiting Writer #1

Dreams take you to a place that you sometimes wish you could stay in forever and some make you want to leave immediately.  I read once that every person that you encounter in your dreams you have met in real life.  So, that serial killer may be your mailman or that handsome hero may be that creepy neighbor that lives just three houses down.  I do believe that you have met all the people in your dreams before, where else would all of those crazy ideas originate?

Very often do I experience déjà vu, that moment where I look around and I am utterly confused for about ten whole seconds that feel like eternity that is followed by laughter and all my friends saying déjà vu? What scares me about the frequent occurrences of these dreams turned into reality is what about the nightmares?   Is that dream I had about somebody breaking into my home really going to happen someday? Because I hope and pray that it does not.

I love dreams. They take me to places that I would never experience in real life and I love that.  I adore seeing new things—it thrills me.  On my bucket list is starting a dream book.  How cool would that be? To look back on these new experiences and “relive” them would be worth a lot to me.  But who has time to write dreams down before they are forgotten? Maybe one day I will.

Outer Space is Dreamy (JPL)

Visiting Writer #2

We celebrate random days during the year, set aside to commemorate things that have happened in the past, whether they are important to one being or completely irrational even with an explanation. The days are considered holidays and are celebrated without question, whether one knows the meaning behind the day or not.

While some may consider the past to be simply the past, it is something that creates each of our characters. In some ways, you could think each past experience; whether it is something that had great impact or something you can’t even remember, as Legos. These Legos are placed together in certain ways to create your way of thinking and the way you handle life’s every-day situations. You couldn’t be the person you are today without the experiences that have been bestowed upon you. Each of these experiences in itself creates a better and more wise “you”. It is only a hope that this new information is used in such a way that it betters the world around us.

And, while dreams are thought to be simple, mindless imaginings, how is one to know that these are not but memories, being brought back up from a past life or mindset that you once thought was your own—thoughts and images that your eyes have seen but your brain has not, therefore you consider them irrelevant. It’s hard for people to wrap their head around a new way of thinking because we have been taught and conditioned into a certain way of thinking. It’s hard for me to recall a certain dream and speak of it as though it was a story that could never happen. While most of my dreams are some strange string of events that make no sense at all, broken apart each piece pertains to something that is going on in my life, whether it is a fear or happening, or an actual happening.

I work as a waitress, and I often dream about our business being in a bigger building. At the moment, I work all nine tables by myself unless I have a busboy for the night, which isn’t often. In my dreams, I will have dozens of tables. Then, all of a sudden, we will become so busy that I can’t keep my thought process on the right track, and people begin to get impatient. I have a very good memory when it comes to my job, so it is a big fear that I will think I committed something to memory when in reality I didn’t, creating a complete loss of control over the dining room and resulting in udder chaos. Chaos is something that gives me anxiety. I believe this is why I dream about this. I think there have been times when this is the way I felt, even though it wasn’t in the view of our customers.

 Visiting Writer #3

Dreams are seen in two different perspectives. For me, dreams can be chased. Chasing your dreams gives you something to look forward too. Chasing dreams builds up your adrenaline and pushes you to keep moving forward. No one said that reaching your goal would be easy, but the trials you go through to accomplish your dream makes everything worth it.

A dream also comes to you when you’re asleep. To me, that is meaningful because some dreams make you feel like a different person when you wake up. The career that I want to pursue came to me in a dream. I didn’t know how much I really wanted to help people.

Space--The Place of Dreams (JPL)

The Magic of Space (JPL)

I remember being in an operating room and someone was about to have surgery. Of course, before surgery you have to give the patient anesthesia. I was the one to give the anesthesia to the patient. The dream went on and during the procedure, the anesthesia started to wear off. I had to give the patient more anesthesia.

When I woke up the next morning…that is exactly what I wanted to do. No, I don’t want to be an anesthesiologist, but I do want to be the nurse anesthetist.

Remember, dreams are worth the struggle. You have to work hard for what you want. It’s not going to come to you. Don’t let your dreams pass by you!

Visiting Writer #4

Dreams… when you hear the word dream what comes to mind? Is it a dream on when you were younger and wanted to travel the world or one on when you are older and want to be steadfast in your career?  When I think of dreams I think of goals that I would like to accomplish. Goals take time, effort, and heart. Dreams can also be something that a person knows is impossible to reach but it gives them the momentum to continue with a day’s work.

You may wonder well were do the word dream come from? You may wonder well how is dreams important to the things I do in life? Dreams to me come from a person’s train of thought it allows one to wonder and want things that gives them excitement and comfort. Dreams are important because it makes something worth doing and worth going through that struggle for. It opens a person’s confidence and brings it forth to be pushed to its full potential. Dreams are not just an ideal it’s a type of motivation, inspiration, courage to know that one day that dream will be conquered and become one’s reality.

Dreams are not just a child’s imagination or an adult lust. It’s food to one’s soul; it caters to its wants. Dreams push a person in a mind state where everything is possible but it’s just going to take some time.

(Image Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)