Friday, February 16, 2007

and comfort

A letter came, pencil smeared with tears. I hear you. I am listening. I will tell you what I know, which is not much. I will tell you what I think and do and believe, what helps me--which changes every day, which sometimes is not enough (the man prone at the end of the escalator, the EMT’s standing around).

Here is what I do know: the best way to be comforted is to comfort someone else. I know this. It is partially the reason I teach. Loving my students helps me love myself. I will write this down.

Here I am. I looked out the window, and the snow on the roof was so blinding white, I thought for a moment we were somewhere else: Colorado, Vermont.

Here’s what I need. I need advice. I am making my last push. I am looking out for my story, but also for my future and my family. I have been writing for twenty-five years. I need to be true and good to that little girl who made up stories in an Indiana field. I need to be good and true to that little girl who is the heroine of my story. And I need to be good and true to that little boy to whom my story is dedicated.

I want a lot. I want everything, but I promise a lot. I promise everything. I deliver.

That is my advice to you, old student, friend. Want a lot. Want everything, and give a lot. Give everything, every day. Give until you have nothing. Then start again and again.