In my Composition class, we start off the week with something I call a free write. I give students half slips of paper with three writing prompts on them. Students choose one and then are required to write “about a page” and then turn it in. The point is to get ideas flowing and to take away the scary-ness of writing, with less concentration on grammar and structure. (It is secretly my hope that grammar and structure will slowly appear in these as we make our way through the year) Since today was the last day before Thanksgiving break and attendance was low, I had students do a short free write before we watched a nice, feel-good movie.
“Not including people or pets, what is the one thing you are most thankful for and why?” Of course there were the groans, “Why no people, Miss?” “Duh, that would be too easy, kids! Think about the world around you; think about the qualities you possess that make you special.” I began to jot down ideas of my own–just to see what it felt like to do this assignment. Boy, was it challenging! I teach this class 3 times in a row, and I was sort of stuck for all three hours. Maybe not stuck, just trying to find the one thing for which I am most thankful. Kind of a big thing to decide for the woman who is hung up on being specific and is choosy about her words! And, as it turns out, I am thankful for a great many things.
empathy— too deep
humor & laughter–mine or in general?
education–too convoluted since I am contemplating a career change
reading & books–maybe
the ocean–I’ve always loved the ocean…
sense of sight–3rd maybe
Colorado–but I want to move
music–gets me thru my day; lots of memories
So aside from a person/people and my pets, I am most thankful for music. If I had to imagine a world without music, I couldn’t. I think about music and its origins and evolution through time. It’s as fascinating to me as the evolution of oral storytelling to the written word. Music is part of our heritage and has been an integral component in every period of history. Like books and literature, music explores the human experience and somehow links us together.
In nearly every moment in my life, music has been there as a companion, cheerleader, motivator, comfort, or guide. It has gotten me through break-ups; it has calmed me during labor; it makes my 45 minute commute more bearable; it makes my daughter sing and dance; it reminds me of my past; it quiets my mind and lifts my spirit; it helps me to dream of a prosperous future. We listen to uplifting music at funerals and hear songs that make us cry at weddings. I hear music every day of my life, but have never really thought about it in this way. It makes being human, well, more human. And for that, I am thankful.
I look forward to reading my students’ free-writes and I hope that the things they are thankful for are not material. If they are, I understand. I was a teenager once too. And I am pretty darn thankful for my phone too. It’s cool.
Of course, I am most thankful for the people in my life, specifically my little family. Derek, I love your strength and serenity and thank you for loving me. I am a better woman because you’re in my life. Ella Violet, I am pretty sure that words can’t express how thankful I am for you. You’re the brightest star twinkling in my sky. I love you to the moon.
Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends and readers. I am thankful for all of you.