Equinox week

after the tumult of last week, this past week has been labelled normal, regular.

A few rockets landed on our kibbutz fields, but not our residential areas. This is normal, regular.

bouquet of words
fragrant thorns and blooms
this foggy morn

As always, I begin my day reading the day’s poetry contributions, personal news and then I put my hand to my keyboard and see what haiku is born.

The above was this morning’s offering. Words in their fragrance contain both gentility and barbs – all wrapped up in a natural package. The morning fog cleared away fast. And to my horror, I realized that my windows and screens were entirely plugged up after this winter’s sandstorms.

I wanted light. I wanted air.  I wanted Spring.

and so I spent an hour or so trying to divide the dirt from the clean to end up with maximum sunlight in a rather unusually dark house.

Exhaustion.

What happened to the fairies that once came round to dust and shine while I spent my time writing books and gluing puppets?

Apparently they’ve moved on.

Puppets this week.  Here is a pupil with a puppet who received a costume upgrade which unfortunately malfunctioned. Pants slipped down and were in general encouraged to do so until a female student offered a more dignified performance. She’s not shown and either is the little boy (for reasons of privacy, you know)

Grade 7 pupil with puppet!

I attended the Voices Poetry Group Meeting, Be’er Sheva Branch.

We offered our work, escape into Greece, memories of the last war, re-finding Eden, a love poem to a beloved recently departed wife and my week’s worth of haiku – each day a dollop of mind during a war week.

All therapies welcome. Comment if you have  a favourite therapy.

Me in red, Rosa beside me. Voices Poetry Meeting

too many projects? of course, too many projects

Just wondering.

Was there a time that I didn’t have too many projects?

A time when I could really feel that it didn’t matter when I woke up or if I took a few naps during the day because my time was simply that: my time.

time in a dumpster, photo by iris

Writing this, I know the answer: no matter if I have projects or not, time is always ‘my time’. There’s always a given that I have an element of choice. Whether or not I show up at my job, or spend hours and hours preparing for a specific presentation, there’s always an element of self-determination. I’m not browbeaten into doing something – but rather there’s a moment where through my own logic and assessment of desire, I’ve agreed to participate in the event.

Take, for example, teaching. I went into it by ‘mistake’. The story was that I approached the Education Ministry in Tel Aviv way back when I first moved to the city. I wanted to work on an English Children’s Theatre. They listened politely and then suggested that I join in a special new course for new immigrants with a B.A. to become an English Teacher. The Ministry then smiled and added that I’d be free to implement ‘theatre’ in my lessons! Win-win! (they said). After much pondering and discussion with members of my commune (artists, musicians, photographers),  I decided that it would be rational to have a teaching certificate as a surefire way to earn a living in my newfound homeland.

Thus, I embarked on a life that I’d agreed to: waking up early to take 3 buses to school, studying, returning  home, doing shopping for a household, sharing in meal preparation (usually only one meal, served in the evening), doing my batik, practicing my bongos, doing voice work and making puppets, participating in house events and getting a few hours sleep before repeating the schedule. After 7 months of this, I received my teacher’s certificate, and incorporated English teaching into my regular schedule of puppetry and all the rest.

This was back in 1980. I taught wonderful Puppet English for many years in many locations and only in 1986 did I actually start working in schools. I tried to serve the English Ministry well by incorporating theatre into my lessons, but it was the natural pantomime sort which came from my lack of translation skills. To define vocabulary items, I had to use drama. And, of course, I insisted that my students also use it to practice their English.

So back to the title of this blogpost: too many projects.  I’ve always had a variety of projects running simultaneously.  These days the threads involve teaching, researching, creating materials and studying, while constantly studying how to make more meaningful contact with students’ natural curiousity.

Time for reflection is perhaps the most important element that I’ve added to the mix. Constant evaluation and thoughtful re-framing so that I don’t beat myself up over a lesson that didn’t shoot straight into a student’s brain.

Some things take time. What might appear as a missed target may in fact reap rewards years from now.  Hayuta, a now retired teacher, once told me that when teaching Special Ed students, for example, to expect visible results only after 4 years.  This long term timeframe does wonders for one’s stress level. Things take time. Any project takes time.

But whether I’m building a presentation, a lesson or a puppet, each step towards the desired outcome is a good step. Even if I change directions and start again – each step is a good, creative step.

Too many projects? There’s always something waiting patiently for me to pay it some attention.

  • Like the discarded chair my cousin and I found in the garbage: I’m going to fix it up.
  • Like the puppet for Adele: I’m going to build it.
  • Like the talk for HOTS (higher order thinking skills) I’m going to finish.
  • Like Lesson 9 out of 12 of my online course.
  • Like the shirts I want to design, cut and sew.
  • Like the book review of Martina’s new book that I’ve begun and need to finish

You get the idea.

Lots of projects. Of course! Lots of opportunity for new ideas. Yeah! Makes it exciting. For sure!