Monthly Archives: May 2010

Why yes. Yes I am.

I was sitting on the steps on the MET a few Sundays ago reading Georgia Heard to the soundtrack of live cello music in front of me.  I met the most interesting guy. We struck up a conversation that led to the question, “Are you a writer?”

Am I a writer?

I immediately trip over my words. [All the while, wanting to shout with all the conviction of Katherine Bomer and Mary Ehrenworth combined, Why YES!! Yes I am! I am a writer!]  Instead,  I stumble through a  “yes, no… well.. kind of.  I  think…”

“Well. Have you written anything you are proud of?” (perfect response.)


“Then you are a writer.”   (perfect again. ) First of all, who has these moments on the steps on the Met while they are reading Georgia Heard to the soundtrack of live cello music in front of them? 🙂

We then merged onto the topic of photography. “Are you also a photographer?” he asks.  (Seriously, stranger, really? Are you a mind reader specializing in insecurities?)

In this post, I could explore my bashful identity as a “picture taker.” But I’m not.  I’m not going to ask why other identities are so certain. (Are you a teacher? YES! Are you a New Yorker? Absolutely. Do you cook? well… Are you an artist? It depends…) Seriously. What declaration are we waiting for?  And from whom?

But. That answer is not what I’m looking for today.

Today,  I’ve decided to own it. After all,  if having pieces you are proud of is what makes you an artist, then I’d like to become a photographer today.  🙂  There are a few pictures I am proud of, and I think I’m ready to share them with you, whoever you are. They all have 1 thing in common. Every person, moment, or image stopped me in my tracks. And they were taken with my iPhone. Thank you, Apple.


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That for which there are no words. . .

“The sea is a color for which there are no words,” says  a beloved book, Sarah, Plain and Tall. I love these words. I loved them in 3rd Grade. I love them now. I love it because it reminds me that sometimes, words can’t say everything.

Like right now.

I haven’t written in a while.  Why? Have I not been inspired? Maybe. Have I not made the time? Perhaps.   Why are the words slow in coming? Maybe because they aren’t there.

Words can’t capture my guilt for leaving the South Bronx. Or my sense of failure this year. They can’t say how at the very same time, I’m relieved. Like I’ve been under water holding my breath, swimming frantically and I finally see the light shining through the surface of the water.  (Cue guilt.) 

 Words can’t say how my heart leaps and breaks over starting a new season. I’m leaving this school,  these people that I love, and these students who have written themselves on  my heart. Tears, not words, are all I have right now.  Leaping, breaking, leaping, breaking, back and forth. Back and forth. A tug of war in my soul.  

I am afraid to sit and write. I’m afraid to sit down and discover the broken pieces of my heart. The tug of war will end, and I will know which side I will fall on. So I’m going to attempt to write my way through it.

As I teach my students, we write the truth of our heart.. we are courageous, and when we don’t know what to say, we write the words that feel true. So here we go. May it not be another 25 days before I do that.


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Endings. Saying Goodbye With Poetry

Central Park Turtle Pond Fall 2009

I’ve never been o.k. with goodbyes. But as I prepare myself, my heart, for another season’s ending, I am reminded that there is a kind of goodbye I adore.

I am wooed by Summer’s farewell. Year after year, I long for it. I wait eagerly for the cool wind that whispers “It’s scarf time again.”  I can walk through central park for hours as I watch the leaves rain down in their yellows and reds. I am in love with the Fall. Utterly smitten. Every year, it gently carries me from Summer into the cold winter with the utmost beauty.

Endings can be this way. We can say goodbye with celebration. We can say goodbye with beauty.

This year, as I begin to say goodbye to a class, a school, and a season, I have caught myself in the early stages of grief. Even as I write this, there are some tears. Tears of guilt. ( have I done enough? no. but have I done all I can? still, I’m sure the answer is no.) Tears of sadness. This year has showed me some rough waters, but there have been many sweet and tender times. We’ve laughed together. (Oh, there’s been laughing.) We’ve cried together.  And I will miss it.

So as we end this journey of a year, we are going to say goodbye with poetry.

Ah, poetry. The stuff of the heart. The stories of the soul.

We will end this year looking at ourselves and our world in new ways. We will search in the hidden places for the things of beauty… of pain.. and we will write with the words that feel true. We begin on Monday and already my insides feel soft. I am ready. Ready for the words of our souls to carry us gently into our next season.

I cling to it for comfort. I cling to it for them. I cling to it for me. It will save my heart.


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