What is your current state of mind?
This morning I looked in the fridge, rummaged through the cupboards, and thought: This’ll do for a while. And then I thought: It’ll be nice to clear out some of the food that’s been sitting in the cupboard for so long: refried beans, tuna, pasta sauce, etc. After that, I made a cup of coffee, read for a while, then I worked on transitioning classes I teach face-to-face to an online format, which won’t be too bad. I teach half my classes online anyway. After that I went downstairs and noticed that two of my children were already playing video games. It was mid-morning, and I try to encourage them not to play video games until the afternoon, but my coffee was getting cold, so I went back upstairs and tried to think of ways I could get them to disengage with their devices (phones and video games) by doing something other than telling them to disengage with their devices. I looked at a stack of books I thought they might like to read and tried to think of ways I could get them to read without being bullish about it. That pretty much sums up my state of mind at the home-level.
How are you planning ahead?
When I first started teaching, I created lesson plans that broke up the class into twenty minute segments and activities. And I tried my damndest to follow those plans, but there were so many more interesting things to talk about: people’s stories, lives, and how they connect and relate to class, and how other classes relate to our class, and how all of what we’re learning translates to “real world” stuff, and how what is happening in the “real world” might impact what we’re talking about in class and the stories students tell, and so on and so forth. I haven’t been teaching for very long, only a few years, which means I’m still trying to find that balance between planning enough and not planning so much as to sterilize all the positive organic growth that might occur if the class is given an opportunity to grow and flourish on its own. I suppose I might use some of this planning philosophy for my life outside of work as well. How does this relate to what’s happening now, with regard to C-19? I’m still trying to plan enough, but not too much.
How has your perspective changed over the last few weeks?
It’s tough for me to reflect on something in real time. It takes me a while — months, even — to process changes, which ultimately, for me, inform my perspective. I’m quite confident my perspective has changed. But in what way? I’m not sure, and I doubt I’ll know for certain for a while. Again, it takes me so long to process changes, and to reflect on my perspective now wouldn’t necessarily be a complete and well articulated self-reflection. I admire others who process information and changes faster than myself. I’m envious of their real time insights. That’s just not the case for me.
What is your most pressing concern?
There is a kind of slow suffocation I feel while recently overconsuming the news or browsing Facebook, and while that’s not necessarily the actual concern, there is a concern for how constant consumption of these two things — news and social media — might negatively affect us. By “us” I mean the general “us.” And while I acknowledge the positive aspects of both — staying connected, reading important news, etc — I also fear its potential negative side effects, because let’s face it: we’re all online now more than ever because we’re physically distant from friends/family and also trying to keep up with the latest. But I suppose those were concerns before all of this too.
What are you hopeful about?
I don’t want this to come across as too hokey, but it is absolutely the truth: I’m hopeful in the ways art and literature and music provide for us; sustain us; create space in our minds & hearts to flourish and grow, and yes, to be hopeful when everything around us might not feel so hopeful. So pick up a damn book or listen virtually to Willie Nelson’s live concert, and let those artists transport us to a much needed space. And when that’s done, let’s get off the couch, find the nearest blood bank, and donate.