I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes, trying to figure out what to write. I always tell my students that the only way past writer’s block is through. Whether it’s getting away from the words for a little while, reading something sure to inspire irritation or agreement (or, even better, thought), or just letting words flow into something resembling a mess and hoping for mediocrity. Like everything else in life, the only way out is through.

So, how do I get out of the word hole I’m in?

Honestly, I dig myself a lot of holes. I think most of us do. We get into financial debt by filling our voids with shopping or money. We get into friendship holes by staying inside our homes or heads or getting too wrapped up in other relationships. We get into deadline holes through procrastination. People who aren’t me, aren’t really like me, can lose themselves into other holes…

Eventually, we pull up our grown-up costume and start working our way out of these holes. We consolidate our debts or start paying them down individually. We make efforts to hang out with our friends and keep making efforts until they pay off. We create budgets and stick to them (including saving a little money—however much we can). We get our projects done and hope they meet our standards and the standards of those we are working for or the judges of things we are working toward.

Sometimes things work out in just the right way and we get surprised by what we don’t like. Many times we reap the good and the bad from other people’s whirlwinds. Usually, we reap the good and the bad from our own whirlwinds.

I’m all about personal responsibility. I don’t believe in the western version of karma; I do believe in the fact that we throw seeds into the wind and that those winds become whirlwinds and that we don’t always reap what we sow, but we do reap a lot of whirlwinds in our lives. I also don’t believe that everything happens for a reason; sometimes thing just happen and what matters is how we deal with those things.

I don’t have any security in the hope that I teach my students better ways to deal with problems of their own making and problems of others’ making. I just have that small, fluttering bird in my soul (allusion, kids) that I feed and nurture. I also have a heart of darkness which is only caged by the roots of bitterness. I hope that showing my students what they can learn from myth and fairy tales, from current news, from history, from philosophers, from canon and minority literature—every success and every failure and every moment of mediocrity has a lesson we can learn.

I believe that luck is really understanding how to deal with the good, the bad, and the ordinary in life. And luck comes at a steep price. After all, we have to be strong enough to survive all the moments we are given and the smarts to learn from them.


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