January 31, 2008 10:56 AM- gutsy

Sometimes when I don't post for a while it means that LIFE has given me a detention and I am forced to stay afterschool with all the other losers students who made poor choices and reflect on how I might do better in the future. But instead of getting all remorseful (I secretly love my inner rebel and rarely, if ever, feel remorse for breaking social norms), I slump into my seat and make sure that the monitor sees my sullen indifference from where he sits at the front of that smelly classroom. I stare out the window and think of all the stories I could be blogging right now if not for this totally useless and annoying detention.

This recent absence is not one of those times. Au contraire.

And, I have to tell you, NOBODY wants to hear about my good days. You really don't. I know this. But part of the good day comes from the relief following an uphill battle so it's not as if I'm just skating along tra-la-la-la.

((Okay. I lie. There is much with the skating. Much with the tra and the la and the lah)).

Late in the afternoon Tuesday I had a bit of a meltdown. My color theory assignment was getting the best of me and I just wanted to scream in frustration. I changed the music. Regrouped. And sent an email to my teacher that I would be late to class the next day. I then focused on correcting papers, prepping the class I teach and doing my drawing assignment.

Wednesday I got up at 5 am. I made a fire in the woodstove, which required me to throw a coat on over my cozies, slip my bare feet into wellies, navigate the snow and ice between the back door and the woodshed, fill my arms with logs and kindling, and then, not slip and trip as I pick my way back to the house-- a most salient point.

The water was boiled-- the coffee beans finely ground--the french press put through its paces. (There may have been some frothing of the milk). I took a shower and actually made an effort to look less like a hurricane victim and more like someone for whom you'd hold the elevator. I packed a healthy lunch and snacks and loaded the car with my two large portfolios, bag for writing class, bag for color theory, bag for drawing and my two art boxes (one for CT, one for drawing). Made oatmeal for both me and T. Fed the dogs. Made a lunch for T (not that he needs me to do this, but hello, I was on a roll . .) and pulled out of the driveway on the dot of 7am.

This departure time is critical if I want to get a parking spot in the faculty lot.

At school, I went directly to the building where I had seen a lightbox outside of the printmaking studio. I settled in, did my CT project. Grabbed a coffee at the cafe and headed to class. I arrived 15 minutes late but well in time to submit my work into the end of the critique.

My work hit the mark. We all settled back to our worktables and my teacher gave me my first series of grade write-ups and they were all A, A- and B+ . .. a SHOCK to the system. Seriously. (Not two nights before T had to talk me out of my self-destructive head space by reminding me it doesn't matter if I get all C's--- it makes no difference at all. It's all about the learning, which is so true-- but I seriously thought I was hanging on by a thread in that class. Go figure).

Lunch and then I taught. This semester's class is like a scene straight out of central casting. The kids are great. The room is great. It just sings.

Class finishes at 3:50 I grab a coffee (hit my car to switch out the gear and get ready for my drawing class) and walk down the street to the next building.

In that moment, a bitter wind has kicked up and it feels much, much colder than it did that morning. I hunker down and cross the park. The city looks gray and dreary. And yet, in that moment I am so clearly alive, present and profoundly happy. I look up at the sky and think, THIS is what I dreamed of for so long. Sure, in my dreams I wasn't in an old New England mill town but walking down the streets of Paris between classes at Beaux Arts, but truly, I don't know that I can be more content. I don't believe that I can.

And then, les cerises?

After three weeks in a drawing class where my emotions fluctuated between hot frustration and cold discouragement, I am beginning to inch my way up the face of the mountain. I am pleased with some of my results. And last night, during the crit our teacher gives half way through class, my drawing was one of the top three. In fact, our teacher who is quite a bit less tall than I am tried to get the group gathered around my easel to say the word he was thinking of.

Teacher: What has she done here? Anyone? Anyone? What did we talk about at the beginning of class? Anyone? Anyone? This is, it's really--

Teacher makes two fists and thrusts his elbows back and forth against his sides while he rocks his hips back and forth, emphatically. Students are laughing and imitate his movements so that if you were passing by and glanced in it would look like a strange homage to a modern dance troupe.

Teacher continues to make this movement with growing passion and intensity.

Teacher: What's the word? What's the word?

Students, long hair poking out from dark wool caps (on the boys), streaks of blue or pink or magenta (on the girls)-- giggle more and say nothing.

Teacher: It's-- GUTSY! Gutsty.

Students laughing.

"That is totally not what I thought he was trying to get us to say," says one girl.

We move on to the next easel. I try, but I can't break free from a shit-eating grin that threatens to hook itself around my ears.

got 2 cents?

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lizardek says:
I, myself, was thinking: ROCKING HOT. Or sexy. Or both.
posted on: January 31

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immersion says:
We must see a picture of your Guts(sy)! Your days read like a tranquil blast. Can you just pack me along in your easel to break me of my doldrums?
posted on: January 31

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Jazz says:
Gutsy. And beautiful, and awesome...
posted on: January 31

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Chris says:
Whenever you tell a story it's like I am right there with you. That is such a gift you have. Thanks, as always, for sharing your world with us. And way to go on that Gutsy painting!
posted on: January 31

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Claire says:
I like gutsy. When I have days that go well like that I tend to walk around looking up in case something like a plane or a meteor falls out of the sky and clonks me on the head.
posted on: January 31

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Amber says:
I think we should all love our inner rebel.
posted on: January 31

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Bridgemor says:
You are living the incredible mystery of life, enjoy the adventure! Such a great story too.
posted on: January 31

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michelle @ tangled wings says:
gutsy! now that is a great compliment. your contentment was infectious throughout this entire post...i could feel the energy...and it put a smile on my face..
posted on: January 31

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catherine says:
yes. I like others love being taken with you along your path, we feel like we're in your shirt pocket right above your heart (keep us there, please). Your drawings I'm sure are exactly like your writing, emotive and connective - your soul on the paper / screen reaches the viewer / reader / visitor. :)
posted on: January 31

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catherine says:
posted on: January 31

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Jecca says:
I love reading about your great days! Especially after that first paragraph, which -- seeing as I live with a 15-year-old -- was way too true to life for comfort. (The attitude, not the detention, thank God.)
posted on: January 31

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liz elayne says:
i love that word! it is a word that should produce a shit-eating grin my dear. i am so glad you shared this with us (and your way with words...oh when are you going to write a book...a book of essays...it would be c'est magnifique! [am i spelling that right? it has been a long, long time])
posted on: February 01

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river selkie says:
gutsy is one of the best compliments ever! go you!
posted on: February 01

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Tami says:
You are SO the teacher's pet! I don't blame you for being happy! :)
posted on: February 01

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otter says:
What a great story, I could practically taste the coffee and feel the chill and I'm grinning like a loon at the gutsy.
posted on: February 01

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Heather says:
Yayyyy!!!! And I so understand about wanting to get all As even if it doesn't matter anymore.
posted on: February 01

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finelyspungirl says:
Hey E, way to go :) We love to hear about your good times!! Enjoy your contentedness, that's what it's all about!
posted on: February 01

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Jessie says:
YEEEEEEEEEEEEES! :) omg, that was the best blog post i've read anywhere in a long time! :) haaoooo! :)
posted on: February 01

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Sam says:
The best part of all is where you realize you're in your own waking dream...but I can't wait to see some of this gutsy art! When will you share the goods with us, woman?
posted on: February 02

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