Before a conference, I always seem to feel rushed, and hear myself thinking that it's not that I want to skip it, only that it's lousy timing. And yet on the flipside, I come home energized and hyper-productive.
The Pennsylvania College English Association conference in Erie this weekend was terrific. I got several ideas and ways of thinking about engaging my students, and I was grateful and happy that the other presenters took the initiative to talk with me between sessions.
I was on a poetry panel with three other poets. I read poems from my upcoming chapbook manuscript, which are inspired by the work of photographer Larry Towell. I showed Towell's images of Central America, the US Gulf, Ontario and other places as I read the poems. I like raising awareness for this important work.
With the help of a friend, I found the duplex where we lived when I was seven. We moved a lot, and it's surprising that I remember the address: 234 E. 33rd. The neighborhood is holding its own, and in places, charming. I found Jefferson Elementary and the tall house where my friend Virginia lived upstairs with her grandmother. I remember writing VIRGINIA in the snow.
So now I'm back to the home routine, but I'll already be trying some new things in class tomorrow. I think that's part of why I love teaching - I'm always learning.