Mar 14, 2022

I would always feel conflicted about teaching, despite my love of children and the fact that there was an educator in my personality. I just wasn’t meant to be in a classroom. As an artist—in a broad sense of the word that includes singing and writing as well as the visual arts—my internal imperative has always been to express myself through my creativity, using my art to teach children. I didn’t find much time to write during my years at Seven Hills School, but a number of pieces have survived that give voice to my ambivalence, though I didn’t reveal it to anybody else but my therapists. I wrote:

When I read what I’ve written I am most surprised by my occasional savagery and most pleased by the occasional bits of poignancy I find on pages littered with the refuse of my own sense of failure. They’re like little graces, floating down from heaven, like dandelion silk.

I am probably keeping the older generation awake, a fact which dampens my literary ardor, bound up as it is with typewriter racket.

I was thinking before I dropped off to sleep last night that teaching has built a new annex onto my self, but that I haven’t felt inclined to move in yet.

I was thinking: teaching doesn’t feed my art because it leaves no space for me to observe. I’m so busy being a one-man band that my spectator self has to stand aside—so later I can’t remember a thing about the gig.

I wanted to write so much this morning, but now I feel as sour as an old pill. I was thinking as I drove off to work, “Friday is one day of the week too many.” And “Life is a blueberry turnover—doughy and underdone, with too little of the sweet goo.”

So what do you want to know, diary? That I just got blueberry on the keys? I have no success to report—major, minor, or middling.

(I figure I’m trying so hard to be cute that, to my own detriment, I may succeed.)

So how was I able to carry off the role of teacher as well as I eventually did? Well, to survive in the world, as I’ve said, I’d had to become an actress, adept at feigning calm and self-possession, and besides—my affection and attachment to my students was real. I think of teaching as such a noble profession that, even as I write this, I find myself wanting to apologize for the fact that it wasn’t my first calling.