Monday, November 30, 2009

Drawn ...

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Chris Messenger, the professor of my pop literature class, posed to us a question to which we were to write a reaction.

I know that this happened a long time ago because the assignment arrived on a ditto, all blurry letters and purple. I also know that this happened a long time ago because I put the date on the paper I wrote: September 27, 1990.

The question in question was: "Once we've known Shakespeare or James Joyce, what do we make of a Stephen King or a James Michener?"

Chris was one of my favorite professors, not only because he was teaching a class for which we were required to watch "Blade Runner," but because he was one of those people with whom I was able to really connect.

I began my paper thusly: "It's like this: Willie the Shake (as one of my high school English teachers liked to call him) ... ."

Chris put his own parentheses around "as one of my high school English teachers" and added a little note:

"Those relevant devils --"

The relevant devil to whom I was referring in my paper is now affectionately, if not particularly creatively, known as English Teacher Dave. He, likewise, is another person with whom I was able to really connect, as evidenced by the fact that I met him when I was 15 and a student and today I am 40 and some days wish I were still a student and we are still in touch.

He called last night to invite me over this week. He and his wife are hosting the play-at-home version of The Moth that aired on NPR and is now apparently a podcast.

It's a simple format: real people telling real stories. To each other. In real time. In person. Like, while breathing the same air.

Dave's friend and former fellow colleague Donna is the inspiration for the evening, and she has decided that the evening's theme will be "Firsts."

Those who attend can share a story or simply listen. I thought I might like to just listen, but then, sometimes, in the right setting, with the right people, and the right amount of alcohol, I like to talk, too.

So I started thinking about what "first" I'd share. I immediately eliminated anything too prosaic – not that others shouldn't talk about their first kiss, for example, but I think my account of that moment is unremarkable – but then found myself really wondering about firsts.

There are big firsts: first birthday, first day of school, first kiss, first car. But every moment is a first. We just don't consider them in the context of a greater relevance.

What I arrived at for the impending salon at Dave's, though, is that I have not had enough firsts.

It is a story I am rather sure I want to tell. Though knowing my propensity for tears, I thought I might write it out, since writing is what I do, and perhaps ask Dave to read it. We'll see.

If I write it, I'll post it. If I "perform" it, I'll let you know how it goes.


Blogger OneMan said...

tell Dave I said hi

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We make our own firsts ...

7:45 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Henry: Will do.

Anon: Agreed. If I write the piece, that will be the point, that I haven't put myself in enough "first" situations.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Rick Hamrick said...

Gosh, Beth, it seems to me you had the answer already: we all have more firsts than we could possibly tell about, we simply don't pause long enough to note them.

As someone wise once said (and I'm wrecking the quote to my own purposes, I know), life is what happens while we are waiting for the big moment.

I find it a more-interesting challenge to discover and invest in the first which took place today. No idea what it was, but you will find it if you look intently enough.

5:22 AM  

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