Friday, June 13, 2014

Gone aloofing

I seem to be suffering from a surfeit of words.

Four four days I've been reading essays for The Test That Dare Not Speak Its Name, and I have two more days to go. I'm reading 250 to 300 essays a day, which is a little off last year's pace but still a lot of essays. Some are brief and some are blank but many go on for page after page after page. I'm not permitted to reveal anything about the prompt or the essays so I can't share with you, for instance, a perfectly charming use of an obscure adjective as a verb, but I can tell you this: that's a lot of words. (Many of them spelled correctly!)

And then there are my colleagues. Spending eight hours a day in a big room with a thousand English teachers has its charms, especially when they let us loose for a break and all our saved-up gems of student writing come spilling out, but I've been working with these people all week and I've shared every breakfast, lunch, and supper with them. Last night we went to a minor-league baseball game (perfect evening, exciting game, and the Louisville Bats won!), and tonight we'll wander off to Shakespeare in the Park to see A Midsummer Night's Dream, and while I'm enjoying them all immensely, that's a lot of people sharing a lot of words all day long.

At home I can spend whole summer days speaking to no one but my husband and my dog (and sometimes just my dog) and doing nothing more exciting than paddling upstream or watching hummingbirds zip around the feeder or spending long stretches of time alone accompanied by the tap-tap-tap of fingers on the keyboard. Some would consider this a boring life, but summer is my time for extended work on research and writing projects--and besides, silence and solitude feed my soul.

This week my soul is hibernating and my brain is being pelted by a constant onslaught of words, which is why this morning I've decided to eschew breakfast with the ravening hordes. I have juice and granola bars in my room, so I shall hold myself aloof and possess my soul in silence. That's right: I've gone aloofing. Tomorrow I shall have aloofed.     

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