the Time to Fail

Last day of classes and soon I will be moving on to finals week; the term began a week later than last and I am very quickly realizing the crunch of time. My course grades are due on the 22nd–the 22nd! Three days before the holiday. I can’t believe it. And lately I have has so many ideas for the Cornbread Project and also I have had the feeling like I am a much better writer than teacher and I am thinking all I need is the time to fail.

So perhaps I will paint some broad strokes here. I hope soon I will be able to sit on my couch and stare out the window and try and work on my own work in my lap as opposed to a student’s work or the institution’s work of assessment. Dec 18th is the date for assessment. And I want to get back to the couch and to Bea and Manito–Lolo and Cornbread. As I am starting to realize the direction of those stories. And Anne Lamott advises we try and imagine placing family and responsibilities into a bottle and creating the chance to complete the dificult work of creatiing fictive spaces. And Didion gives me the idea of self-respect so perhaps I will have much more time to work on Cornbread.

And D and I yesterday were talking about Bea as if she were real–like Salinger states: real enough to give a lunch and put on a train and send her off into the world. And D and I were discussing her direction and her relationships as if they were real and breathing. So perhaps I do understand Susan-Lori Parks and this idea of the characters tapping on your shoulder and begging to be in your work–wanting to live in the work.

I hope I can get back to them soon.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

2 thoughts on “the Time to Fail”

  1. I think it’s the time of year–and the nature of our “day job professions.” I too am feeling the pull, yet for me, I have decided to accept the fact that I am probably a better teacher than writer. I almost sent this comment yesterday–just as an acceptance letter came through for an article I wrote on teacher collaboration. The paradox was that that tiny bit of validation caused me to open a document I’ve had in the background of my everyday life. I open it physically once every six months or so . . . I didn’t have time to send the post because I had to go to a MS showcase wherein students have the opportunity to “showcase” themselves. A guest writer ended the show with a short talk about his FIFTH book. He said the thing about writing is you have to resolve yourself to the idea that your closest friends will be imaginary. Emphasizing how he came to Colorado to get away from the characters he’d lived with for the last three years.

    There are no clearly defined distinctions. “sigh” I still move silent–from black, to white, to gray, and from grief a thousand shades.

  2. If they’re tapping you on the shoulder than I think that’s a a good sign that you’re not exploiting but presenting (as you expressed in the last post). You are telling stories for all who love stories, I think. Today at lunch when we were talking about youtube, I said something about our hunger for story–and the hunger goes both ways, to hear and to tell.

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