I’m not even kidding … this is a book review! And I read it all by myself.
Schooled: A Love Letter to the Exhausting, Infuriating, Occasionally Excruciating Yet Somehow Completely Wonderful Profession of Teaching
By Stephanie Jankowski
Stephanie, the loveable voice of the blog When Crazy meets Exhaustion, has written a book! She’s a long-time blogging friend of mine and I’ve loved her work for years.
Schooled is a collection of stories from the field. Her essays are humorous, sincere, and beckon to every crush on a teacher I ever had. As a dad of three kids, it gave me insight into what life is like on the other side of the desk.
No, though. I mean, I love reading others’ blogs, meeting new writers. Seeing new people and people I used to know among commenters. I hate what a reader I become during the #AtoZChallenge, is what I hate.
I’m a shitty one, no bones about it.
And that’s kind of the point of blogging. The interaction. I’m grappling with those times, like tonight, at 10:06 p.m., of whether I should be writing or reading. To keep up, I choose to write, but it sure does feel shitty.
I left school early for a job that sounded like a dream for me.
I got to cover the NFL and NBA (plus high school sports) for a tiny afternoon newspaper. I moved to Morganton, N.C. I slept in two three-hour shifts. One after my desk shift ended around midday.
The other, at night, after I filed my story from Hornets home games (Sometimes, I got up extra early to write instead.)
Rebecca Reid took a more global approach to that fresh-out-of-college job. She’s my guest for #GirlsRock today. I met Rebecca in Target during her 4-month stint in Charlotte. We became friends, and her story of success intrigued me.
I’ve pondered how to streamline my life. I’m working from home as many of us are. I’m struggling to find balance. I wake up every day encouraged that this will be different. Often, I go to sleep wondering where it went wrong.
See, I’m the same guy who has found success before.
Not success in dollar signs or prestige. In peace of mind. In the moment. In trusting that the process is the thing, in that I must keep my eyes and heart open. The stuff that makes the biggest difference are things I haven’t planned for. But you have to have an efficient way to get to those things.
Sunday, feeling almost caught up in the writing part of this #AtoZMadness (but still way behind on reading!), I had the task of cranking out a post to go with the letter K. Oy. Kaleidoscope? Karma? Kaput? Kayak?
(I could write about the time I almost died in a kayak – or was that a canoe?)
Well, I still could have tied it to kaput! But I got a test from a friend named Kelly on Sunday afternoon checking in on how things are going (happens a lot with the COVID, and I’m grateful!) and wondering if I’d published our interview for #GirlsRock.
I wonder how many people will go with COVID as their C word.
Or, coronavirus. It’s difficult for me to, even if I wanted to. Friday is my #GratitudeAndShit day, and pandemic viruses don’t make the cut. I am grateful, however, to have this new reality upon me. It’s not been easy, but there have been some pluses on small scales.
It’s exhausting to read post after post about how to work efficiently from home.
I haven’t found that. There are small gains. There’s stuff like birds on my bird feeder and tortilla chips in my pantry to serve enough distraction to get me off track. But I’m eating less fried food and takeout, more conscious that I’d better watch my intake.
The cool thing about being a dad, I was telling Camdyn while putting on my shoes, is that we can wear anything we want.
She gave me that look again, the one you’d see from someone on a practical jokes show. I just kept tying my shoes and didn’t even care they were Adidas soccer shoes with black dress socks. With a Hornets jersey tee and grey shorts with a pattern of fish bones.
I can too, she finally said, and pull it off even better.
So it’s in moments like this I get a bit more clarity why I am these girls’ papa. Clearly, it’s to force them to think on their feet in ways no ordinary dad could do. It’s definitely not to give clarity to life, although I spend an awful lot of time in that sad endeavor, too.
There’s some serious reconstruction happening, friends. It started right around the time I left for Detroit and it’s happening now. It hits me when I step back into this blog and realize it’ll be more than a month since my last post.
A month. I remember times when I’d shun a plate of tacos to get a post posted. Like anything, nothing stays the same. Sometimes there’s work to be done and walls to demolish and structure to save, and sometimes the work feels tedious and pointless.
And sometimes the light breaks through at just the right angle. It illuminates something just well enough to show you a way, to demonstrate what’s possible. Even when you feel like you’re in the middle of the impossible.
The slow demolition of the small, old arena attached to the former Cobo Center stopped me in my tracks during my stay in Detroit. When you freeze a moment on the decomposition of one element for another? It gives you incredible insight.
I won a book called The Write-Brain Workbook for dominating a bowling tournament of writers. (It was in doubles, and David threw hard and wild and I was the finesse. Also yes: It’s not even a little bit difficult to dominate most writers in a bowling tournament.)
Instead of a pair of plane tickets or at least a sweet new Red Ventures T-shirt, David and I won these books – and I’m pretty sure they were second-hand.
So when you’re given a janky book to celebrate your sporting supremacy, you make chicken soup. Or, lemonade. Well, you know what I mean. I’ve held onto this thing a while and just now started to make some use of it.