Return of the LitWit

So I raise my head blearily from the long, muddy furrow in which I’ve been crawling for several months – it looks, to the inexperienced eye, like a clean and well-lit classroom – and I remember I used to believe in a question.

How can I know what I think till I see what I say?

That’s the novelist E.M. Forster (A Passage to India, Howard’s End) reminding himself and any would-be-wise guy that writing is, among many other things, a way of understanding. Judging from my strangled output over the last year and more, I don’t understand much when I’m teaching full-time. (And coaching. And trying desperately to influence the young, face to face. Madly off in all directions. (Thank you, Stephen Leacock.) Running to stand still? Sometimes.)

I do know exactly where I am when I face a group of students. It’s natural, it’s demanding, and I’m only slightly less manic-energetic than I used to be. But the sense of déjà vu sometimes weighs heavily, and while I know exactly what I’m doing, and while even a ninth-grade French class can turn into a chance to clarify and express my views on matters mighty and minor, I am not finding Forster. I have not been stretching and stressing my brain and typing fingers. More and more, lately, I’ve been feeling this absence from my life, hence today’s self-involved posting.

I’m back, not that cyberspace missed me much. Today, I like writing.

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