Monday, August 18, 2008


Moving from one thing to the next can be a bit tricky. Some of the hardest parts of writing--a novel, an essay, even a blog post--are the bits where you try to make one idea lead into the next, flow in smoothly with a minimum of fuss. My students learn transition words from a list, but you can't really just memorize a list of words and let them do all the work to move your writing from piece to piece.

Like a choppy paragraph break, we started school again today, and everything about the transition was crazy. I had to peel the boys off of their sheets this morning and stuff their floppy limbs into clothing while brushing my teeth hurriedly and making a grocery list for this morning's potluck, which I had forgotten. I stayed up well into the wee hours like usual last night, and by the middle of my leadership meeting this afternoon, I was all but comatose in my steamy classroom. It was a good thing the chairs are so uncomfortable.

After the children finally succumbed to sleep in their beds again this evening, David collapsed in his chair in the living room, looking like a refugee of war. His eyes darted and twitched; his hands shook.

"What's the matter?" I asked, from my slump on the couch. I sucked back a couple of aspirins with a whiskey shot.

"" His voice was thin and sounded a little deranged.

I thought about giving him a hug, but that would involve moving. So I just sent him telepathic thoughts of love instead. Upstairs, the alarm clocks ticked on, inexorably moving us toward tomorrow.

"Tomorrow," I whispered, "will be much easier."

"Tomorrow," he groaned, "we have to go grocery shopping."

Transitions are tough.

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