Last summer I went to a workshop about freelance writing. I met a fantastic woman there who is going to be forever my writing check in partner. She is smart and funny and so humble about her writing and her life. We check in as much as we can about our writing and we are there for each other when we need it. We are lucky indeed to have made such a connection.
Joan sent me this cool random first line generator site to use for prompts. I highly recommend it, particularly during times when you can’t think of anything to write about. I don’t like to write fiction, but I am going to use it as a way to fit it into the non-fiction stuff I write.
My line this morning was:
“The urge to interrupt him before he had finished was overwhelming.”
And so I’ll begin:
The urge to interrupt him before he had finished was overwhelming. I sat listening to a teacher tell me about how important it is that children have homework even if that homework is just busy work. “It’s the practice they need, the discipline.” It was hard for me to make eye contact. It was hard for me to wait until he had completed his diatribe, I am an interrupter by nature anyway, but I also feel as Maya Angelou once wrote. She said that we shouldn’t let people speak the words of negativity out loud because those words get into our rugs and our curtains and then, when you least expect it, they come out again.
I let him speak those words even though Alfie Kohn’s book sat between us. I let him get it all out even though some of his children struggled with homework so much that they were losing their relationships with their parents–the distance growing wider with each argument about how to complete it, when to complete it, and why to complete it. I waited until he stopped and seemed ready for my reply.
Then I said, “give them homework when you can think of no other way for a child to practice what he/she doesn’t know. Have homework be your last resort.” There was a silence. It felt too long, and though by nature I am a filler in of silence, I waited.
He looked, well, relieved. If there had been a pedestal, he would be stepping off of it. Then he said quietly, “Is that okay?”
And I nodded.