Aside

‘Tis the season …

‘Tis the season of student college essays, those of the last-minute crowd, the bedraggled just-thought-of-it-now cohort. And so a student puts one on my desk and warns: it’s no good, it’s the first rough draft, phlegm passing as prose, a sum of words that barely tally into sense, and would I look at it please?

I want to say, this many years into the profession: no. Give me something to read that you think has potential. Don’t ask me to spin gold out of straw and call it “feedback.” Oh, it is December and we are all grumpy. I am not meeting my professional potential.

Try to remember, he tells himself, that awkward self-effacement isn’t a sign of indolence but insecurity and even, perhaps, deference. Come down off that high horse, sir. Get to work.

The student I saw on campus this weekend told students I have now that he saw me: called me “iconic.”

End of a long day. Brandi Carlile in the earbuds. Flirty jokes misconstrued by spouse. Son sucking on a pouch of yogurt. Dog waiting to be walked.