Monday, November 29, 2010

Why “The Chalk”

       The Chalk is a nod to my favorite author, Terry Pratchet. The Chalk is a little corner of Discworld were sheep graze and a young witch named Tiffany Aching comes of age. A great deal of common sense and wisdom resides in those fictional hills. Tiffany has what Terry Pratchet calls second thoughts, and even third thoughts. That is to say, she thinks about the way she is thinking, and, on a good day, thinks about the way she thinks about thinking. This freight train of thought sometimes leads her to the conclusion that the best solution to her problems is whacking them with a cast iron frying pan. More often than not, however, she finds a way to insert a little bit of compassion and common sense into her tiny world.

         I hope “The Chalk”, the one that you are reading right now, evolves into a place where I can insert a little common sense and compassion into my tiny world. It’s where I’m going to place my second and third thoughts about the cliff that I just jumped off. It might end with a resounding (and squishy) thud as June comes around and I find myself still chasing my tail. I hope it doesn’t.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome to my Free Fall

             I just read that when astronauts in low orbit experience zero gravity, they are not so much floating as free falling[1]. The trick is to miss the Earth on your way down.

            Two weeks ago I wrote a letter of resignation effective at the end of June. For the last fifteen years I have been teaching emotionally disabled students. Twelve of those years I have been running a small program in a suburb of Boston. It’s time for me to leave.

            I don’t have a plan, I don’t have financial resources, I have four children, and have been living with my wife for twenty-one years. I have until the end of June, seven months, to create a new livelihood and find a new direction. 

          Welcome to my free fall.

[1] Mary Roach, Packing for Mars