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My most recent single release - "My True North" - is now available on Bandcamp. Open my profile and click on "audio clip".

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Shedding Old Skin, Ambivalently

Although it defies logic, each time I review a curriculum I wrote during my twenty years as an adult educator, my ambivalence about this stuff deepens. I'm still unsure what prevented me from getting rid of all these boxes eleven years ago. And though I know teaching about domestic violence, adolescent suicide and depression, inclusion in the workplace, etc. ended when my full time work years ended, my interest in the subjects and commitment to making the world a better place via education continue to be an integral part of me.  

At the same time, I owe it to my daughter to begin shedding some of this old skin. I don't want her to be burdened with making a decision - hopefully years from now - about what to do with mountains of her father's curricula. It's bad enough she might be stuck with hundreds of journal pads, book journals, film logs, etc. Still, each time I plow through a curriculum, I find some kernel worth resuscitating; at least it seems worth it to me. I also fondly recall how delivering a class of my own was satisfying, even when the class was sparsely attended and ran just one time.

That's right, hundreds of hours developing a course - most recently reviewed and then discarded was my 1994 course entitled Awareness of Disability - for under a dozen participants, a class destined never to be repeated. Was it worth all that effort? Again, there's that ambivalence. I remember being juiced learning about the subject, excited as I developed the course, looking forward to sharing my passion for the topic with others. Then I was disappointed at the meager response and the fact that it never ran again. Then I saved my curriculum, storing it in a box moved from my last house to the one I've lived in since 2010. Then I recently reviewed it and relived a few meaningful moments from the only time I delivered it. Then I decided it was time to let it go. Then I found a few kernels worth saving and added those kernels to the mountains of my other past writing. Then I wrote this post thinking maybe at least one reader/writer might relate.


  1. Well now I have a little better understanding of the reluctance to let this stuff go....still, the spiders and crickets are getting more use out of it than you are at this point!

  2. Good afternoon, Pat. Interesting post, and not necessarily for the reasons you may be thinking. Of course I have done my share of holding on to things. And to this day I still do, although thankfully in smaller amounts. I have a large collection of vinyl albums - numbering over 1,200 - that I have thought about selling, giving away, or donating, but ... they're still with me. And that makes me think that I will have them forever. I also have a very nice collection of books. I love books. I don't read as much as I would like to but I have a very nice library from which to choose when I do read. And that is where I find this post to be interesting. I just finished reading 'Still Fooling Em' (Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?) by Billy Crystal. Published in 2013. There is a chapter called 'Can't Take It With You' where he talks about what you've written. Not wanting to have family be burdened with decisions about what to do with what is left, etc. And, of course, written as only Mr. Crystal can. To add to all of this, knowing how much you read, and how much you post about the various books you have read and suggest, I believe that this is the first time I've been able to reference a book I've read in response to your Blog Post. Score one for me - LOL.
    Be well ...

    1. Bob; Thanks for the comment, telling me about your vinyl and book collection (two more things we have in common) and, especially the anecdote about Billy Crystal's book. The fact that he reflected therein on the same dilemma I face and mused about in this post, i.e. not wanting to burden my family with what to do with my writing, gives me a little solace. Finally, congrats on finding an organic way to refer to a book you've read in this comment; nice.