Little Urges

5 March 2001

My littlest little urge today is kind of goofy and kind of sad. I want to go out for coffee with Michelle. She just got back from Europe, and it sounds like she had a fabulous time, and I'm really happy for her. But the right thing to do in this situation is to get in the car and go grab coffee together. And then she could talk about Europe, and we could both talk about books and writing and poetry and students and relationships and all those things that end up getting discussed when Michelle and I get together for coffee.

Instead, I get to write her a couple of lame e-mails and hope for a visit long-about June. Stupid continent.

See, and I want her to come for a visit. I really do. I think it'd be awesome. But that's not what I want right now. Right now I want her to be here so that we don't have to make everything into visits, so that we don't have to make every chance matter. So that sometimes we can totally waste the time we have together on something dumb. So that I can call her up out of the blue and say, "Quit grading essays and come have a mocha with me. We can be responsible later." Because if there's anyone who understands Being Responsible, it's Michelle.

I get these little urges about different friends on different days. Today it's Michelle. But I miss her often anyway. (For those of you who don't know Michelle -- I don't know Mary Anne personally, but from reading some of her journal entries, she seems a lot like La Michelle. Only Michelle is German-American, significantly more (ahem) conservative, and not so much into speculative fiction. Which seems like a lot of stuff to change about a person, but sometimes these intuitive flashes make more sense than we can justify. Timprov agrees with me on this one.)

Okay, but when I came up with "Little Urges" for an entry title, I really didn't mean anything to do with going out for coffee. I had two other things in mind.

I want a baby. I don't really want a baby now. I know that there are all sorts of reasons for me not to have one, and that they're good reasons, and I'm pretty happy with them. I have time. My biological clock is not ticking, despite the number of times I've quoted My Cousin Vinny on that score. It is neither the right time nor the right place. But I held Karen's baby on Saturday, and dammit, I want one.

I really think it's Tot's fault. Because I want three things out of a baby: cute, smart, and sweet-tempered. One of the three is enough to make me want to hold the kid and play for awhile. But Tot has all three. Which reminded me of how cool the combination can be. Lately, I've started to have some girl friends who understand how physical the baby urge can be. For awhile they all just acted like I was nuts. Now they know.

Smart babies would be the best, except that smart little kids are even better, because they're not figuring stuff out quite so fast, but they can talk. And sometimes I just get the urge to take my friend Lisa's and my friend Marion's older kids (a third grader, a first grader, and a kindergartener) away for an afternoon and do fun stuff with them. Find cool books they haven't read yet. Play on swings or merry-go-rounds. Eat ice cream. That's a more manageable little urge, and yet we've not gotten around to doing much about it, even though both moms involved have expressed total willingness to have an afternoon to themselves. (But one of the things I like about both of these women is: they seem to like their kids as people. So it's not a matter of ditching the kids, any more than "alone time" is about not having spouses and friends around.)

Basically, I guess this whole entry is how I want more little people in my life. So the bit about Michelle works with the rest of it after all. (Michelle, if you're reading this: how about we just assume you e-mailed me a plbt about that and move on?)

And what am I doing about it? Well, I hope I'm teaching a creative writing class. Not really for little people, but for high school kids. I spent Saturday night trying to outline the course for myself and for the local community center people. See, I would have loved this when I was in high school. And I firmly believe that one of the biggest problems in our society is that too many people define "people" as human beings between about 30 and 50 in age. Teenagers need to be treated like people more often. Need to interact with grown-ups who respect them and who believe in what they're doing. I benefitted from several of those grown-ups, and I'd kind of like to be one. In fact, I'm really excited about this whole deal.

I would like to know, though: what would you have wanted out of a creative writing/fiction class, when you were in high school? What would you have wanted to avoid? Anybody have any really cool writing exercises I may be missing? How do I do this right? Other than doing it, and learning from it, and doing it again, I mean. I'm all for learning from my mistakes -- but I like learning from other people's mistakes even better. And from their good experiences, well, that's better still.

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