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7:38 a.m. - April 20, 2004
3 Questions, Round I
Last night during therapy one guy turned to me and said I wish you weren't a slow learner, commenting on my reticence to trust people. It is happening, I can see it and observe incremental changes, but it is ill-conducive to point towards the condensation and call it a breach simply because there is promise of release.

I worry the end of group therapy will hit me hard.


Lorster's three questions:

1) Did you have a teacher in school that had a positive impact on your

life? If so, how so?

As far as I remember, I never had a breakthrough or epiphany in school; I entered already knowing how to read and write and was smug in my ability to outdistance my peers. When I look back and think about my teachers, two individuals stand out as having a positive impact. One is Mrs. Hasa, my first teacher in public school (third grade); while working on an assignment with a partner, I had taken over all the work because I could do it faster (and in hindsight suspect my partner was differently-abled as we say now) and lacked the patience to help someone else. When it came to school, the stated mantra was Me First. Mrs. Hasa held me into recess and gave me a talking to about compassion, patience, and how everybody is a teacher in his or her way. I vividly remember seeing students and peers in a different light afterwards and I went from being a condescending know-it-all to a helpful know-it-all. In many ways I credit her with planting the seed to teach.

The second was my high school German teacher, Mr. Edwards. I met him through an unlikely course of events that I now call providential. I was enrolled in French 6 but for myself and the two others who began French in 4th grade, this was too easy so our teacher decided to do an intensive independent-study with us, meaning we had 3rd period free. Prior to the change, Mr. Edwards had come in to observe a presentation I had made in French (he is also a francophile) and we had talked about language and teaching. He suggested I take German to fill the hole in my schedule but rather than entering German I, he urged me to take his second-year German class. I entered German II second semester not knowing much German at all and on that pretext spent lunch hours catching up. We talked about history and math and languages in French and German; his corrections on my German compositions were in Latin. He was an amazing renaissance man and I enjoyed every minute of his company. His most profound impact was influencing me to think independently and make (one of) the biggest decisions of my life: Giving up the acceptance letter to the fancy big school back East in favor of what I wanted to do. He said something once about how school and learning came too easy for me, and urged me to take a more rocky, less-planned route because I'd arrive at my destination either way, so make my own path. I've never regretted my decision to go to the small school, perhaps the only thing I don't regret. If Mrs. Hasa planted the seed, Mr. Edwards was Miracle Grow. You know what strikes me now? I was hell-bent on the sciences (remember, I was going to be a physician or architect, if not a teacher) but because of Herr Edwards I went with my passions - English, Political Science - and then in graduate school returned to the sciences (cognitive science / linguistics). And my secret dream is to go back and teach high school literature.

As for Mr. Edwards, he was gone two years later when I came to visit. I haven't been able to find him since. As for Mrs. Hasa, she currently teaches second grade.

2) When you sing to yourself, what song(s) do you sing? Why?

I sing fully cognizant that it's best I sing in private only. I sing songs that mean a lot to me or that describe my emotions; it is easier for me to recognize what I'm feeling when couched in music. If someone really wanted to know how I was feeling, they'd ask me what song was in my head or playing on the system. Being able to both recognize and communicate my emotions is something I'm learning to do. In no particular order, these are my emotions and the songs they sing:

Amazing Grace (Anne Murray)
If I Had a Boat (Lyle Lovett)
Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)
Life in a Northern Town (Dream Academy)
When I Was a Boy (Dar Williams)
Dust in the Wind (Kansas)
The Long Highway (Mark Knopfler)
Give a Little Bit (Supertramp)
Walls (Tom Petty)
(and lots of classical)

3)When was the last time you felt at peace?

A few weeks ago I went hiking with a colleague in the hills (the same range where my secret spot is located) and after two and a half hours, we reached the pinnacle where the only sound was the cold wind. I looked down at the cities on the plain and the cars in the distance and relished being wholly safe (even though Annie was nearby).


You know, I rather enjoyed this. Will respond to everybody's questions.


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