Watching me type

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, March 5, 2011

“The terrible thing about public schools is they take young children who are natural poets and story writers and have them read literature and then step away from it and talk ‘about’ it.” —Natalie Goldberg

Ptolemy is sitting on the floor watching me type. He knows its safe, because Mello is in her kennel. Ptolemy likes to be petted before he calls it a night. Echo is relaxed somewhere now that Mello is booked in her kennel. And the left side of my right thumb is cracked from the cold air that needs to pass.

Tim Brennan, one of our writer’s group, uses both of Natalie’s books — writing Down the Bone and Old Friend from Far Away with his creative writing class in Adams. I would hope these books find their way to Austin Public Schools or maybe they are already there. Natalie says: “We learn writing by doing it.” That simple.

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Ptolemy, the cat rescued from a Turtle Creek flood calmly walked into my column-writing corner and he’s licking his chops and feeling secure because Mello is in her kennel for the night. Ptolemy could sit on the couch without the threat of Mello.

A couple Fridays ago I went up to the VA Clinic to meet my tester and take my first hour and a half of tests on remembering. To begin with, she read me a paragraph with information in it. I almost recalled the first sentence and tried to holdon to it as she read the second line and then moved on to the next one. When she stopped she said; “Okay read it back.” I couldn’t.

She did a few more picture games that came out somewhat better. At the end I identified all 19 of them without a mistake. These were pen drawings, not words.

This week went somewhat better. To celebrate I stopped at Costas in Owatonna, Natalie’s candy hide-away then onto The Little Professor where I acquired Just Kids by Patty Smith and The Gospel According To Bob Dylan. What a nice way to end the day and then let Mello out.