this winter/spring, to help me get through teaching I wrote up these “affirmations” and pasted them on the inside covers of my notebooks:

1. The artists I love have their particular ways of doing things.  It’s just the university that makes me feel like I have to know everything.

2. Literature does not demand that you be an expert– it demands that you be humble in the face of what you don’t know and that you look at it anyway.  That’s when you’re alone.  When you come together in a classroom you search for words and ideas and for the tools and paths left for you by others to help you.  When you write, you orchestrate the best of what you have so far.

3.  A writer’s duty is to offer a nice place for a reader to put her intelligence.

4.  Don’t take your shit out on the kids.  (In my case:  you don’t have to defend yourself).

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