I woke up this morning with a very clear memory of the dream I was just having. That is uncommon for me.
I dreamed I was lecturing to my English-major students. I had fifteen minutes left in class and wanted to use it to tell them something real about the kind of jobs they would have after graduation.
As I prepared to do this, a couple students asked if they could leave early. I said yes. Two more asked if they could move their desks. I said yes. The class began chatting and moving and leaving. I felt desperate.
I started talking loud, telling them gossip about the English Department, sharing stories about who was angry with whom and what for. I started getting their attention so I kept going. I started lying. They were finally paying attention because I was entertaining them. With lies.
When I woke up, I was trying to figure out if, now that I had their attention, I could switch directions and tell them the truth. Tell them that their intelligence was fine. It was lovely. But that it didn’t matter one little bit as compared to their habits.
Was it too late to tell them that they had to get to work (whether at a keyboard or at a garden row or at a patient’s bedside) and spend enough time practicing that when inspiration showed up, they would be there to benefit.
I am beginning class with that message tomorrow. Not saving it for last.