I’m a Happy Guy

Today’s district-wide orientation, although tedious, wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. While the speakers droned on and on and on, I managed to write 53 new haiku in a steno book that I brought along just for that purpose. Like a mentor I had when I was in graduate school, I refuse to be bored at meetings that are anything but interesting.

My mentor’s name was James D. Glasse, and he was the president of Lancaster Theological Seminary. During the September seminar my first year at LTS, Jim decided to take us new seminarians to the local court house, where a forum on aging was in progress. I sat next to Jim as the speakers droned on and on and on.

Jim seemed to be keenly interested in the proceedings, because he was filling page after page of a yellow legal pad with notes. My curiosity was piqued. Maybe I was a poor listener. I decided to try to refocus my attention on what the speakers were saying, but thirty seconds later I was fidgeting in my seat.

Jim, however, was still scribbling furiously, so I decided to take a peek at his notes. That’s when I discovered that he was writing letters to friends. He looked up just before I could look away, and flashed me a huge grin. He leaned close and said, “I made up my mind years ago never to be bored at boring meetings. That’s why I carry this legal pad.”

I’ve followed Jim’s example ever since. I find legal pads too cumbersome and too conspicuous, so I prefer a steno pad instead, but I never go to a meeting without one. Two in-services, one on Thursday, the other on Friday, will be perfect opportunities for me to write more poetry.

Any day I can write, I’m a happy guy.

Posted on July 29, 2009, in in-service, mentors, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Awesome, ‘Possum! Great philosophy, one I also subscribe to.

  2. Oh, dear… don’t tell Mrs. Chili that I ended a sentence (above) with a preposition!

  3. Great story! And a great idea!

  4. “Stealing” this for tomorrow~ a conference in Austin and I will be on a bus. Plenty of opportunites to write.

    muchas gracias,

  5. The best is writing little notes like the kids themselves, to the other teachers, great icebreaker!

  6. In the old days, I used to bring a notebook to meetings. Now I bring my laptop. Sure looks like I’m taking a lot of notes!

  7. That’s what I do…postcards to my new students!

  8. I once wrote a short story based on an unfortunate turn of phrase used by a guy giving a workshop. He was giving lousy writing advice, anyway.

    These days I take my laptop for note-taking–and, if possible, switching back and forth between story and notes.

    I’ve seen colleagues doing things like filling out grant applications, writing letters, and even grading papers during in-services. You can guess how spell-binding the presentations were.

    During my last set, I was note-passing with a colleague who was interested in a TOSA position at my school.

  9. That’s a great idea. I think I remember passing my time like some of your friends here.

  10. As much as I’ll take your ideas into consideration in my endless hours of PD in August, I’ll also be trying to avoid creating rogue poetry writers while conducting my own session. Ugh. Bummer at both ends.

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