Exerpt from my play: Backstage

A Chair

 

You wanna know what i learned in school today?

That if some one should come into our building with a mind to kill

We should pick up our chair--

Wait,

A mind to kill…

I thought a mind was a terrible thing to waste?

 

*Deep sigh*

you  know what,

Never mind.

If some nut decides to shoot up the place, I'm to grab a chair, shield myself and charge

He cannot kill us all she said.

 

And i looked at her to see if it was a joke

Which it wasn’t,

Then I had all of these questions….right

What  if he comes?

What if he he's armed?

What if he shoots?

what if he  kills?

What if he finds us?

Where will i be sitting?

Will be fast enough?

Will it hurt ?

Will i drop the chair?

Will i

Die?

 

If he comes

Cause we know its usually a he,

And we know he is usually suffering

Mentally in some way,

And we know he usually pics schools,

But we don't know how to stop him.

 

That's just great!

Our only weapon against a mind to kill

Is broken pencils  and eraser dust.

But a mind is a terrible thing to waste?

 

So somebody hand me a chair

So i can practice,

So i can be ready,

Cause he can’t kill us all.

 

Maybe I wont be nervous

W practice.

Maybe i wont drop the chair.

Maybe ill do chair lifts or maybe, maybe  i’ll just sit here

Until the adults figure it out

Cause u see a chair, a chair, is a terrible thing to waste

Life's Gold

Tis the last day of the Olympics.  We just watched the best in the world gather together to fight it  out for the gold medal of his or her sport.  I was delighted by the U.S. Women's track team, Simone Manuel and her historic, win, Usaine Bolts insane speed and of course, Simone Biles and her domination of gymnastics.

I cannot say much that has not already been said, or pointed out with the excited eloquence of a sports commentator however,  I would like to comment on the one thing that I learned which is this:  each of us works hard at some kind of craft all the time.  It could be to pass a math class, to be a terrific cook, the best in a sport, or a beloved writer.  This work is lifelong and on-going, but when your spot finally comes to take the stage:  have fun.  Simone Biles, Usaine Bolt, even the women's track team seemed to be having fun.  Biles' megawatt smiles, Bolt's singing smiling and dance moves, and Kristi Catlin's runway strut out to the Olympic track made their feats seem effortless.

When you know that you have prepared, put on your happy face and have fun.  

Double Trouble

One of my favorite things to do while working is turn on some kind of cooking show or food show in the background while I am working.  Nothing makes grading 100 English papers more bareable like learning how to make a smoked salmon frittata, the perfect risotto, or watching people gush over the most decadent chocolate thing that they have ever eaten.  Often I will stop a minute,  to indulge in the mixing, measuring or munching, and then jump right back into working.

I was doing just that the other day when a commercial caught my eye.  It was a man discussing the many fascinating accomplishments of his ancestors, which were impressive I must add.  However, he merely skimmed the surface of his ancestral majesty, giving only one characteristic shared by philosophers, inventors, and explorers, and that common trait pushed him to do something about the most important shared characteristic:  the ominous double chin.

I sat in awe of this commercial while a second party comes on and speed talks through side effects and the don'ts of the medication until it ends.   So, let me get this straight....we gather the best of our ancestors not to try to invent something, cure something, or even write a next level novel. but destroy a double chin? Wow.

This experience bought to mind a poem by Audre Lorde:

"Good Mirrors are not Cheap"

It is a waste of time hating a mirror
or its reflection
instead of stopping the hand
that makes glass with distortions
slight enough to pass
unnoticed
until one day you peer
into your face
under a merciless white light
and the fault in a mirror slaps back
becoming
what you think
is the shape of your error
and if I am beside that self
you destroy me
or if you can see
the mirror is lying
you shatter the glass
choosing another blindness
and slashed helpless hands. 

Because at the same time
down the street
a glassmaker is grinning
turning out new mirrors that lie
selling us
new clowns
at cut rate 

We are constantly in the glare of the mirror, or shall I say the ubiquitous selfie.  I once watched a student stare at herself for two and a half hours straight until she found the best selfie angle. We snap these pictures at a forced angle, search for the perfect filter, and then post it for the world to respond to.  'Cept now, we refuse to deny what the camera shows us,  as Lorde said we do, and we seek cut rates on making the lie go away, or not be true anymore.  

I have  a double chin. Yep, it's true.  It likes to look pretty in pictures too.  Someday, I hope that my offspring reviews its lineage, sees my life as a beautiful one, and then seeks to duplicate the beauty while ignoring my  chins. #imjustsaying

Medicine for the Soul

A couple of weeks ago, a link kept popping up on my social media timelines.  I avoided it, thinking myself way to smart to fall into the pitfalls of groupthink. I lost this battle, needless to say, and I clicked on this link that had been looming around my timelines beckoning my finger to tap it and to glue my eyes to whatever .internet masterpiece was being offered.  So I tapped it.

The suspense grew as the lady on my screen eagerly made her way into the packaging of a Chewbacca mask all the while explaining how much this moment meant to her.  After some set-up, and a bit of banter, infectious laughter tore into my soul.  This mask, the strange sound it made and her happiness  was a joy to share with her.  I felt like I was a close friend that she was face timing with.  For four minutes, I was with my friend, laughing, healing my soul from the thrashing it endures with the worries of the world.  Soon, I was laughing just as hard as she was, and I loved it.   

Many that I have talked to since the video went viral and earned the Chewbacca mom lots of money and recognition.  Comments flowed with how feelings of how undeserving the mother was of so much attention when the world was hurting and filled with so many issues that required and even deserved immediate attention.  How amazingly pitiful must our world be to send such a video viral?  What does this say about our priorities, our society, even our intelligence?  I mean, this video went viral in minutes, literally.  

At first, I shared many of the same sentiments.  It's easy to do so. The world can have a way with your mind, especially when one watches too much news.  The world can warp your spirit with poverty, war, crime, and death.  Speaking of death, there has been so much death this year; so many people that we have leaned on in because of the gifts that have shared with us have left this realm for the afterword.

.So what does that leave us to do?  Become bitter, ravaged by the out pour of problems?  Pessimistic? No, we are humans. The Candace Payne understands how to deal with the pains of the world and she went viral because she gave us a gift, one that I am very thankful for.  In four minutes and five seconds, she reminded us to laugh, to heal, and to connect with the simple things in life.  The Chewbacca mom was just what we all needed.  

Laughter is medicine for the soul, Thank you Candace for a healthy dose.  

 

Forgotten

A student of mine was once asked what was his greatest fear.

His reply was, “to be forgotten”.

  This week has certainly been one of loss.  Not to mention those earlier this year….

Natalie Cole

David Bowie

Doug Banks

Maurice White

Many names and faces that I will never know.

Chyna, a permanent fixture of my teenage years with my grandmother.

Sasha Avanna Bell, the mother of the Flint movement.

Billy Paul, of Mrs. Jones fame.

And of course, our beloved Prince.

The most unexpected and the one that hit me the hardest was one of my students.  I lost one of my students this week.  He was not the one that mentioned being forgotten but, he will not be forgotten.

Its been some week.  

And then the weeks end came…and the genius of Don Cheadle bought Miles Davis back to life and Beyonce reminded me of how absolutely amazing it is to be a woman, and how life is never sour with a good Lemonade recipe.

All of these LIVING souls, along with those that passed, reminded me of my magic.

The magic is not thinking about being forgotten but doing work that matters-- to you. 

To you.

To you.

To You!

And how can that be forgotten?

What you are on this earth to do, to express, matters.  Don’t fear it, or walk away from it.  Learn it, love it, dance in it, praise it, perfect it, and be proud of it.  It’s yours, this joy of yours, this thing that you need to express, it’s not a game, it’s your throne, it’s your crown.  That is worth your time.  How can that be forgotten?

I will never forget my student. I will always remember their smile, their style, their rhythm, and beauty and because of THAT student, I am reminded of how important my work is to the students that are still with me. 

I am honored to have lived in the Purple Reign and to have walked the Earth at the same time as Prince. He reminds me to constantly work at my craft, to grow, and to enjoy the process.

It's been quite week.

I will never forget its lesson.

 

Just Be

I go back to work tomorrow.

I am not sad about my return though...in fact, I am not even dreading it.  I would never say that I dread going back to work, but this time, I am going back refreshed.

Usually, when break time comes, I am broken down.  I spend my whole break sick.  I return to work having just got over a cold.  I got the flu a week before Spring vacation this year, and I spent break doing exactly what everyone should do on a break...absolutely nothing.

There were mornings when I woke up just minutes before noon.  There were nights when I went to bed just minutes before dawn.  I played Candy Crush saga, watched anime, and found a terrific new show to watch:  Mr. Robot.  I did some feng shui in my home (Spring cleaning), I did laundry, and ate.  

I hit the pause button, for real.  I lay in bed and allowed myself to just breathe.  I allowed myself to listen to the birds chirp conversations, to half-listen to the radio broadcast playing softly in the background,  to hear myself breathe.  I did not get up, or move, I just lie there and enjoyed the serenity of oxygen in my lungs, warm flowing blood in my veins, and life in my body.

We all deserve and need, to hit the pause button. We need to sit, as a teacher of mine says, in the pause, and not think.  We need to not browse social media, send a text, like a picture, or even speak. It is a necessity to understand what it feels like to exist, to hit the pause button and level yourself out, and ground yourself again.

Summer is around the corner, next time you have a moment, lay on your bed, don't speak or be spoken to, don't read, or even think, close your eyes and just be.

 

woman-relaxing-in-bubble-bath.jpg

Fantastic Voyeurs

So Spring Break is here.  I get to rest a bit from my efforts and my daily battles with students.   What do I do on this break?  Go and discover a fantastic new show to binge watch.   The show? Mr. Robot. 

 Its incredible.  The lead character is crazy, literally, I mean, batshit crazy.  He is also brilliant, vulnerable and incredibly lovable.  He knows himself so well that he manages to lose himself; perhaps by accident, perhaps as a way to cope.  He is a drug addict and a genius; he is also so odd looking that it makes him beautiful.

The show is well written, it hacks into people's character, all because it shows how open we make ourselves with our cell phones and various other technology.  We hide ourselves from the public and reveal our true selves to our technology; it (whatever form it may take) we key breadcrumbs of our character and our morality into digital devices that we entrust with our deepest darkest fears and secrets. Some of us even create alternate worlds and lives that we live all completely online. 

 The main character on the show, Elliot, can see through the facade...he can see the person behind the keys, the reason behind the clicks, he can see, you.  That's what is so fascinating, because while he is decoding the person in the scene, while he is unraveling their facade, we are there as audience members to unravel him.

On the show, computers are only a vehicle to much more interesting subject matter, humans. Humans run around and hurt each other for greed, for power, and to somehow prove that they are not here alone. Computers, data, mobile connections, and 4g, that's just a new way to go about ones plans, a quicker way to be seen, heard, and never forgotten.

I look at this show, and I wonder what effect have computers and networks will have on the personable-ness of the next generation and on how they use their brains.  I have information right at my fingertips, hundreds and hundreds of songs all with me at all times, (remember when you used to carry around a notebook of CD's?), I can shop in my pajamas, and talk to people from the comfort of my couch, yet It doesn't seem that my students realize how amazing their tablets and cell phones are.

A teacher's worst enemy can be a cell phone.  There is a whole world that a student holds in his or her world that does not involve you or whatever it is that you are trying to force feed to the people that sit before you.  

I have become really savvy about utilizing cell phones as tools for research, for finding answers, clarifying the unclear, yet even I cannot break the zombie-like gaze that my students, young and older, have on their cellphones.  I cannot offer something more interesting than whatever is calling them back into that world. This world is often not one of fact finding, clarifying, or even music...its gazing at the world of other people.

It seems that we are not training thinkers but voyeurs....  We are allowing our young people to walk around gazing at an alternate universe from their cell phones.

Take some family time, or time with friends, turn on the first few episodes of Mr. Robot, and discuss it.  Hack yourself and discover what online habits are there.  Do you lose yourself behind that keyboard?  Do your kids?  Would you be afraid of who people would find if they hacked you?

Hats off to Sam Esmail (the show's creator) and Rami Malek (lead actor) for an incredible show that is incredibly diverse and explores our humanity in such a complex way.

 

 

 

 

On Fridays or Any Other Day When It's Necessary

  I sat in my seat antsy, anticipation building, salivating like a sick dog.  I was deathly quiet and trying to distract myself with the low lights, the hum of the fans and the depressing news that glared at me from overhead.  I tried unsuccessfully not to think about the consequences, about the risk, about the possible outcomes of this indulgence.  It was out of my budget but I was on another person's dime.  Besides, other desserts were ersatz compared to this plate of tempura ecstasy.  It could possibly spread my thighs another inch, protrude my belly over my unmentionables, or even give me another chin to helpdecorate my features.  Hell, it could do a lot of things but not today!  Today the only thing it was going to spread was a smile across my salivating mouth.
  The grinning waitress brought it out.  I got angry at her; I'm not sure why.  Perhaps I thought she was silently mocking my scale-shattering menu choice.   "So much for a girlish figure", I imagined her saying.  Then again, it probably ain't that serious.  She sets it down, and once she is a safe distance from further mocking and potential chiding, I pick up my fork and glide it into my slice of heaven.  Then only thing interrupting the angelic sound of fork meeting a golden crisp is the sound of my brother across the table assaulting his slice like a desperatekindergartener scrambling for the last ball at recess.  I open my mouthto bliss and temporary disillusionment and thank God for tempura-fried cheesecake aka, #heavenonearth.  Yes folks, I'm a bonafide foodie, and this golden fried cheesecake complete with crispy outside drizzled in chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a happy red cherry, is one of the reasons why.  Vegetables and water are good for our bodies, but this five minutes of sheer satisfaction is worth a week of excruciating exercise (that I may or may not partake in *smile*).    There is a reason why there is soul-food, comfort-food, home-cooked meals, and things that just make you dive in despite diet.  Need a moment?  Indulge, its good for you too!

 

Ugly

"I'm ugly", she said.

She said it with finality, and assuredness.  She said it without question or argument.  It was accepted, final, a life-sentence earned with 17 years worth of experience.  

Somewhere, someone forgot to smile at her lovingly.  Someone forgot to curl the ends of their smile when she came into a room, they forgot to share a belly laugh with her, to tickle her until stars danced in her eyes.

"I'm ugly", she said.

Didn't someone tell her that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice?  Didn't someone brush her hair a bit too long just to relish in its loveliness?  Didn't someone, anyone look up from their busy day to notice the life in her laugh, to touch her face and to tell her, "you look nice today?"

"I'm ugly"...she said.

"I know it", she continued...without shame or pause, without fighting it.  She had given into a reality that what she looked at in the mirror was ugly, a set of features arranged on a face that begged others for acceptance.  A body too short, too round, too imperfect to be appreciated, even by herself.  So she wears jackets even when she is hot.  She angles the phone a million different ways before deciding on her selfie, and even then, does she post it?  

In one year, she will graduate with a high shool diploma, she will graduate not quite sure of anything, except, of course, the knowingness that she is ugly.

Who let this happen?

In that moment, would have moved Earth if I could have to prove to her that she was wrong.  I told her so, vehemently, but maybe all she heard was words from a sweet teacher she hangs out with sometimes.  So I write, for her, to her, about her and for her, and all of those young ones who are sure of the same statement...

"I'm ugly."

 

 

 

Didn't You Hear?

Today justice spoke. 

Clarence Thomas broke his silence for the first time in ten years today, and many RSS feeds are cluttered with clicks from those straining to hear what he had to say.  We are also listening to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Chris Rock.  

While we listen, we are coding messages into the present.

#Askmemore  #JusticeforFlint  #62Milliongirls #BlacklivesMatter

Our future is happening now.  It is being shaped by what we are learning, what we are choosing to see, choosing to listen to, and how we are moving forward as a result of our ingestion.

I have faith in humanity. Slowly, we are beginning to see the  humanity in each other.  Sometimes it's by brute force, sometimes it is a subtle suggestion, but it is happening.  The sexism, racism, classism, ableism, and ageism, stand in front of us stark naked and in pure absurdity. The revolution will be televised, and streamed, and hashtagged, and shared, and liked. It's happening now.

Margaret Mead, the world-renowned anthropologist said once of a group of people... "everybody thinks they're beautiful...I've now figured out why:  that for maybe two or three thousand years they never saw anybody but themselves, and they think they're beautiful and they are so impressed with themselves that everybody else thinks they're beautiful.  If you think you're beautiful, you move like a beautiful person."

We have been with each other for many thousands of years, we are the only choice we have:  beating hearts, flowing blood, human life, standing together. indivisible, and with justice for all. I know that we can #askhermore and tell her she looks nice too.  I know that we can bring about #justiceforFlint and #62milliongirls.  I know that #blacklivesmatter because #alllivesmatter. We can do all of those things because we are so very impressed with ourselves.

Tonight, on this 29th day of February, in a leap year, I close my eyes knowing that our past, our present and our future is taking a leap of faith with us because we are choosing to see with a different set of eyes, eyes that see humanity as the common denominator in our everyday living and in our #hashtagsofprotest.

Today, justice spoke.  

Did you hear it?



Swift to Speak

Tis the season of, "and the award goes to...".  The Superbowl,  the Grammy's, the Oscar's, and many more award shows are all giving us reason to applaud our favorite stars for a job well done.   All over the country, someone is winning and someone is losing.

During this season, I have made several interesting observations.

 1.  I don't think sex is the top sales pitch anymore.

2.  Picking people apart is waaaay more fun.

3.  I'm glad (insert spiritual entity here) isn't on social media. 

4.  We missed Lady Gaga's elation for her Golden Globe win, yet somehow caught Leonardo DiCaprio's smirk during Gaga's march to the podium.

5.  We couldn't celebrate with Peyton Manning until we picked apart the reaction of his brother Eli.

6.  Some of us get to be wounded warriors in sporting events, and some of us are just sore losers.

7.  We delighted in the fact that we may have finally proved that Will and Jada's parenting techniques don't work because they have a fearless son.

8.  It is never okay to carry hot sauce in ones bag, besides, bottles are not allowed at the Superbowl.

9.  Celebrations of culture are still controversial.

10.  We are gods at gossip; we eat babies for breakfast.

There was one more observation that I made.  Of all the worst dressed lists, memes, and nasty trending topics on social media, Taylor Swift, and her genuine joy for her friend, at first, at least, puzzled everyone.  Some called it over the top, some say she stole the thunder from Ed Shereen.  Whatever the case, the camera's lingered so we could all gawk at Ms. Swift's reaction.

She was happy for her friend.

 She was how we all said Cam Newton should have been.

She was lady-like.

She showed us all humanity, in a very well-dressed moment.

And I loved it.

Perhaps the Hunger Games was not just a book and a movie.   Maybe we pattern our society with the same brutality that was seen in the book and movie. We give our children a bath, a glass of juice and a Poptart, then send the off to school having taught them the fine art of judgement.  Once in the arena, they taunt, and terrorize their classmates just as we have shown them, in our living rooms, in our hashtags, and in our media.

Then we ask them not to bully.

To play on Kendrick Lamar's Grammy award-winning lyrics...

"We are the biggest hypocrites of 2016

if you troll social media, then you'll know just what I mean

We spew beautiful hatred, at people that we'll never meet

and then we make it viral, spread it all in a tweet"

Here's to humanity.

Great job Ms. Swift.


Home

Once upon a time, I saw a strange world.

  As a bright eyed graduate student, I was eager to experience something life-changing.  Two planes and twenty plus hours later, I arrived in a place with different dialects, different languages, customs, food, and different constellations stretched above my head.  Gone was the Big Dipper that I was accustomed to, instead, the Southern Cross greeted me from the Heavens.  In South Africa, I walked many miles inside museums, libraries, universities, and market places.  I tried to memorize every smell, sound, color, sight and feeling that I was experiencing.  I tasted things I have never tasted, made friends, and I marveled at what deal I must have made with Spirit that would allow me, even if for a few weeks, to be lulled to sleep by the crashing waves of the ocean.

The ocean was literally in my back yard.

  The majority of our planet and our body is made up of water, so to see it sprawl before you is breath taking and humbling. The ocean stilled me.   I recognized the power of the water and sought it out at every chance I got. 

Then, I realized that water was a luxury for many of the people in the cities I visited. 

Tin and cardboard shanty homes were furnished with only makeshift beds; there were no toilets...and no water.  I was amazed!  OCEANS were all around, in some cases; the smell of salt was faintly in the air, yet these people, these humans, composed of mostly water, in a nation surrounded by OCEANS, in a planet made of mostly water, had little access to...water.

We students, proud Ah-mer-ree-cahns, toured the shanty houses.  I was ashamed....we shouldn't be allowed into these communities to gawk at their poverty, I thought. 

What can I do? 

I just finished eating seafood straight from the ocean that sat in my view, what am I supposed to do with this experience?  Miles and miles of shanty towns before the beauty and luxury of ocean front houses and business, how does this not shame all who see it?

My eyes flowed with water.

Children ran out of the makeshift tin homes to chase the Ah-Mare-Ree-Cahns.   In that space, we were famous. We were rich, giants, walking dreams.  We Ah-mare-ree-cahns, we students of little means and big hearts, searched our pockets for our meager snacks.  We handed out crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, half eaten candy bars, and snapped pictures with the big-grinned babies.

My smile hid what heart thought.

At least give them the dignity of flushing their own toilet.

Ah-mare-ree-cah is not perfect, but THIS, I thought, would NEVER happen back home.

 

And then...there was Flint.

Babies burned by baleful waters.       

How does this not shame all who see it?

Once upon a time, I saw a strange world, wait...

I am mistaken...

This is home.

Because it Needed to Exist

I had a teaching assignment in a really rough school; my hallway was known as Chiraq, or The Crazies, or Land No Administrator Dare Venture.  I came in midway through the year, and was told point blank by my students that I would not last a week.  "We ran away two teachers," they said truthfully, "We give you a week."

 And they tried it.  

I called everyone to vent about it.  

I meditated on it.

And one day; I walked boldly into the principal's office and threatened to quit if something wasn't done about the behavior problems.  I wasn't really going to quit; I was strapped for cash, and I had not had health insurance in seven months.

But DAMN!

There were issues with gangs.

Mothers who had abandoned sons...and daughters.

Parents who had been killed.

Mothers who were but eleven years their child's senior.

Extreme poverty.

There were eighth graders that read on a second grade level (if that), single digit scores on state tests, and a refusal to believe that they were capable of anything, ANYTHING, good.

I stuck to my guns, and keep teaching, keep reaching, and saw progress....one inch at a time.  They complained, fought, cursed me out, threatened physical violence, wrote nice--cussword riddled--misspelled sentiments on my desk for me to find, stole my cell phone, my lunch--"the fat bitch didn't need it anyway", they snickered--skateboarded on freshly broken furniture, and found all kinds of other interesting ways to chase away my sanity.

Well, I assigned a Black History project about a month into my stay; they were actually trying to do it!!!! I felt like GOD that day!  That is until I overheard one of my students dismissing the Black Panthers as stupid members of a gang.  Me being me, I assigned THAT kid one of the Black Panthers as the center of his project.  

I looked up a bit later as the class seemed a bit too quiet, especially for eighth graders.  I found this same kid intensely searching the dictionary.  I asked him what he was searching for.  He looked at me like I was plum stupid, which was normal, "The Black Panthers Ms. Goodman".  "Oh sweetie", I say, "You won't find them in the dictionary".  I chuckle a bit, these kids really had no idea how to use reference books, but at least he was trying. Yes!  Score:  kids 1 million, Me: (maybe two?)

He goes to get his textbook.  "You won't find them there either", I said while still looking on.

He looks at me like I'm stupid again, which I am quite used to.  Then he puts the textbook away, and grabs a student encyclopedia.  Now, as I realize what is happening,  I am not amused at all.  "Uh, You won't find them there, either.  I will get you some sources."  I say.

He then looks exasperated.

"You mean to tell me, I can't find them in the dictionary....I can't find them in the social studies book.... I can't find them in the encyclopedia or any other book here either?!!!  Ms. Goodman?!"  

"Yes?" I reply calmly.

"You write and stuff right?"

"Yes." I say

"I mean books and stuff?" he asked, still exasperated.

"Yes". I said, a bit confused.

"Well?!! Where is our book?"

My young one, thank you for the fire and the responsibility.  Here is your book.


http://store.bookbaby.com/book/chasitiesgoodman

Mind you, this book is not necessarily for eighth graders, and it does not solve the issue originally presented by the student, yet it does answer the students call for me to understand his plight in the classroom, if for no other reason than I have stood in that spot before.  Our classrooms hold so many children who look and think, and feel like we once felt. Our classrooms are filled with students who have no validation, who have no voices that sound like theirs.  ALL children belong.  ALL children should be reached right where they are because there is something special about that space and there is nothing wrong with them. Those students need teachers that understand, they need teachers to answer their calls, to validate them, to feed them with books, with lessons, and stories that answer the demands of academics and reach beyond those academics to speak to their souls.

So, I hear you young soul.  I hear you.  I saw your frustration and I still see it in the many beautiful students that I teach.  Your question, the boldness of it, was one of the sparks that inspired this book.  So, here is my effort to validate you; here is your book, and many more to come.

With Love,

Ms. Goodman