“Keep on Working”

Ironically, as I created and posted two pieces on my “big job” from early last summer, I received an emergency phone call (well not emergency, just last-minute and out of the blue) to ask if I could get myself up to Andrew and do a bit of substituting on Wednesday. Half the day is not too bad a stint to serve, regardless what the class; and per my usual behavior, I had pretty well been wasting the morning up to that point; and as always we could use the money, however little. So of course I accepted.

The “bag of books and notebooks.” You can see I have my research reading for Sepharad and the hopefully now famous “big red notebook.” What you canʼt see are two paperbacks within — Fritz Leiberʼs Fafhrd-and-Gray-Mouser novel “Swords of Lankhmar” (canʼt italicize in these captions, dagnabbit, so weʼll just endure the incorrect use of quotation marks) and Frank Yerbyʼs “Odor of Sanctity,” a wonderful book that I was gratified to be able to reread on the excuse of background and research for Søren and Judah.

A teacher was ill, and they needed a sub just about instantly. (I myself have been in that pitiable teacherʼs shoes memorably more than thrice before, so I was more than merely sympathetic.) I dressed myself as quickly as humanly possible, grabbed a bottle of water and my preloaded bag of books and notebooks that I always take “just in case” (and that case is usually the one Iʼm in, which is why “Mistakes by Moonlight” ever got written), hopped in the truck, and headed on up to school, arriving only about twenty to twenty-five minutes after the call (I felt pretty pleased with myself; I hope in actuality I had moved along quickly enough).

This particular teacher writes excellent plans, and she followed that pattern even handwritten while feeling noticeably poorly that day. The only downside there: I couldnʼt do anything I wanted — I had to teach, so my bag of books and notebooks was superfluous. Oh well, the whole point of working is to do that job while you are doing it. I could always read and write another day (and I thought that unprofiting* day would be yesterday).

The Andrew students are always generously kind and pretend to be moderately excited (or at least not disappointed) to have me as a substitute. So the somewhat more than four hours that I spent at school Wednesday went pretty easily as I finished out her day. When I left the building, stopping by the office to sign my substitute sheet (getting paid is the whole point, and that sheetʼs the only record created that one has done any work, so filling it out ranks somewhere above “vitally important”), the new superintendent/principal chatted me up as he often does, politely, and asked about my availability for the next day, which would be yesterday. Until I get my act in gear and either undertake some new career or get some writing finished, submitted, accepted and published or sign myself on to sub at other schools, as I should, my availability is pretty much a given. Which is exactly what I told him. The call to continue that sub assignment, as the teacher was not feeling better, came about 7:30 Wednesday evening. So I served as temporary replacement teacher again on Thursday.

Itʼs always nice to make a little money, even though those full days remind me invariably of why I enjoy no longer teaching full-time. Once again, however, the kids were generous and well behaved, the lesson plans excellent, and the day more rewarding with time I could spend at a book or notebook while all the students were reading their assignments. Fortunately or un-, my choice when those times arose was to read, so not much progress got made on anything I am writing. I did, however, read through the “Mistakes by Moonlight” page here on the blog,** just to verify information and wordings and to proofread/edit/check what I had written. I was dismayed to discover I have a lot of changes to make — particularly with the most recently dictated material (boy, did Dictate a few months back not understand my mumbling!),*** where whole paragraphs make little to no sense, some of which Iʼm going to have to check back against the handwriting, hard enough to interpret itself, because even I donʼt know what I meant. With luck Iʼll get all that done and that page corrected today. I also realized I never added the “new” material I had been revising and adding earlier this past autumn, which will be easy enough to do by simply locating the post and copying the information to paste in the proper place.

With that, I believe I have given myself my marching orders…

Have a great weekend!

* Why do I keep forcing myself to invent words. Yes, spellcheckers of all varieties (as these posts now pass through three separate spellchecking programs), I meant “a day with no money made” rather than “a day that was not worthwhile, fiscally or otherwise” (unprofiting rather than profitless or unprofitable.)

** I am glad that technologically Ian access my blog from the school now (some of the students even told me they had been reading it during a computer class previously).

*** Now that is a magnificently long and jumbled (if absolutely correct) sequence of punctuation, particularly when you include the asterisk(s) indicating this footnoteʼs here.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A

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