Over the last two years I have read Eat,Pray,Love, A Year Without “Made in China”, The Soul in Grief, MotherMysteries, 100 Mile Diet and The Wishing Year. Last night, I finished The Happiness Project. I have always loved memoirs. Lately it has been specifically project memoirs that have grabbed me, though I wasn’t aware that that there is an actual name for this type of memoir until I looked it up to write this post.
While reading The Happiness Project I began analyzing what it is about this genre that appeals to me. As I read Rubin’s 12 Personal Commandments and tagged along on her February focus of Love, the other part of my brain kept up a running conversation. Needless to say, the constant questioning got quite distracting at times.
Is it that everything is tied up in a neat 12 month package? – Not really, because it is the journey that is the purpose, not making it to December.
Is it the idea of the goal or project and seeing it followed through? – Likely, though at times that just makes me feel guilty or jealous as I am terrible at keeping up the momentum in projects. (As can be seen by my sporadic entries on this blog.)
Is it the opportunity to sit in on the conversations other people have in their mind? To participate in their moments of frustration and elation? – Most definitely. For one, it is reassuring to know that I am not the only one with an on-going narration following me around. Also, there is something lovely and inspiring in someone being willing to be that vulnerable. I know that there is editing and more editing that goes on in writing a book. Not to mention the ability to ‘cultivate’ a voice but regardless there is still a willingness to be vulnerable that gives me hope.
Eventually, I realized that what appeals the most to me is being witness to someone’s learning and the growth that comes with their exploration. Watching someone tease out an idea, play with it, question it, themselves and their world inspires me. I find beauty just as much in their mistakes and frustrations as I do in their successes; for it is in those moments that I know that they are still human and it is real. I guess that is one of the reasons that I am a teacher and not a CGA (another direction I could have gone – a bad direction but an option). To me teaching is not and never has been about me passing on information, there are better places to get facts than me. I share knowledge with my students. I teach them the skills they need to acquire information – reading, questioning, thinking, computing. I try and instill in them the understanding that it is not the destination that is always most important but the journey.
Which makes me wonder – what would my project memoir be about? Would it be Early Bird – one mother’s desperate attempt to learn how to love mornings which would probable make everyone happier around here. The truth is I am already on many different journeys. I promised myself I would take any opportunity that presented itself to me this year, a goal that I have mostly kept. I constantly working at being more self-sufficient and aware when it comes to our food. Each day I strive to be parent that is self-aware and present. I am starting the school year with the intention to be a teacher that is current, empathetic and who hands work back in a reasonable amount of time. However,upon reflection maybe all of those goals would benefit from being a bit more formalized and planned out. Not tonight though. If Early Bird is ever going to happen, I need to go to sleep.