“Only boring people can be bored”
There are only two things that I remember taking from my 11th grade English teacher. This quote was one of them.
It was my first connection with the concept that every moment should be celebrated. When forced to pause, either in a waiting room, in traffic, or while waiting for a meeting – the opportunity to connect with the mind is a precious thing. To just follow the metronome of the breath, wrestle with a philosophical concept, engage the storyteller, or drift in a self-serving imaginative daydream. These fleeting seconds are valuable. The opportunity to be with the mind should never be wasted.
I was eventually forced to decide that the concept did not apply for students. In these situations the requirement is to pay attention, ostensibly to learn. Therefore I had to look for my own ways to animate the topic.
In the years that followed, I took to being prepared for idle moments where classroom attentiveness was not required. For example, Shambhalla publications release miniature versions of many of their titles. Living in a big city, frigid in winter, I would keep one of these miniaturized tomes in the deep pocket of my overcoat. Waiting for the subway or bus, I would paw at the pages with thick gloves and hear others voices.
Writing is the other use of such moments..
Whenever possible I carry a well-worn journal. A5x7 page format with a soft leather cover held closed by a thin leather wrap-around strap. The entries range from the incredibly mundane, to snippets of verse, or specific descriptive writing practice. Letting the pen dip into shallow cursive thoughts, at times yielding something latent within me.
The experience opens me up to a reward similar to that of contemplative meditation. Writing is my practice.
What was the second thing from my 11th grade English teacher that I grateful for? We could submit writing for (much needed) additional credit so I presented a collection of my first poems. While he had little to say about them, he knew of my interest in music and complimented a piece about a bird, suggesting I was writing about the legendary Saxophone player Charlie Parker. I accepted the compliment but had really only been writing about a bird. Or perhaps not.