Today we read a children’s book called Ish, by Peter Reynolds, about a young boy who is an artist…ish. “Ish” is one of the best suffixes out there, and the book – which was fabulous, by the way – got me to thinking. I free-wrote a response after reading, and then went back to it some time later and responded to myself. The original writing is in bold and my responses are in regular face.

ISH. A lot of the time I feel like I am writing poem-ish things, or memoir-ish things. A lot of times I think I am writing…ish.

Interesting, really. I mean, I seem to devote a lot of energy to trying to write fiction, but did I even mention fiction here? Not at all. Of course, I’m never entirely sure that my poems are really poems (man, the ghost of Trusky haunts me) or that I have anything to memoir-ize about, but when I write they seem to fall into those categories. Heck, even my fiction reads like someone else’s memoir.

I am fairly certain that I am a good-ish teacher and/or that I am pretty good at teaching-ish.

A pretty important distinction, actually. Maybe I teach at a fairly decent ability level… or maybe I am good at doing something that is almost, but not entirely, teaching. I have a lot of doubt about my competence and quality as an educator. I worry that I am faking it too often….

I do not believe that I can erase the “ish” of all that. There is a lot of not quite and a lot of faking it.

Hey, that’s what I just said.

I think I am healing…ish. I think I am hopeful…ish.

Yeah… sometimes it is hard to tell. There are good days and bad days, to be sure. I don’t really recognize this emotional landscape anymore. It is extremely ish.

I am not sure if I am academic-ish (or if I want to be) or artistic-ish (or if I can help that).

I’ve always been the academic one, and my sister has always been the artistic one, but as we grow older the lines blur… and when we talk about things like that whole dynamic thinking model stuff, I have to say to myself that I am artistic-ish rather than saying I am not artistic, especially given that that isn’t even true unless I try to compare myself to my sister.

I am thinking of being schoolish vs. rigorousish.

Say that five times quickly.

I am thinking about faith, and how mine is shatteredish, and how I really don’t know how to feel about that other than very ishy. If I could find the pause button, or skip ahead over this scratch in the CD, I might be able to come down on one side or the other of my ishiness….

Tell me about it, girlfriend.


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