Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The Early Years
Use this word in a sentence, the teacher said, and I was incredibly torn, because I loved to write but hated being told what to do — yes, even then — and yet I felt it my sacred duty to give the word a good home, to give it a place of honor on the rough blank gray sheet of paper, and so I began to write, and after writing for what felt like the whole joyous first day of summer vacation, I looked up and the teacher was standing beside another student’s desk saying That’s very good in a fraudulent meaningless tone, That’s very good in a way that proved I knew her better than she knew herself, That’s very good with no clue as to how or why — and then it was my turn, and before she could speak I said That’s very good, and was immediately sent to the principal’s office, a man with hair on his fingers who said That’s very bad in the same fraudulent meaningless tone, and I wondered if he and the teacher were married, and what words they used in sentences when they were home and their tasteless supper was cold, and if they ever, ever listened to themselves.
“The Early Years” added to Poems, Slightly Used.
In the Forum: Dylan’s Balzacian tendencies.