Practicing in Public

September 10, 2018

TODAY’S PROMPT: Keywords: expedientlycarvehementlysuperand

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I took a long swallow of water before I counted the completed registration forms. I turned to the parent sitting beside me. “I wish I knew why I volunteered for this torture every year. I think they purposely choose the hottest three days of August to have students come in to register for the fall.” I took another swallow of water.

“The first thing I’m doing when I get home,” the mother said, “is take a shower. My clothes feel like I went swimming in them.”

“So, ladies, how many students came in to register?” Mr. Martin, the principal, asked.

“I think I processed 250 kids. Maggie,” I turned toward the parent, “how about you?” She was still counting.

“I’ve counted 350 students so far,” she said as she continued to divide the forms into stacks of ten.

“Mrs. Baxter, when she finishes, bring me the forms in the office.” Mr. Martin spun on his heels and took off.

“Here, Mrs. Baxter.” Maggie handed me the stack of forms. “I hope you have a great year.”

“Thanks for your help.” Maggie picked up her purse and set her chair on top of the stack by the door and headed to her car.

As I stood up to leave, the doors to the library burst open. “Oh, super, you are still here. I need to register Precious for this school year.”

“Ma’am, registration ended 15 minutes ago. If you follow me to the office, Mr. Martin might have you complete the registration, but I don’t think the secretaries are still here to collect the school fees or assign lockers.”

“I couldn’t make it earlier.”

“Registration has been open for the last three days.”

“People work, you know. I do have a job.”

This was not going well. “That is why, Mrs. White, we have one day in the morning, one day in the evening, and one day in the afternoon. We try to accommodate everyone.”

“You haven’t accommodated me. Besides, you have forms in your hands,” she spit vehemently.

I prayed a silent, quick prayer that I didn’t have Precious in any of my classes this year. “Mrs. White, the initial registration forms were completed by the students last spring. I only have the second page copy of the registration forms that people came in for.” I slowly walked around the table. “Follow me.” I paused for a moment outside the library door to lock it.

“Do you have Precious in any of your classes? It would be great if she could have you as a teacher again.”

“I haven’t seen my class lists yet, Mrs. White.”

“Well, maybe you could pull some strings to get her transferred to your class.”

My gut cringed. ‘No, I seriously that the stress of having Precious in class should be spread around.’

“Or maybe I should talk to her counselor. I know Miss Cowell would do that for me. After all, we have a history.”

I think my eyes bulged open. I opened the door to the office for Mrs. White. “If you wait here a moment, I’ll see if Mr. Martin can do the registration for you.”

I knocked and waited for the usual “Enter.”

“Mrs. Baxter, I wanted to be home one last time for dinner – on time – before the school year starts. I wish you could have finished this task expediently.”

“Mr. Martin, I was detained by Mrs. White who showed up just as Maggie left. She wants to register Precious for the year.”

“And the stress has started.”

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With the beginning of September 2018, I re-committed to writing my “prompt pages” every day.



Maybe using the first 10 minutes of the class period with my high school creative writing students has stuck with me. I find that if I don’t start with these, I feel lost, but when I do, everything else to my writing day seems to flow. My “prompt pages” are written and posted without any editing. It is simply “showing up, butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard writing.

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