Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thankful Writer and Teacher...

A Thankful Writer and Teacher…

I am thankful for the six unpublished books that I have written: Summer Blue, A Field Beyond, Tracy’s Story, Goal Lines, The Guys, and Beyond the Rules.

I am thankful for the 6000+- hours I spent writing those books and the 69 rejections I received from publishing houses.

For the New England-based poetry editor who wrote to reject my poems about Weld, saying, “this is shit written by a dilettante…no substitute for the authentic stuff”… I am thankful.

I am thankful for my 1992 rejection to the UNH doctoral program.

I am thankful for the 60 rejections that I received for my published books and the 100’s I’ve received for articles and poems.

I am thankful for the following line from a book review…. “And finally, Richard Kent. Ah, Richard Kent who makes us all feel like we're not doing nearly enough. After reading his chapter, I felt a bit deflated. But I quickly moved on to others who seem a bit more realistic (but, yes, he does have great ideas).”

I am thankful for getting turned down for a job at Albion College in 1979 and at least a half dozen more places during my lifetime. 

I am thankful for the words of some of my portfolio-stressed high school students, including the following:

“Dear Mr. Kent, I hope you fucking die in a car crash on the way home.” [BTW, I made it home and called the student.]

“You are a horrible, untollerable, impatient, anal-retentive, conniving weasel.”

“Mr. Kent… as a teacher I don’t particularly care for you. I think your class sucks. There is a ridiculously huge amount of work in your class. Most of the stuff we read in your class is junk… I’m learning nothing in this class that will help me in any way in my life. I already know how to read and write and unless St. Exupery is going to do my taxes for me I’m not going to learn how to do anything in class that will actually help me in reality.”

Today, as I ran the mountain trails above Webb Lake, I thought of the no’s that I have endured and learned from. Not surprisingly, these disappointments have created both incentive and balance within my life….

Here’s to our failures and all those no’s… Happy Thanksgiving.   

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