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Bits and pieces, including why kids grow up so fast and the joy of live performances

Natalia Naman Temesgen.
Natalia Naman Temesgen.
In losing a week of writing my column, I feel as though I have more that I’d like to communicate than one column might allow. So I’ll do my rare thing of sharing a buffet of thoughts and announcements, generally unrelated outside of being of interest to me. Indulge me today, won’t you?

My daughter turns 6 next week. What? When? Where? How did the time fly? Why can't we hit "pause?" Still, we couldn't be prouder of our growing girl. She is innately tuned into the feelings of others, and full of persistence and a curiosity to learn more about any and everything. She's also a fantastic student and friend. Happy birthday, sweet girl.

How many are celebrating spring break? I remember a time when that week was reserved for endless play or trips to the Gulf Coast. Even though I work as an educator, my spring break is again reserved for grading papers. I am still seeking a way to make the assessment of student writing efficient while remaining effective for the student. This is not a novel challenge; composition assessment has long been the arduous task it still is today. Rubrics can help with efficiency, but there must be more creative and meaningful methods of doing this work.

Here’s a genuine question for you: Why do you go to live performances? Let’s leave music out of this for a moment. Why do you attend performances that involve other humans speaking in front of you? Comedy. Performance art. Traditional theater. What do you go to those spaces to do? I have been intimately involved in the creation of theater for so long now that this week I am questioning whether I still have a handle on the mind of the average theatergoer. When I go, I am eager to take a journey out of my status quo. When the performer(s) take the stage, I can feel my mind open. My chest literally opens. I sit up straighter and lean forward. If I don’t feel willing or capable of taking the ride, I will generally not go to the theater. That can be a painful and irritating experience. But what is your genuine motivation when choosing to go to the theater or comedy club? Is it just something to do? It is a way to feel more cultured? Is it wanting to be told a satisfying story? Or wanting to escape from an unsatisfying day-to-day? Do tell.

I wish you a happy weekend and week ahead.

Natalia Naman Temesgen is a playwright and professor of creative writing at Columbus State University in Columbus.