Haven't posted since late April. I got a digital camera and went wild, taking between fifty and three hundred photos a day, this while teaching full-time, plus night classes, plus a hundred other things. I stated posting more and more photos on flickr.com, and hope you take a look here.

So instead of communicating with words, I've been saying it with photos. Today I had enough leftover to both write and photograph, because I needed to face something very sad and empty.

Today one of my former students died, the results of ingesting meth amphetamine. He was a tough nut to crack, too smart for his own good. He wore his brilliant potential like armor and dared us all to draw it out of him, while he seemed to do everything in his power to stall for time. He was going to be great, we all saw it, it was just a matter of growing out of his angst and attitude. He hung out with the best and brightest. Not the academic kids, but the edgy writers and artists and poets. He could write, that's for sure. And play the sax. And he was funny, a brilliant wordster. He'd hang back on the edges, quiet and self-contained, unless he could make a sarcastic remark, or crack a small smile at something one of his friends added.

I kicked him out of my class because after trying and trying to accommodate and draw out his potential, letting him do independent projects, anything so long as it was creative, he tried to placate me with a little animation he said he had made. I watched it. No, no way. I clicked on 'get info' and saw it had last been modified three years previously. Even after that he used to show me his writing from time to time. I still have a folder of it.

He and his friends graduated a couple of years ago, and they're all out in the world, designing, writing, making music, but he never got a grip. No school, no job, nothing beyond the good intentions stage. I think he was just too damn burdened by that damn potential everyone kept mentioning, too scared to try. And it's a damn shame, because it's nothing now. Before he had a chance to give it back to the world with his own stamp on it.

What a damn waste.


Blogger Randa said...

That story draws a big sigh. A sigh of...sorrow...that he wasn't able to grab on. And learn to cope with that pressure, and just be what he needed to be. For himself.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Race Bannon said...

This makes my heart hurt. I knew this type of kid went to school with this type of kid. played football with type of kid in the park. and Ive watched them die one by one. Sigh, so it goes, F@#* me to tears.

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not a new problem, but no less sad for that. have you read "the prodigy"?

3:43 AM  
Blogger db said...

Wiz, this struck so close to home I almost cried out. When I was younger, I was that kid... On some level, I still am. Is it coincidence that I came across this post on the day I decided to begin my life again? I think not. I have never been a big believer in *signs*, believing people see what they want to see, but after today, I'm beginning to be convinced otherwise...

I feel sorrow for the loss of potential you saw in this boy, a potential lost by the world... I only hope we all live to the fullest of our possibilities...


3:32 PM  
Anonymous Dentists Gainesville said...

That is certainly a sad story...I hope that after all these years, he found his way...

11:05 PM  

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