Sunday, June 23, 2013

Whatifs Hit Hard--And I LOVE It

You know that poem "Whatif" by Shel Silverstein? If you don't, here it is:


by, Shel Silverstein

    Last night, while I lay thinking here,
    Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
    And pranced and partied all night long
    And sang their same old Whatif song:
    Whatif I'm dumb in school?
    Whatif they've closed the swimming pol?
    Whatif I get beat up?
    Whatif there's poison in my cup?
    Whatif I start to cry?
    Whatif I get sick and die?
    Whatif I flunk that test?
    Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
    Whatif nobody likes me?
    Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
    Whatif I don't grow tall?
    Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
    Whatif the fish won't bite?
    Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
    Whatif they start a war?
    Whatif my parents get divorced?
    Whatif the bus is late?
    Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
    Whatif I tear my pants?
    Whatif I never learn to dance?
    Everything seems swell, and then
    The nighttime Whatifs strike again!
Well, the Whatifs are crawling in my ear. I'm just twelve hours from starting my four-week journey through the National Writing Project and the Whatifs are powerful:

  • Whatif the instructors are tough and not personable?
  • Whatif they give a ton of outside work to go along with my other goals of being an involved dad this summer?
  • Whatif the other students are so much "better" at writing, reading, and understanding than I am?
  • Whatif I can't find my tribe within the bigger group?
  • Whatif I learn that I'm not a writer?
  • Whatif I learn that I am?
The only way for me to rid myself of the Whatifs is NOT to. I accept them as important to my journey. Asking these questions, wondering about them, living with them, and answering them along the way are all part of taking a class. It's the anxiety and fun of being a student. I don't pretend that the Whatifs don't exist; I include them in the possibilities. 

Whatif the National Writing Project changes my life?