My heart

"A big heart is both a clunky and a delicate thing; it doesn't protect itself and it doesn't hide." Anne Lamott Bird by Bird.

I have always thought my kind heart has made me a better teacher and a better author...and I stand by this thought. It has helped me to have empathy for my students and to cry after 19 years of graduation. My heart in my classroom allows me to celebrate every one of my students' victories and feel the pain of every one of their sorrows.

Having a big heart also helps me write more believable and three-dimensional characters. I can feel their joys and their hopes as if they were really in front of me instead of inside my head. I think it makes my stories more real because I feel for all of my characters their happiness and sadness are all real to me (and hopefully my readers).

While it makes me a more compassionate teacher and a more authentic author, having a big heart does tend to cause me problems in my personal life. I tend to see people's potential rather than their realities. This had gotten me into trouble more times than I care to admit, but even with the mess I am currently cleaning up, I am still working to keep my big heart whole and open.

I know my life might be easier if I was more sheltered with my hart, but I just got the thing back out of hiding. After the loss of a love in 2010, I put my heart away -- never wanting to hurt or feel that much again.

But this affected my relationships with people and it affected my writing -- and those are both unacceptable to me, so I brought my heart back out again and I got it banged up -- again.

More material to write about.