Writing 101: Join Me For a Virtual Coffee Date?

coffee shopToday’s Writing 101 assignment asked me to write an update post in the form of a “virtual coffee date,” you know, like catching up with a friend over a hot drink. Join me for a cuppa?


If we were having coffee right now, I’d be asking questions more than I’d be answering yours. But I don’t credit Brian Grazer for that; long before I started reading his book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, I’ve leveraged my own curiosity not only as a means to cure boredom, spark my creativity, and develop empathy for other people, but also as a way to avoid having to talk about myself.

Grazer has no such aversion; the book is a series of boasts about the famous and influential people with whom he has had “curiosity conversations.” The book offers very little insight or inspiration (at least through the end of chapter 5, which is where I decided to hang it up). I was fascinated, though, by a quote in the introduction attributed to Albert Einstein:

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

Who would have thought that a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and I had so much in common?

If we were having coffee right now, you’d notice my energy is lower than usual. I didn’t sleep a lot last night. See, while my dogs are lap-dwelling cream puffs during the day, they regard their night jobs with a grim seriousness. Last night that meant the ruthless dispatch of a trespassing raccoon. Needless to say, after pulling Dash and Moxie off opposite ends of their screeching victim, cleaning up the carnage in the yard and disposing of the body, bathing both dogs, and starting a load of bloody towels in the laundry, we had some trouble winding back down to sleep. (Both dogs are fine, thank you. Dash has a tiny scratch on his nose and another below one eye, and Moxie emerged unscathed.)

tea, please

If we were having coffee right now, I’d be drinking tea.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you about the unprecedented compliment I received this morning in Pilates class. During one move when we were on our backs with our arms raised overhead, the woman on the mat next to me rolled towards me, touched my armpit with one finger (yes! her finger made physical contact with my skin!) and said, “You have great armpits!” My response? I giggled and squealed and clamped my arm tightly to my body. (I was not trying to be coy; I am freakishly ticklish under my arms). And naturally, when I got home, I went to the bathroom immediately to see what the fuss was about.

Actual un-retouched photo

If we were having coffee right now, and you asked me how I feel about returning to teaching next year, I would tell you I simply can’t go back to my job: that no one will want me to return now that they’ve beheld the brilliance of the young woman who was hired to replace me this year. (Last night, I made the mistake of checking out her website. Cue the familiar refrain of that insidious, self-destructive, inner voice that convinces me that I suck.) Next to this fresh, young, passionate, funny, innovative dynamo, I look like the mud that dries on the treads of my running shoes and drops off in chunks on the kitchen floor.

But has anyone ever complimented HER armpit? BAM!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. vancegmartin says:

    Dear Ms Hershey…your blog is awesome. You seem to be a teacher even when you are not.


  2. Chelsea says:

    You were my first favorite teacher. Seriously. I was too young and distracted to deem a teacher as my favorite in elementary school. Sixth grade was traumatic because of the horrors of finally being in middles school. Seventh grade was not only one of my best years, but I was privileged to have you as a teacher, a guide, a confidante, and ultimately, a friend. You told us your mother called you Elena-bird and you put on KBCO Studio C albums while we studied our vocabulary. You made writing and learning fun and you challenged us. You gave us a great classroom setting in a horrible room that was too hot in the spring and too cold in the winter. We didn’t even have windows and we still came to class because you made it better for us as students. You will be wanted for your brilliance, talent, patience, and perfect arm-pit anatomy.


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