I’m telling girls to use condoms because of reasons X, Y, and Z, but at the end of the day, sometimes these girls are so young and are with men who are so much older that if even if they wanted to wait or use a condom, how are they going to be able to hold their own? The only chance they have is to develop some kind of unimpeachable self-esteem. It’s made me wonder a lot, How did I ever end up with self-esteem? Not that it’s not challenged on the daily here, but still. And this is what I’ve come up with: It’s reading a book and feeling like someone from another time or place, with another mind, is in on a revelation with you; that you’re not alone. It’s creating something and having it, holding it, showing it. It’s a story you’ve written. Or a picture you’ve drawn that your mom puts up on the wall or saves in binders in the basement. It’s realizing that you are smart. It’s feeling unattractive or unwanted or watching the guy you like talk to your friend and not breaking down because of it. It’s about rising above that.

So I’ve had a few ideas. I’m going to try to make reading a thing. I want to get novels and leave some kind of diluted library. I’m going to read a chapter of Harry Potter to kids once a week, or maybe twice a week. I’m going to start an art class. I want to read the Little Prince/El Principito with big lovely pictures. And finally, my most recent, favorite, and impossible idea: I’m going to teach creative writing.

Besides surgery that’s probably the thing I’m least qualified to do. I didn’t take a single English class in college. My plan is literally to google ‘How to teach creative writing’ and then do whatever the search comes up with. I’ll talk to the Spanish teacher and maybe pitch the idea to a few classrooms of kids and maybe buy some notebooks and nice pens with any money I can scrounge up. If even a few like it, or even one, it would be worth it. And for the next two years they have me to try to read whatever they write. Maybe some will write enough to put together a portfolio or we could compile the best pieces and get it mock-published. How lovely would that be! Cuentos from our campo.