Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Taylor Mali, author of the Poem "What Teachers Make"
I found a two minute monologue that is perfect for me, less than half an hour ago. Ten minutes ago I memorized it. This never happens. Not to me, not to anyone. But it just did.

The monologue isn't even really a monologue. It's a poem, written by the guy pictured to the left, who, one hour ago, I'd never heard of. I was having an instant messenger conversation with a good friend of mine about my tutoring, and she asked me if I would consider being a teacher. I gave my standard answer of no and my explanation, but a second later out of curiosity, I Googled "What do teachers make."

If I had used the more appropriate question "How much do teachers make," I never would have found that poem.

Taylor Mali wrote the poem, anonymously at the time, about exactly what it is teachers make. He's since performed it for a huge variety of venues. I read it once, then again, then watched him do it twice. I loved the words, and there was no doubt his performance was passionate, but a little part of me started thinking "I'd actually read it a little bit more like this..."

I printed it out, made a few cuts, and read it twice. Then I put the paper down, and recited the whole thing, top to bottom, only checking the sheet twice. The second time I did it, I was off book. And it felt good.

This never happens to me. It took me three weeks to memorize a monologue half this long. I must have read it on the subway hundreds of times. But this new piece I have down cold, and it's so good that I want to go to auditions now just to deliver it.


  1. Hey Joel, I've got no idea if you remember me, but its Frank Martin from Northwest. We were on an environment team together when you were in high school (if I remember correctly).

    Saw your post on facebook and thought I'd come take a look at your blog. Its good to hear your doing well. Come check out my blog sometime if you get a chance and let me know what you think.

  2. I recommend another poem of his called The Impotence of Proofreading. His You Tube version is wonderful.

    JSP/aka M