Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

My classes are writing a literary analysis on Finding Nemo and to be honest, I'm not sure what they think about the assignment just yet.  I've given this task for years and ultimately, they all enjoy it, but we're still in the beginning stages.  Today, though, we talked about the characters and how they "change" throughout the movie.  I walk the classes through the character development of Marlin, Dory, and Nemo, and at the end it all comes back to the theme "Just Keep Swimming." I ask them which characters they relate to and then explain who I am in relationship to the triumvirate, yet leave out the writer in me.  I explain to them that I am Marlin because I'm a control freak and sometimes need to just let go.  I am completely out of sorts if my house/classroom/desk/kitchen table/etc. are messy or disorganized.  With my children, I hesitate to let them try new things out of fear of how they will react. I am a bit of a nervous nelly when it comes to them.  But at the same time what parent isn't?  I then explain that I'm a lot like Dory because I want to see the positive in life and not focus on the negative.  I have to write everything down or I will forget almost instantaneously. 

At any given time I have three calendars on my desk with varying appointments, lesson plans, or important events.  But I'm also like Dory because I try my hardest to stay optimistic and not let rejection or failure get me down.  Of course, it's human nature to notice it occasionally and be a little sad, but at the end of the day, I need to bounce back or my family is affected and that is just not ok.  Finally, we discussed Nemo.  We talked about how he just wants a little bit of freedom in the world is begging his father for it. I can't relate there, but I can with the fact that Nemo is disabled by his "lucky fin". I pointed out that we are all disabled by something in life whether it be our vision (me) or a learning disability or even an issue with self-confidence (me again at times with writing).  Nemo is constantly told by Marlin, "You think you can do these things, but you just can't, Nemo!" I can relate because there are so many times that I feel like as a writer, I'm always up against the odds.  When Nemo figures out how to push himself to get out of the tube in the fish tank, he learns that "can't" is no longer a word in his vocabulary.  He CAN and so CAN I.  I can write a novel. I can write poetry. I can write a short story.  The issue isn't can't it's will I let myself go enough to try. 
So some of you may be wondering the point of this blog, and I am getting there, I swear.  The point is not only me sharing a little bit more about myself, but it's a lesson in self-exploration courtesy of Disney.  Finding Nemo has so many lessons to offer, and I'm incredibly lucky to be able to share them with others, whether it be with 60 teenagers or the few who might read my blog.  Just keep swimming and never give up.  We can all relate with these lovable characters at some point in our lives as people and writers.  It's up to us to figure it out and make the most of it.  For me, I'm all of the above. Which fish are you?


  1. Great assignment -- wish I had a teacher like you in high school!

  2. Cannot tell you how many times I sing Just Keep Swimming to myself as the rejections pile up! You just have to keep going...that is all you can do :) If not this book, then the next one.

  3. Thanks Trisha! I appreciate it. I love my job more than I ever imagined as a 5 year old when I decided to be a teacher. Eileen, I, too, say it a lot. I'm actually doing really well this go round, so I'm staying super positive.

  4. Best teacher ever! Such a fun assignment! I can't seem to pick one.