You know that poem “Whatif” by Shel Silverstein? If you don’t, here it is:
by, Shel Silverstein
- Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pol?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow tall?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!
Well, the Whatifs are crawling in my ear. I’m just twelve hours from starting my four-week journey through the National Writing Project and the Whatifs are powerful:
- Whatif the instructors are tough and not personable?
- Whatif they give a ton of outside work to go along with my other goals of being an involved dad this summer?
- Whatif the other students are so much “better” at writing, reading, and understanding than I am?
- Whatif I can’t find my tribe within the bigger group?
- Whatif I learn that I’m not a writer?
- Whatif I learn that I am?
The only way for me to rid myself of the Whatifs is NOT to. I accept them as important to my journey. Asking these questions, wondering about them, living with them, and answering them along the way are all part of taking a class. It’s the anxiety and fun of being a student. I don’t pretend that the Whatifs don’t exist; I include them in the possibilities.
Whatif the National Writing Project changes my life?