Many B’s Journal


This is the first installment in a four-part series about The Fantastic Four, a set of hand-made journals that were gifted to me by two former students — Meagan and Kathryn. The pair of young ladies were sophomores at the time, and they were finishing their semester in Honors English 10.

As you can see, the journal features a mind-boggling number of B’s. These were painstakingly cut out of magazines and then affixed to the cover. How many hours this took can only be imagined; I have never lost sight of the tremendous investments of time, attention, and discipline that this effort must have required. Here are a few close-up shots. Notice that the girls included snippets that read “Br” and “Bi,” which demonstrates an even greater attention-to-detail than merely scanning glossy magazine copy for instances of the letter B.



Here is my first entry, which was composed with my H10 students during our 5-minute free-write — likely in my 3rd-period class. Beneath the photo is a transcription.



I’m beginning a new composition book — one designed by two of my students, Kathryn and Meagan. How cool! One of the most thoughtful and inspired gifts I have ever received. Many Bs decorate the cover. My initial!

Today has been productive. During first hour I completed two letters of recommendation. That was good, as I did not not want to carry them into the weekend. I can do my essay scoring this weekend, and likely take care of the poetry workshop sheets and copy-changes for both classes. Before I leave school today I need to copy “Roger Malvin’s Burial” for Monday.* How many pages? Hard to tell. Should I staple them?

You become what you think about. I believe in that. If thoughts are routinely positive, one’s path will likely be more successful. Negative thoughts are limiting. Makes sense! I’ll stay positive!

A photo of the back cover, which features alternating strips of card stock:


* “Roger Malvin’s Burial” is one of my all-time favorite short stories. It was written in 1832 by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), who is best known for his novel The Scarlet Letter. I could go on for hours about why “RMB” is such a compelling hawthorne_nathaniel_WDand timeless work of fiction. It features a protagonist whose inner conflict — and its resulting external consequences — resonates with anyone who has ever felt trapped by competing desires.

This portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne, which was created in 1841 by American artist Charles Osgood (1809-1890), was obtained from the Library of America website.

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