Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When all you got to keep is strong

1. The past week has been underscored by a struggle with a mild bout of depression, possibly brought about at least in part by several gloomy, rainy days in a row. I have muddled through, managed to accomplish work both practical and creative in spite of the struggle, and think (hope) I am muddling through the tail end of the downswing.

2. My boys are bright and wonderful. (But we already knew that, didn't we?) First quarter report cards and conferences were all thumbs up, and fall break is in sight. (Three hours of school tomorrow before an early dismissal.)

3. The language arts substitute teacher they had for the first quarter stopped me in the hall Friday, her last day, to let me know how very awesome she thinks Michael is. In summary, she noted that yes, he has a somewhat nontraditional way of thinking and doing things, but she appreciates how very brilliantly that nontraditional mind works. Which is how I've always felt about him, so it was nice to know that other people, teachers even, are capable of taking him as he is and encouraging him instead of trying to cram him into some other, more acceptable mold. (And we all know how vehemently I oppose the cramming of people into molds that do not fit them.)

4. Apparently, several kindergarten parents have commented that their children sometimes plead to be allowed to go to extended care after school each day. I may be doing something right? On a more personal level, I have noticed that my toughest sell, a young man with blondeblondeblonde hair and a penchant for digging holes on the playground, has over the last nine weeks gone from barely speaking to me to calling me merely "Teacher" to gleefully calling out "Hi, Ms. Lori!" as he comes into the room each day. During lunch, I usually roam up and down the table and stop to talk to the kids once in a while if there are no milk cartons in need of opening or behaviors in need of correction. Last week, he stopped me as I came past his end of the table, by reaching out to playfully stomp my foot and scowl at me. I crouched down beside him. "Do you need your applesauce opened?" "No." "Need a spoon?" "No!" "What do you need, then?" "I want you to talk to me!"


5. Did I mention that fall break is a mere three hours of school away? I do not have to work tomorrow, so it'll be a quick drop off of kids, a grocery run, a couple blissful hours of silence, and a short sit in the car line to pick them up again. And then we have our lives all to ourselves for four whole days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I won't mind if you can find the time to stay with me

I am finding that life with the kindergarten crew is not so hard. And not so easy. And mostly unpredictable. And we all know how well I handle unpredictable. I'm finding I can live with it and there are some bright spots, but I'm also pretty sure I could live without it and not miss it a whole bunch. Then again, my bloodwork has been turning in some odd results lately and we're still trying to straighten that out. So maybe I'm just tired and not entirely with it.

The boys both had The Flu last week. Yes. THE flu. They have both recovered, although Michael still acts and looks a little tired. They only missed three days of school each and managed to keep their work pretty well caught up along the way. Next week they have a field trip, two early dismissal days for conferences, and then FALL BREAK. Safe to say we're all looking forward to that.

This past Saturday I sat down and wrote in two blocks of writing time each weekday, one in the morning and one in the evening. Not that those blocks didn't already exist, but I thought maybe the act of writing them down would help me remember to actually use them. So far so good. Today I think I found the right voice for a flash piece I actually wrote the rough draft of several years ago. And this evening the final line of the story finally came to me. I think. Once I have the ending actually written, I'll know for sure. But it's certainly a much more finished piece than it was a couple of days ago.

Queued up on Rhapsody: The earlier Goo Goo Dolls albums. Which I'm finding I enjoy just as much as some of the more well-known tracks. I may have a new band for my favorites list.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

She's a butterfly

It's been over a month since my last blog entry. And that last entry was misleading, since it suggested that no entries here meant I was working hard on other writing. The truth is, I have been working hard--just not so much at writing. Which is not to say I've done no writing at all. Just not as much as no blog entries at all might suggest.

What I have been doing is trying to adjust to the new responsibilities I took on at the beginning of the school year. I put in five hours a day with the school's extended care program, and I teach the middle school fiction writing class--and while the class itself is 45 minutes once a week, the prep work I put into coming up with the actual lesson plans takes several hours a week. So really, I'm working full-time now. The pay is lousy, and the work is challenging, but I'm finding I reap small, quiet rewards in places I hadn't completely expected.

But the fact remains that I am working full-time. And while I could use that as an excuse for not writing more--and I do feel that's at least part of the deal--I don't think it's the entire reason I'm not writing more. Because I'd stopped writing even before the full-time work kicked in, if you remember.

I have concluded that I am in a cocoon stage right now. I don't know how badly I want to write anymore. I will write, I know that--it's part of who I am. I just don't know that I want to continue pushing for the publication part. It's pretty clear that making a living at writing is a goal that I either will not attain or that might burn me out if I keep pushing for it. But then again, I don't know that for certain, either. And in the end, I think for right now I will decide not to make any decisions. I will go through each day doing all the things that need doing, I will reap my small, quiet rewards where I find them, and I will wait for my current metamorphosis to complete. And when I crawl out of my cocoon... I suspect I will find myself still a caterpillar, just perhaps a slightly different caterpillar. Because these cocoon phases have come and gone a number of times now, and I'm guessing that's just life. Someday a butterfly, but for now I'll content myself with the doze that comes before seeing what color my new stripes will be.