Sunday, August 29, 2010

This road was paved by the winds of change

Two weeks of the new school year under our belt. I've kind of felt bad for Michael, because all the fuss has been about Joey starting high school and sorting out all the NEW! and UNFAMILIAR! that goes along with that. Michael's in 7th grade this year and no longer has the shadow of the brother hanging over him. Whenever I ask him how school's going, is it different since he's a big shot this year, does he like the new P.E. teacher, etc., I get an "Eh. It's OK," and a Michael-shrug. (He gets his talent for small talk from me, apparently.) But he has stepped up and settled with relative ease into the role of latchkey kid for the hour or so while I'm making the afternoon carpool run for the older kids.

Joe is a freshman at an entirely new school this year. It's a 30 minute drive, but luckily we can carpool, since a couple of his friends are also going there. When I pick them up in the afternoon and ask THEM how school's going, I get plenty of answer--usually all the way home. As I mentioned already, there has been a somewhat exhausting amount of NEW! and UNFAMILIAR! to deal with, and there have been bumps. I keep reassuring Joe that he (and I) will survive.

I made a fill-in-the-holes revision pass to the middle grade novel, complete with the usual bout of "OMG, this sucks, what makes you think you can write?" But if I force myself to be objective (or as objective as a writer can ever be about their own work), I think it's... Well, what I think currently depends on the reading I've been doing and how well my work (seems to) stack up against that, the content of industry blogs I've just read, and the price of tea in China.  In other words, I have no clue how viable it is right now. Which is why the ms is parked in a drawer for a much-needed objectivity rest.

I have spent more time fiddling with ideas for a middle school creative writing class that is a combination of online (for convenience, mine and the kids') and in-person (for increased motivation and fun). Honestly, I almost just let it slide. (The usual self-defeating voice in my head: "No one really cares if you do this or not. Won't it just be a lot of extra work?") But Joe has been hounding me about WHEN (not if) I'm starting a class, and a couple other former students have said they miss the class. (Although whether they miss the actual class or just the fact that we spent class time talking about books and movies and sometimes going out on the playground, I'm not sure.*) In any case, I had Joe do a test drive of a couple of pieces of the online portion this weekend. So there has been forward movement on that project, too.

And in my free time, I have... uh... I haven't had a ton of free time lately. Or rather, I've dumped what I've had into one of the above projects instead. But it balances out, since the ms is in a drawer now, and I'm not ready to start another creative project at the moment, so this week holds potential for other, non-writing things to happen. Who knows, maybe I'll actually get my laundry room cleaned out and new coat hooks put up before jacket season sets in.

*It was all in the interest of illustrating story structure and promoting inspiration, I swear. If your child was in my class, ask him/her to explain the purpose of the running "Squirrel!" joke in UP.

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