The Teaching Life

One of the best moments in a teacher’s life is the one where you walk into the only half-filled classroom (yay…less grading!) and you meet yourself, that student who is avoiding her homework because of the overwhelming compulsion to write. That student for whom a brain is like a boxcar for every emotion she has experienced. Half-full of pre-memories and stalled on the tracks blocking a line of cars on Main Street. Fragmented like these last two sentences.

She is that student who is not only willing to enter the timeless zone, she has already, against all advice, set up permanent residency there. She knows an MFA is impractical, that she’ll probably teach, but for now the thrill of creating keeps her listening in the dead, winter air for those premises and prompts that illuminate somewhere behind the blackest part of her eyes, urging her, driving her to write, to create.

I don’t want her to ever lose that.

Reconnecting with an old friend

Starting up this blog about My Writing Life feels like reconnecting with an old friend, perhaps someone I once labeled as “best” in some way when I was a girl, someone with whom secrets were shared. Now there is a vacuous space between us. This opening sentence actually reminds me of someone–my only sister–and in all honestly revisiting my blog feels like a hospitable pursuit as compared to attempting to mend burned relationship bridges because even if I have not written here, in this particular space, I have written¬†somewhere.

My Writing Life has morphed most days into My Teaching Life. While some inklings of drafts have abetted my belief that a second manuscript could be forthcoming, most of My Writing Life and that newness I seek as a writer has come to me in the form of new courses, new books, new plans, new faces, and new writing opportunities that, behind the scenes, I have helped to make happen for my students. Teaching is such a reward, yet it is exhausting in ways that don’t always keep the flame inside my mind constant and ready to pursue my own projects.

I am attempting to do something about that this semester. Mondays during my office hours will be¬†reading days, and by reading I mean reading for my own pleasure/inspiration. My brain needs nutrition and Ann Fadiman again. This blog will become my place for regular writing again. I can’t tell you the thrill of anticipation: the unknown, the blank, the sprite uncontrolled, the exploration, the atmosphere. The open page.