When I was teaching, summers seemed like a long weekend. June was Friday night because we taught for half of June. July was Saturday and time for vacations, relaxing, and thinking about writing that book. And August was Sunday afternoon with all the pressure of getting ready for school—decorating my classroom, planning lessons, and positioning desks (always looking for that serendipitous arrangement that would support high level discourse and eliminate side talk—there is no such arrangement). Things changed when I became an administrator because I worked most of the summer. Then summer became a time to bring order to the chaos in my office, update handbooks, and finally throw out the things that consistently found their way to the bottom of my “to do” pile. In July, when all of the teachers were blessedly gone and I was finally alone in my office, I would clean and organize while streaming NPR or singing along with country songs. And sometimes I would think about writing that book.
Now I’m retired (a misnomer if ever there was one) and I’ve been busy during every day of the eleven months since I left my school. I knew that leaving would be hard for me as I’ve identified myself as a teacher (and administrators are teachers) since I was twelve and had a nursery school for my sister and her friends. (I charged a dollar a week, which I spent on supplies for my “students,” thus preparing myself for the realities of public education.) I wanted to celebrate 35 years in a profession I loved so we had a couple of parties and I spent a week near Cancun with three girlfriends. Then my husband Mike and I traveled around the country for 42 days so that I wouldn’t lurk pathetically around the school. That went well until we reached the middle of the country and I was no longer distracted by driving. I cried through Nebraska.
Besides traveling I have many interests that occupy my time. But my plan was to write that book. But not right away. I figured I needed a year to get my literal and metaphorical house in order, travel a lot, take those floral design classes, learn to crochet (a hopeless cause), start making jewelry again, maybe tryout for a play, improve my garden design, train the little dog to “come” (another hopeless cause), cook and entertain more, and exercise daily. At some point I started to wonder if all these activities were ways of avoiding writing that book. And I’ve decided they are not because I am writing (this blog) and I am reading great books on writing (most recently Write Away by Elizabeth George). I’m also rereading authors whose work I admire and looking for a writing conference that will put me in touch with published writers.
So…when you read these posts, please understand that I’m warming up, playing scales in preparation for the big number.