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Saturday, August 15, 2009


This is the last weekend before back-to-school meetings start. It's funny to me that no matter how much I determine I will savor the moments, live in the now, I will suddenly find myself in the middle of planning the future or even dreading it sometimes. I think what I dread most is that once school starts the whole dynamic of life changes. The rhythms I've been comfortable with, the ones which seem to suit me best, are altered and the good things about summer seem irretrievable. Swallowed up in business and busy-ness. The demands of learning a new schedule, of professional development and faculty meetings, of lesson planning and dealing with behavior issues, of planning meals in advance and grocery shopping on the way home - they all seem to suck the life right out of living.

I start new writing projects right before school begins with the thought that I'll have some momentum built up in the story before time is shorter for writing and it'll be easier for me to keep up with the story that way. It works for a while. I cut myself some slack in the first month, but then when October and November roll around I get back into it. My writing time diminishes significantly between Thanksgiving and Christmas which I deem normal and then when Christmas Break comes I find myself trying to recapture enthusiasm for the project. When second semester comes it will likely be Spring Break before I return to it for more than a brief visit. Over Spring Break I become frustrated and think it will never be done or maybe even consider throwing it out altogether and starting fresh with a new idea. It will set dormant until summer vacation when I will set some sort of personal deadline for mid-July and push, push, push to finish and submit.

What I hate most about this is that I don't get to enjoy it along the way nearly as much as I should. I love writing. It is my favored way of spending time. I love being so lost in a story, so interested in my characters' lives that they become a part of my own reality until the story is resolved and I can release it to a publisher. I'd so much rather write every day, but not as a scheduled part of an already fully scheduled day. As a joyful personal pursuit which doesn't come last because it is personal.

It's August 15th and I'm facing all again. The countdown to school has begun. There's a three-page start of a third novel on the laptop, a 120-page start from last year at this time, and a headful of questions as to whether I'm interested enough in either idea to see it through. If not, what other ideas are brewing that might be worth spending hours on the next few days just to get that jump start on the school year?

Without any solution to the problem of altered rhythms, I'm maintaining.

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