Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I've been off from school long enough to ask Dave to wipe down the top of the refrigerator, and to discover (when I went to make waffles) that our old waffle iron had died but I hadn't remembered this fact until I'd ransacked the upper cupboard. But I haven't been off long enough to clean out the garage.

Regardless (notice how I used that correctly, although initially I typed "irregardless"), it's time to construct syllabi, Course Calendars, rethink assignments. So I slog through the web, trying to get other English teachers' take on this ancient and brain-sapping process.

I happened on one blog today and read through many sections until finding this one, a short treatise on finding Oneself an adjunct professor with a background and training in Creative Writing, hearing the siren call to write, but never quite getting around to it (like not getting around to cleaning out the garage?). I have no idea who this writer is (her "About Me" is fairly vague and generic and I do understand that helpful cloak of anonymity) but it was a feast to read (all the while, avoiding that Course Calendar writing).

She's been challenged to write her "4x4" or four categories, four items in each by another blog. This is her last category:

spirit (or the deadly sins approach to fueling creativity)

  • Envy stirred the other day as I ripped open the Amazon box to pull out the short story collection I'd pre-ordered four months ago, the third book of a woman from my high school class. I'll be checking weekly the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, waiting to see the reviews that will no doubt be glowing (I read one of the stories in a literary magazine; it was wonderful). In addition to this classmate, two of my roommates from graduate school have, by my count, published between them a whopping ten novels.
  • The Faculty Without Offices come out of the woodwork for the beginning-of-the-semester meetings, announcing out of strange mouths their familiar-sounding names. Adjunct English, they explain to the full-time faculty at my community college who smile vaguely in their direction. I refuse the title. In my latest experiment I’m trying to let anger fuel my writing, anger at the system and colleagues who face the same under-prepared students semester after semester but, when a new full-time position opens in the department, debate whether they’d prefer a Specialist in Emerging Literatures or a Renaissance Scholar.
  • I tell myself that my greed is under control, not for boatloads of money (just enough for books and dental work and, maybe, some new kitchen cabinets) but rather for a secure job that gives me time and energy to write.
  • The fear is not of death, exactly, but rather oblivion, the old "Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain" syndrome. In her daily obituary reading, my mother, at 78, marvels at how long people are living these days; at 51, I see the teenagers killed in car accidents and the 4o-year-olds whose families request donations to Hospice in lieu of flowers. Two days ago my mother missed guessing the year of her marriage by a decade; yesterday she asked if the neighbor who'd been the best woman-friend of her adulthood was still alive (she isn't). It's time to write.
It wasn't until I tried to assign a label for this post, that I realized I'd never created one for that thing that haunts me in my teaching and grading, drapes itself on my shoulders throughout my day, and wafts through dreams: Writing.

1 comment:

barbara said...

Voila or good'n - after one person in my class spoke in clarion (?) tones "irregardless" I said, " no undoubtedly" you're right.

Thanks for sharing.

Dad