Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mothering and Writing and Teaching

This is not going to be a whiny post. We don't need any more of those in the world. I have already contributed my fair share of them.

This is going to be a an honest post about a major issue in my life. I've already spoken to so many of you about it, so why not just type it up already?

Teaching and mothering and writing are sometimes beautifully interwoven and connected. The ideas and dreams of one endeavor inspire progress and creativity in another. It would be unfair to say that I never notice this symbiosis. I'm truly grateful for it.

But then... each passion can also drain and deplete another. Each commitment can be a great and endless source of guilt. At least for me. So how do I make sense of giving myself to all three passions? How do I find balance?

I don't. I try not to over-analyze. (But I do anyway.) I spend my time where I can, when I can. And do the best job I'm able. But every now and then I feel that shiver of fear that I'm "doing it wrong". That I should be whole-heartedly mothering with more of my time. That I should quit my job and be a "real" writer. That I should stop fiddling about with my hobby, and be more committed to my students' needs. That I am wasting my life being too tired all the time. I should give something up so that I can be more alive and awake. Clearly, I won't give up my family.. so it has to be one of the other two. 

These "shoulds" have no power over my rational mind, but they spook the hell out of me when I am not being rational. I know I can't have it all. I know I can't be an awesome mother, phenomenal teacher, and prolific, brilliant writer all at the same time. As for well-rested, who ever heard of such a thing?

I know tons of parents and educators have struggled with and already written about these same issues, so I'm not alone. Just adding my vote for more hours in the day. And more time to write... to love... to share...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring Plans

Today is one of those glorious days that inspires the moving of furniture, the skipping of feet, and the dreaming of big, bold, sun-soaked dreams. 

I spent the morning frolicking with my son in the new Spring and rearranging a little used and often abused corner of our kitchen. And now, the children are napping, and I am seated in a coffee shop window, sipping chai and preparing to dive back into my new novel.

I should be grading and planning and doing all sorts of teacherly work, and I do have some guilt about that, but mostly I am just feeling grateful for this weather and my fortune. There is still no major news on the publishing or agent front, but I remain hopeful about a couple exciting leads. Fingers crossed.

In other news, I recently signed up for the SCBWI WWA conference in April, met with a kind and kindred spirit (thank you Kelly!) who shared her writing-world knowledge with me, and batted around the idea of starting a new critique group with my longtime writing partners, Darian Lindle and Laura Lindle. 

I also attended another meeting of the Teacher/ Writer group I mentioned on my Projects page. The creative non-fiction collection we are writing together is starting to take shape and I am getting more excited about that work.

Also, thanks to Nathan Bransford, I wasted some time here: Make your own Pulp Magazine Cover.
Here are the fruits of my labor: 
You're welcome.