This balance of a teaching life and a writing life is tough. At the college, I could find something to do for every minute of every day, and I wouldn’t have to look very hard. But, of course, that wouldn’t be healthy. In my writing life, I would work on something all the time – or I could take walks, stare out the window, read – all the time, too. So basically, I have what feels like two full-time jobs.
I’m starting to see these two work world influence each others in ways I never expected. For example, my college job requires me to attend to nuances of attitude, facial expression, and political connection that I would normally just ignore or not even seen. That fact makes me very tired at work, but in my writing (usually when I pick it up the next morning after a day of tricky meetings – like I had yesterday) , that skill makes me start to see those same things in the greater world beyond the campus. And instead of looking at those things and being exhausted, as I am at the college, I find myself rejuvenated. I expect I get energy from writing because it’s just me and my memory that I’m negotiating, whereas at school, I’m dealing with lots of people. So this makes sense, but I never would have expected all that politicing at school to make my writing better. I give thanks for small blessings.
In terms of teaching, I’m back in the usual pre-semester excitement. In the moments when I’m not in meetings, and those moments are few, I get very excited about the prospect of new students and new classes, chances to try again with old failures and chances to meet new people. Plus, all those new pens!!! And I know that when I teach well, I can feel almost as fulfilled as when I write – and that’s something great.
So today, I”m off to three more meetings and to the hope that tomorrow I’ll have been fueled to write as I was today. Does anyone relate to this? Or have the opposite experience? I expect when I get into the semester fully, I won’t be so energized by meetings, but we take joys when we can, right?