I’m vacationing with my family in Arizona, where the skies are deceivingly freezing. My languid mornings have been filled with black coffee and crunchy granola and hours of editing. I love editing when I’m not in the mood for writing. Editing is much more hopeful than writing because there is already something on the white blank page.
It’s been a little weird, having this break. Usually I’m so hungry for time to write I spend all of it like lottery winnings and churn the break into a productive spell of work. Not this time. I’ve been feeling a little absent. I’ve been wanting to sit still and do absolutely nothing. I’ve read somewhat, but even that has seemed a little slow.
Right now, I’m finishing up Stiff (a must read on cadavers- it is funny and also historically informative, if digestible morbidity is your cup of tea) and about halfway through The Bone Clocks. Usually when I get in moods such as the one I’ve been in, not even the most glorious book seems wonderful to me. It’s strange. I have to just will myself to relax and be still, until I’m ready to fill myself up with good things again.
My friend Monica wrote an eloquent post on post-graduate life (as in recent college undergraduate real world life) and it got me thinking on my recent past and my future goals. Perhaps I’m having a small epiphany. My epiphany lies in a realization that so many have had before me and so many after me will have, and it’s that school is a sanctuary. I didn’t fully realize this while I was in it, but now I feel it deeply. Sylvia Plath echoes this sentiment in The Bell Jar (or maybe I’m confusing the novel with her journals? I think it’s the novel) when Esther is thinking back to her success at university during her internship at Mademoiselle. When Esther is asked what she wants to do and who she wants to be, she thinks of what she’s been successful in so far, and that’s been school: she studied and did her assignments, and excelled in tests and made straight A’s. Esther was given a task to do and she did it, and she did it beautifully. And then she realizes that this methodology of achieving success will be very hard to use in the real world, and she’s terrified. There are no parameters in the real world; it’s scary to be outside the fence.
I think that’s part of the reason why I long for graduate school- it gives me some extra time to play pretend. I would be tasked with reading and writing, and that’s what I love to do, so it sounds like a paradise (even with its drawbacks). Another reason is that I would like to teach at the university level, because unless I strike gold and am the one sapphire drop in the murky ocean of manuscripts that gets noticed, it will take a lifetime for me to be a successful writer (I also have non-selfish reasons for teaching such as that I can make them read GAIMAN! No, seriously, non-selfish reasons: I want to help shed some light on someone’s life the way that my favorite teachers did on mine, and I want to enlighten minds and engage and grow and be challenged in my own thoughts and arguments). There is a good chance that I will never get to quit my day job and just “write,” though I am insatiably hungry for that opportunity because it sounds so novel (ha-ha) and gloriously fun.
In 2014, I’ve written three novel-length fantasies, begun a new, non-fantasy novel last month, completed fifteen short stories in the past two and a half months, and started a blog. I’m ready to make this my thing.
To the unknown charted lands of 2015!