Possibilities

Today is the last day of the semester. I’m relieved and happy to be done with the four day a week schedule and grateful for ten days off before I dive into summer school. I should be able to reestablish my writing routine and get the business parts of my plan taken care of in those ten days.

For the first time, I’m teaching a core class this summer. No creative writing. Not sure why. The inner workings of my department are a complete mystery to me.

At least it’s my favorite of the writing classes, because it’s writing about literature, but still, there’s a research paper in there and I need to teach MLA which is constantly changing. That’s okay, I just finished doing that class, so it will be fine. My class is full at 28 and I just have to wonder how many of them realize how much work we have to do in six weeks. Because I am trimming a bit, but not much.

I intend to stay on my writing schedule while teaching this summer. The last few weeks, writing has sort of fallen away as I geared up for the end of term stuff. I am so ready to immerse myself in my writing life again. Which reminds me…

Just received the most amazing schedule for this coming fall. Two literature courses. My dream come true. I really am looking forward to a break from teaching the core writing courses. They are required and some students resent that. The lit courses are elective, and I get more English majors. They actually like talking about stories and poetry.

 It’s a beautiful schedule too, first class doesn’t start until 9:30 and then the other one is right after it and I’m done by noon. The biggest news with all this is that one of the courses for next fall is Children’s Lit, which includes Y.A. Have I mentioned that I’ve been thinking about revising Gypsy and Traveling Girl as Y.A. novels?

Teaching a course that includes Y.A. is the perfect opportunity to really give that some serious thought.  It might just be the incentive I need to pull those manuscripts out and get busy.

When Work Gets in the Way

This is my final week of classes, which means a lot of reading (lengthy research papers and revised creative projects) and grading. Then adding up grades from the 16 week semester & calculating final grades & posting them into the system. I will also be dealing with late papers, students who missed so many assignments they’re failing, and various other enactments of youthful hysteria.

I need this week to work on staying centered amid the chaos, which means plenty of walking, yoga, meditation, and at least one lunch with friends. I’m going to let the WIP chill, and will write again when the week is complete. Meanwhile, enjoy my interview with Jennifer Cody Epstein below…

Spring Decision

The grass turned a deep rich green overnight here in Michigan. We’ve been having a lovely spring. Just like the grass that had stayed for months under snow and survived the heaviest winter in years, I decided something overnight that has been on my mind for many months. It’s a decision writers must make over and over again in their lives.

Where will I work? What will I do? How can I best serve my writing and my paid employment?

I have had a tough semester. Not so much because of the students or the work but just something going on in me. I couldn’t quite figure it out. It was supposed to have been the glorious semester, the triumphant semester, because I’d be using my own book in the classroom. Didn’t really work out that way, for a lot of reasons, most of which I now understand, because of the class I’m taking, not teaching.

A few things happened at the same time last night when I logged on for the webinar. First, I saw that I’d received an availability email from work for next fall. I didn’t read it, because I was heading to Eckhart’s class. But I thought about it. How many, if any, classes would I teach next fall?

I hoped session 8 of A New Earth would help me decide, show me the way to make a conscious decision, and it did. It came about by way of a discussion on something else. A woman wanted to know how she could tell if it was the right thing to leave her husband. She wanted to leave, she said, but was afraid. And that’s when Eckhart gave me the key.

Decisions made consciously, from our deepest self, are always correct, because we are in alignment with our soul’s purpose. (My words, not his.) Decisions made from the ego are fear-based. So there I had my answer. I know about soul-deep decisions. I’ve made them before. I know how they feel, how they make ME feel. Calm and confident, not scared and second-guessing myself.

So with that in mind, after class, I opened my email from work. The dean asked that we give our preferences for fall as soon as possible. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I went to bed knowing that I had until July to make a decision. I didn’t have to make it immediately.

But then I woke up and knew what I had to do. First, I wrote. As I worked on the WIP, my decision was in the back of my mind. I wanted to see if any fear would come up or if I’d stay calm and confident. I remained calm and so logged on to the availability site and chose my preference. I only had one. Creative Writing. It’s a bold move and could backfire. Plenty of other people have more seniority than I do, and if they want that class, union rules say it is theirs.

But I’m okay with that. What I’ve really decided is that it doesn’t matter where I do it, from now on I’m only teaching creative writing. And that’s it.

    

Life is Change

This has been a month of letting go of what’s no longer working. Happy changes are coming, to my website and my life. First, I quit a job that didn’t work out quite how I’d planned. Then, Mike and I decided to streamline the website, down from four blogs to one. He found a beautiful design and together we brainstormed a content concept that feels right. There’s still more stuff brewing, but I haven’t gathered all the facts yet, so stay tuned.       

My Stars

Got Word Press for Dummies in the mail yesterday. Mike’s back from vacation, too. If I wasn’t teaching this weekend, I know we could do a lot of cool things with this site. I have Big Plans. As for my beautiful background stars, Mike can bring them back, but I’m going to look at other designs first and then decide.

About teaching this weekend — it’s not really working for me to have a Saturday class. I mean, yes, I’ll complete the one this winter that I’ve just started, but I was able to pull the projected summer session before the brochure went to print. It was the right decision.   

I’m not giving up on my teaching in the community idea. The local library and I are developing a plan for Spring 2009. I love that it’s so far into the future. It will give me time to get the web version off the ground first. Yes! I’m going to be do a writing series that follows my book online on this website. It will be free and interactive and coming soon!

The person I’m in talks with at the library asked about my fee, and I was happy to say I’m donating my time, there, too. I’ve been wanting to volunteer and “give back” for a while now, so this is a perfect way of doing it. I’m even going to donate the proceeds of my book to Friends of the Library. It won’t be that people HAVE TO buy the book to take the course. The book will be an optional add on. I love that, too.

The website course and the library series will compliment each other. Right now, it’s mostly still all a vision in my head, but a beautiful exciting vision, coming into reality soon. So much of this plan is thanks to Cindy LaFerle, who’s doing great things at a neighboring community’s library, on a much grander scale than my current plan, and who generously donates proceeds of Writing Home, her warm and wonderful book of domestic essays, to homeless shelters. She’s inspired me and opened me up to a universe of possibility.