Writing can be therapeutic, and I love when I can weave in my love for teaching writing with observations about life.
As a teacher, I can vouch for the fact that on the day before Thanksgiving (or any) break, “the struggle is real.” Students are filled with anticipation, eagerly awaiting their plans for break. As part of my creative writing class, I had students write a lai (http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/lai-poetic-forms) as a warmup. Since it’s difficult to manage both rhyme and syllables (while still making sense), I wrote a model for them. I wrote about the topic on everyone’s mind: the speed with which the school day was progressing:
What can teachers say
About the longest Tuesday
Vacation just may
Show like the sun’s ray,
Of rest, sleep, and play.
But Time makes us pay:
It’s not my best work, but it got the point across using the required structure. The students seem to agree with the sentiment: Time moves so slowly when we are eagerly awaiting something. But I always cringe at this outlook. So many people seem to live their lives in anticipation of something. We come into work on Monday groaning about how it’s five days until the weekend. We count off the days until the next holiday.
We don’t realize that we’re wishing our lives away.
Adjusting to life with a baby has not been easy. There is a never-ending line of chores to be done, looking something like this:
Clean kitchen table
Put baby at table to eat
Start load of laundry
Watch baby fling food at table
Clean table again
Wipe down sink
Give baby a fresh bottle
Watch her spill it on clean shirt
Put dirty bottle in sink
Put dirty shirt in empty laundry basket
Dress baby (wrestle a crocodile)
Plan outing (probably to get groceries, gas, or supplies)
Get baby into car seat (wrestle a crocodile)
Smell dirty diaper
Take baby out of car seat
Wrestle crocodile, etc.
Let baby play in just diaper
Give up on outing
Put baby at seat near kitchen table
If I had to look forward to something, what would I be looking forward to? There are always going to be bottles (or sippy cups, or dishes) to clean, diapers to change (or laundry to wash, a few years down the line). There is always going to be a mess to clean up or a table that isn’t quite spotless. What perfect moment could I be possibly waiting for?
If I’m awaiting a quiet moment and a clean home, I might as well wish away the next 18 years and wish my daughter to college already.
This is obviously not the case.
But life with a baby has heightened my appreciation for living in the moment. We are never promised a tomorrow. If we live wishing for something, we are essentially wishing away all the time between now and then.
So I have started living like a writer. I live in moments, observing the little things that make life what it is. The smudge of avocado on baby’s pudgy cheeks as she smiles and sings. The way the dog sits under her high chair to scarf up whatever she drops. The way the neatly-stacked mail cascades gently down the couch as baby pulls it over. Ha! The way her eyes light up when she sees a bird dash from one tree to the next.
The way a fleece jacket feels when the heater isn’t quite working right: the weight of it, the warmth. A pair of new sneakers that make me feel like I’m walking on clouds.
And instead of focusing on the unending pile of laundry and wondering when it will be done, I marvel at how far we’ve come from grueling hand-washing by the river to a virtual pushing of a button. Instead of wondering when I’ll ever get to enjoy a quiet meal out, I instead marvel at the ease with which I can push “preheat” on my oven and enjoy a meal within the hour.
There are so many amazing moments in a day. Yes, Thanksgiving is coming, and so is Christmas. But there are countless moments between now and then, just waiting to be savored and captured on the blank page and in the open mind.
I‘m excited about an upcoming moment–the release of my latest young adult novel, The Man with the Crystal Ankh.
I wrote it based on my love for the violin and my love of spooky things–especially the spooky atmosphere of New England in the fall.
Everyone’s heard the legend of the hollow oak—the four-hundred year curse of Sarah Willoughby and Preston Grymes. Few realize how true it is.
Sarah Durante awakens to find herself haunted by the spirit of her high school’s late custodian. After the death of his granddaughter, Custodian Carlton Gray is not at peace. He suspects a sanguisuga is involved—an ancient force that prolongs its own life by consuming the spirits of others. Now, the sanguisuga needs another life to feed its rotten existence, and Carlton wants to spare others from the suffering his granddaughter endured. That’s where Sarah comes in. Carlton helps her understand that she comes from a lineage of ancestors with the ability to communicate with the dead. As Sarah hones her skill through music, she discovers that the bloodlines of Hollow Oak run deep. The sanguisuga is someone close, and only she has the power to stop it.