Upping the Ante

A year ago yesterday was the last day I taught in a classroom.

A year ago today, I sat in one of my favourite coffee shops looking down on the River Cam and wrote in a brand new blue moleskine notebook.  With a green pen I had chosen specifically for that day, I wrote the following:

Another chapter finished.  Yesterday was my final day teaching.  I don’t know when I’ll step into a classroom again. Not knowing is good.

Building up to this day I had so many ideas as to what to do next.  But today, the main feeling is relief and a deep tiredness.  As if I have been holding something a very long time and I’ve finally been able to put it down.  And now that my hands and heart are no longer carrying this something, this invisible burden I didn’t even realize I had accepted, I notice just how weary they are, how they ache.

So I sit. Gingerly flexing those sore arms and straightening my spine, I look blinkingly around – Where oh where have I landed?

It feels good to stop doing something I didn’t believe in.  I didn’t understand how wearing such a compromise can be.

My mind’s a muddle.  Not sure what paths to follow, what to prioritize, what to do. So maybe no path, no lists, no plans, no answers.  Just wait.

I waited.  I wrote.  A lot.  Here is a picture of the journals I’ve filled since last May.

I’ve developed a bit of a quirk in these journals.  I only like writing on the right hand side of the page, but I hate the thought of a half-filled journal.  So after I fill the journal on one side, I turn it upside-down and start writing the other way back to the beginning.  This is what I mean:

Over the past year I wrote most days.  And I have never felt better about it. I used to write only when I was tremendously happy, sad, or confused.  Now I just write, no matter what. I’ve gotten into a habit of bookending the days with pen and paper. I sprawl across the pages in the morning before the house awakes and the day accelerates.  I unwind on the pages at night when everyone is resting, dreaming. I try to find a few hours each week to write during the day while the kids are at school.  I like the challenge of writing a blog post each week.

So, from the muddle that was last May, I’ve moved in a definite direction.  I like to write, so that is what I will do.  I’m upping the ante:  I’ve signed up for an on-line Creative Non-Fiction and Personal Essay course.  It started just over a week ago.  There are 8 other people in the class, from all around the world, and we write and share something once a week.  I’m working on a collection of stories/essays about the Rocky Mountains.  10 weeks, 10 stories.   Then I’ll think about what to do next.  In the meantime, I’m having a ball.

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2 Responses to Upping the Ante

  1. Rachael says:

    Wow! All those journals!

    I used to write in my journals in the same exact way. Now I use saddle-stitched Moleskine journals — no spine for my hand to bump against.


  2. Lucy Pearce says:

    Wahoo! good for you! I know that feeling of tiredness from teaching – I get adrenaline burn out from teaching SOOOO easily – as I rediscovered this w/e


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