The Road in the Rearview Mirror


A year ago, I got a new job. And, my fourth book appeared in the world. It was a delicious, celebratory moment in my life. Friends bought me drinks. My mother exhaled relief like sweet perfume. My therapist shed a small tear, and embraced me. There were parties and launches.


In that year, I:

Submerged myself into the salty waters of academia, without really knowing how to swim. Learnt the ritual ins and outs of colleagues and small talk and lunch rooms, and shop talk. Learned that intellectual discussion in a university is delicious and rare. Cooked simply and intermittently. Bought and wore a lot of grey, brown, and black clothes. Started using a briefcase. It went to school and back with me, its black musty interior reminding me of my father, and of an endless round of work that surrounded my family like a tight snaky coil.
Broke my wrist, which changed everything for a time. My refrigerator filled with the various shades of green. I cried a lot. I met, or rediscovered, or lost, some people. I cook differently now.


For a year, I wrote nothing, except for the posts in this blog, which became my weekly writing practice, my dharma (defined by one source as “’that which upholds or supports’).

If I’m not a writer, who am I?

Am I disillusioned, or just exhausted?


Is anyone reading this who must also juggle the creative and the mundane? How do you do it?

I mostly do love teaching. Right now, as hallways empty out and all that’s left is marking and admin, I see how the teaching, mundane and rote as it sometimes feels, humanizes this work.

But sometimes there are moments that are given to you, they can pass like a sudden clap of thunder if you don’t seize them, they ask something of you, a decision, a leap of faith, a gulp of courage.

What can become of my writing? What will my next book be? How will it happen? What needs to be changed or created so that that book can come to be?

If I’m not a writer, who am I?

One Comment

  1. Before writing there were dishes to be done, clothes to be washed, groceries bought. Before writing there were letters to be delivered, friends to support and play with, materials found, research done, money procured, rent paid, body to be washed, lotioned, deodorized, teethbrushed, toenails cut, homework planned, honework done, relatives phoned, trashy horoscopes read, child and partner fed, dreams dreamt, vitamins ingested, chocolate devoured…and then there was the word. And the word was written by the woman and it was good, but she was damned tired, I tell ya!

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