Saturday, February 7, 2015

For My Lover...

I was melancholy yesterday.  But perhaps I am simply melancholy by nature.  I was thinking about my unfinished manuscript and how I haven’t devoted much time to it since last summer when I was a professor and I had three months off with pay.  There’s a common misconception that teachers have it easy because they get summers off, but teaching (especially when you’re a conscientious teacher who pushes your students) can be incredibly draining.  I spent the first three weeks of my summer vacation recuperating from two semesters of 16-20 hour work days.  Yep! That was my average schedule.  Every once in a while, I had two days where I only had to grade for seven hours (i.e., one classs essays), but from Monday to Thursday, I worked 16-20 hours a day.  Needless to say, I didn’t have any writing time during the fall and spring semesters. During Thanksgiving break, winter break and spring break, I was always grading. This was one of the main factors in my decision to quit my job as a professor.

One of my favorite memories of being a professor is this: I was sitting in my office one Saturday afternoon trying to decide which poems I would assign to my creative writing class.  I chose two: Audre Lorde’s “Woman” and Pablo Neruda’s “The Hurt.”

These lines seized my heart:
1)      …your night comes down upon me/like a nurturing rain (Lorde); and
2)      I have hurt you, my dear/I have torn your soul (Neruda).

These lines confirmed what I have known for a long time.  Writing is my lover.  When I open myself to him, he is nurturing.  He is attentive and selflessly giving.  When I close myself to him, when I don’t give him the attention he requires, he gnaws at me and tears my soul apart.

So I give him whatever he wants, whatever he needs.  I don’t care what people say.  I don’t care if they think I’m crazy for leaving a secure job where I was respected.  I ignore the judging look on their faces when they ask if I want children and I say, No, I want books.  I dont give a shit if people think I need to “settle down” and “stop dreaming about being a writer.”  I need my lover, and I will do whatever it takes to keep him.  

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