I chose this title because with this post, I’ve caught up to my goal – it’s my fourth post in four months. April zipped past – home from the UK, back at school, a trip to Regina, and then, this past weekend, taking my poetry team to the ever-inspiring Can You Hear Me Now high school poetry slam.
I feel I haven’t had much time to breathe this year, and it seems as though that won’t change in the near future. I just keep putting one foot ahead of the other, barely looking up to see where I’m headed. Every brief glance around me shows me in icy landscape I’m not familiar with, and one that I’m not sure is taking me where I want to go.
And yet, I’ve had some writing success (publications), and some success writing (new novel). I’ve got a handle on the characters for my novel – they’ve become two constant tour guides for this strange place I’m stumbling around.
Strange because so many ties have fallen away since I force-changed some pretty big parts of my life. Some people I thought were rock-solid friends, have turned out to be pretty fickle, and some who blew into the centre of the hurricane have stuck around to see what comes next. I sure realized how much weight I was pulling in some of my friendships – when I couldn’t carry it all anymore, I discovered that no one was.
Strange because my kids are changing faster than I could have imagined. They are brilliant, funny, amazing young adults. And still, I see the children they once were in their older, more mature faces.
Strange because I live in the intensity of the teen world every day, and I come home depleted, and yet, inspired. I have some of the strongest, most amazing students I’ve ever taught. This year has changed me as a teacher, without a doubt.
Strange because this wintery world is starting to thaw, and every time the sun comes out, I am drawn to a window, a skylight, a sunny patch on the floor. It feels warm, and welcoming and new, but I’m still a little wary.
I still dream about the dark times. I still wake up at 3AM, crying, out of breath, thinking the nightmare is real, that it’s still happening. Just when I think I’m okay, it all comes back in my dreams, and I’m reminded that I was so fooled, and so wrong.
And maybe that’s why I don’t quite trust the sunlight yet. Besides living in Calgary, where it can snow in any month, I have had such bright days, only to be followed by those freezing, waking nightmares. No, it’s not the sunlight I don’t trust — it’s me.
I still question myself, based on the horrible, abusive things that were said to me. Am I happy? Am I a good teacher? Good mom? A good writer? On the sunshine days, the answer is ‘sure.’ On snow days, the answer is buried deep in a bank of …of what? I’m not sure anymore. The details of those years, that time, are starting to fade.
And so, onward. I have bought all of the fountain pens and notebooks and scarves and keyboards and fake fireplaces and slippers and desk chairs and snow shovels and writing classes. I belong to a writing accountability group now, and as soon as I press publish on this, I will have achieved my April writing goals. I’m warmed up and ready for spring, and all of the writing I’ll need to do to get this book ready. I am working through much of what happened to me through both of my main characters. The land they are leading me through is two-fold – the one I live in, and the one where they fight fires, fight bullies, and find (some) answers.
Off to start on my May writing goals.*
*Ignoring the calendar that tells me I have so much marking in my future, as well as a school trip.
Song- Black Roses from the Nashville soundtrack
Book-The New Quarterly 142 with my essay in it!
(I’m not posting any more run/walk/bike/writing locations for safety reasons. But man, living near the water is a dream come true for this earth sign.)
(Header photo by my student M.F.)