The Moving Finger Writes and Rewrites

Posted on September 27, 2007. Filed under: Writing Teacher Rant |

Maybe I’m destined to become a slacker blogger. I haven’t been posting daily, because if I want to talk to myself I don’t really need a blog. But OK, it’s the last of September and a few of my friends and fam have stopped by (you know who you are), so maybe I should quit navel-gazing and be a real blogger, not a slackin’ one.
I love to teach writing. It’s thrilling to me when a student finally gets it, especially if the student was eager to learn in the first place. Not to say I love toadies in my classes. Doesn’t help if they send me a basket of pears from Harry & David. That’s a reference to a gimmick a really famous author used in order to get an editor to look at her manuscript. I doubt it’ll work twice, so forget about it.
In September I get to start all over and read aloud to the students–Bird By Bird and On Writing Well, all the great writing classics. Gets em fired up. Sometimes it gets me fired up too, but then I get mad because the teaching “schedual”as one student wrote, is so relentless, so much. Every day I make these promises to myself about writing 1,000 words, or a chapter or a draft of a new story. I tell the students to write at Absolute Top Speed. And then I fall into bed and try not to have nightmares about not keeping my own goals to my own self. I want to reread great novels: The Poisonwood Bible, A Prayer for Owen Meany, a new one called Up High in the Trees that I fell into and was wowed to the point I hated it to end. But when? I don’t read all that well in my sleep.
This struggle between the need to create and the need to eat, is so common it barely needs mentioning, but I am pretty frustrated. I love my students, I love teaching, but I also love writing, darn it. I wish God would comment on this, maybe sing a song of sixpence to me as I slumber. At this writing, though, I’m running from class to class, feeding these student babies the best I know how, secretly longing for a little writing time, a chance to ask a question without answering myself.
That’s motherhood. The dreaming of an uninterrupted night’s sleep after the third request for the drink of water, the longing for the chance to use the bathroom sans toddlers poking my belly, asking me if I still have a baby in my tummy. No, I tell the writers and the children. I do not deliver water or writing miracles. I do have a story in the oven but if you don’t go away and let me be, that story will never get writ. Or rewrit. Don’t bribe me with Harry & David, just lock me in my study and give me five freaking minutes to write it bird by bird.


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