Writing Goals

Today I shared with my writing class the writing goal for November. I accidentally told them 50000 pages instead of words! Aye caramba! So I told them I would try to write 50000 words.

I know the idea is to write a small novel, but I have all the characters floating in my head with no problem at all. They are happy characters, living somewhere near the west coast. Except for Ashleigh, her anxiety is out of control.

She does have one particular helper when she feels that “too anxious to go to bed” feeling – her sweet Bassett but, Roxie. Roxie has 2 types of fur – long outer coat that is impossible to control, and of course her undercoat. It is the biggest pain for Ashleigh, because though she liked her spaces clean, Roxie inadvertently deposits the plentiful fibers of her undercoat everywhere. Short and stubby, they float through the air, attaching to ceiling fans, collecting under furniture, and making a mockery of her black jeans, sweater, shirt….

Poor Roxie can’t help herself, so she nuzzles close to Ashleigh’s ankles, feeling her electric emotions. She doesn’t know why she feels this way tonight only that it is there. The panic lays in her chest like a boulder….a boulder that is rocking back and forth, threatening to tumble at any time.

Ashleigh sighs, rather high pitched, and Roxie snuggles closer. Ashleigh does the only think she can do. She keeps her mind and arms busy. Delicately grabbing the grooming kit, she removes the shiny silver comb, an implement she knows all too well. She begins tut o stroke Roxie’s back, as the comb creates exaggerated lines in the fur, and balls and balls of fluff.

“Where can all of this be hiding?” Ashleigh contemplates.

The Thought that Goes Bump In the Night

It was one of those dreams, the kind that linger all day, and begs you to address it. I had one of them a few months ago and it was the weirdest dream about a hurricane. I knew I had a tough year comingĀ  up, but despite my dream research online, I was sure that I was wrong. This year will be great, despite my battle with depression. This silly hurricane in the dream was a wisp of wind, a short traveler that would only be passing through. In the dream, I was trying to get to higher ground, to get away from the fray.

This morning I woke with the same type of troubling dream, one that my psyche would not let go. In my dream, I was at my grandma’s funeral, a shell of an event with a sense of masked faces. There were hundreds of them, though I knew only a few. I was comforted by their presence and sensed the support and comfort emanating from their coming and going. Even though I don’t recall what they said, I felt loved. I was not alone. In the dream, I had strong sense of having boyfriend, and I saw people from my long ago high school past. My immediate family was there.

The reality is that I believe in the power of the mind to process, warn, and help me navigate my world. Not every single dream means something, but these types of dreams have held a reality to me that have helped me guide my emotions. So this morning, I wonder if the hurricane is over, and what type of support I will be need. Both dream archetypes are that of change. Although I am restless, my direction is one of which I am unsure. Hopefully the storm will bring a happy change, and the sun will shine as my friends and family support me in the change. I wonder what I want to process, but can’t in my waking hours.


Shark Tank

Tonight, I am watching the TV show Shark Tank. As I observe all of these people putting it ALL on the line – money, heart, soul – on products that may or may not be successful. At the tender age of 40+, I still don’t know what my Shark Tank moment is. Do you? I wonder, if given more time, and energy, what am I willing to dream about. I think a lot of time, in the middle of the daily march of time and responsibilities, we lose the power to dream. As I sit here, my to do list grows, my bills climb, and somehow I stop to write and wonder what the possibilities are. I love my life, with an amazing career and work that can only be verbalized as a calling. I teach kids. I’ve taught hundreds of them with more adventure and fulfillment than you could ever imagine. I know they love and appreciate me, but with the state of education, as parents and news agencies talk about disrespect of teachers, thinking that they are adding an awareness, they are actually perpetuating a sense of disrespect.

Think about it – 20 years ago, people thought – “Wow, you are choosing to be a saint. You will make no money, and work thankless hours, bless you.”

Now, with social media and the continuation of this discussion, it has become a very public and nasty debate. The facts are the same. You cannot raise a family, without a dual income as a teacher in many states. Many teachers pay for materials themselves, and work some of the longest and worst paid hours of any “profession.” Now it is all over the social network, and many people support the struggle. The pain is when people get on this no consequence media and say things about teacher and their choices. (They could be lawyers).

When did it become less noble and more stupid to be the change agents that we are. I was recently personally taken aback when teachers were on the cover of Time magazine, highlighting that they often take second jobs, third jobs, to be able to survive in the area of their “calling,” I sat in silent surprise as there were as many people posting to insult teachers as support them. They called teachers lazy, uneducated (havenon- proficient kids, so they must be). They are clearly uninformed in making their career choices. Then they called us whiners – whining because our retirement is being taken away, our futures are questionable with vouchers, accountability, and lower than cost of living raises of other professions, and ultimately a lack of respect.

I wonder if I went on Shark Tank and told them my dream, teaching without the disrespect of testing, more ability to learn myself, and the best tech and support for THEIR growing workforce, I wonder if I would have a “deal,” I like to think I would.

Seeking Peace

As someone who has lived with anxiety for most of my life, I am looking to seek more activities that bring me joy. Writing has always brought me joy. The process of writing is so peaceful, bit with a mind that is running a million miles a minute and a to-do list that will not quit, having the neurons to fire creatively is far less than ideal. So many barriers. I teach writing daily and love the intricacies of written language, but really my proportion on writing to paper work is at least 1:10 if not smaller. I wonder – how can I make writing a bigger part of my life. It is so important to me and want it to be that important to kids. I have to admit the pistons are not firing. I am attempting to make time daily even if that time appears random in thought. I love my life, but I feel the need to create. Doubt sets in – will I do it correctly. Teachers focus heavily. Will my characters be entertaining? Will the print on the page inspire others? At my school, our motto is to LEAD. GROW, and INSPIRE. Right now I feel like I LEAD at school, but maybe could do better if I was able to have a free minute to study my passions. Obviously there is so much growth – as a published writer – and how to grow into my true self, my written identity. Lastly, inspiration. That is what is lacking. How can I inspire our future writers, if I am too busy working toward acronym completion, notes, and all the other necessary, but stifling tasks that are required of educators today? How do I become Mr. Holland, the teacher who was over stressed in writing his symphony, teaching kids, somewhat MORE reluctantly than me, ending up to see that he had inspired others to create their own symphonies? Where is that inspiration? How do I bottle it, contain it, and sustain it?