I am tired.
Thing is, I have nothing to be tired about. In my old life, circa seven months ago… I got up in the dark, dressed, painted my face, dragged my daughter out of bed, threw clothes on her, and stumbled into the car before 6:45 in the morning. In my old life, I would stop at Starbucks, same time each day, and the barista had my coffee waiting along with a joke for my daughter. Then pop back into the car and sit in traffic for forty minutes. Every five minutes of traffic, I would ask my daughter, “Did you eat?” to which she would groan back, and nibble on a pancake, waffle or whatever else she had agreed to earlier.
In my old life, I would arrive at my classroom door, clearly the happiest moment of my entire day, and I’ll tell you why… That was the moment that held the MOST possibilities. The room had a personality, and a life that was all it’s own. It was empty, dark, and as the kids noted, it often smelled like tea, even though I am an avid coffee drinker. It was quiet, there was a chill in the air if it was winter, or a stuffy waft of heat if it was summer. The blackboard was clean and gray, not a speck of chalk dust, as it had been washed the day before. The smart board hummed it’s song as it booted up, and an oversized image of whatever literary character we were studying at the time sprang to life. The room was like a silent companion that I could trust. It’s walls held the secrets of the day and it witnessed the magic of classroom life. How many times did I laugh in that room? Pray in that room? Lecture in that room? Yell in that room (I am only human), and admittedly, cry (again, humanity creeping in) in that room?
The day began a few minutes later as I led in thirty something ten year olds and prepped them for the morning. The bell rang in forty minute intervals allowing for eight periods of the day, one including lunch. By the time the final bell had rung, I had interacted with approximately one hundred and twenty students. Then, with the final bell, and the dismissal of my thirty something foster children I moved onward to the next activity, usually working on the publication of the school yearbook, running rehearsals for a tableau production, or depending on the day, ushering my daughter to dance or girl scouts.
Sitting in traffic to return home, I revived my brain with a Q&A with my daughter about her day, and figured out what I could make for dinner that would require the least amount of effort. Homework, dinner, dishes, bath and putting the little one to bed. Now with an approximate two hours left before I passed out from utter exhaustion, I would sit at my computer and work a little magic. In the past four years I have completed two novels, and have begun seven others. I have approximately 1,300 pages on my hard drive, just sitting there collecting cyber dust.
So, in an attempt to begin my new literary life, I had to close the door on my old life. I spent the first few months talking about being a writer. I spent the next few being one. I edited what I felt was my best manuscript, and sent it off into the world only to hear the chirping of crickets, and the occasional whisper of a polite, no.
My new life is very quiet, and I’m discovering how introverted being a writer can be. As a teacher, I was the one on stage, all eyes on me. As a writer, I am in the audience, a spectator looking in on the world.
Now, I have all of the time in the world. And nothing to say.
The effort of having to find words… It’s exhausting.