The Suck Stops Here OR Inspired by a Teacher

Personal Note: I was almost a teacher, in the traditional sense. It's true; if I hadn't taken a semester off school to plan my wedding and prepare for transferring colleges (which I was doing before I knew I was getting married, just to make that clear), and then I hadn't found out three weeks after the wedding I was two weeks pregnant with Gabriel, I would have gone on to finish my degree in education. My grandfather was a teacher, so besides having a natural affinity for it, there was that added bonus of making him especially proud, a little nod of respect in his direction.

But . . . I'm not a teacher, as in one who goes to an education institute with a lesson plan book, and tries to carve what's in it into the heads of non-adults. Some may argue that I'm my children's first teacher, or my readers' teacher, but the truth is, "teaching" isn't what novelists are generally paid to to. We're paid to entertain, to illicit emotional responses, not help you memorize your times tables (I only know up to my tens--stupid math *grumble, grumble).

My job as a writer is to imagine the intensities of life, but its heartbreaks are small and insular, and at the end of the day, only my own. When there's grief in my working life, it belongs only to me, or possibly a few fictional people. It doesn't affect others in some negative way. Rejection is personal. Tragedy is empathetic, but easily set aside, because it's of the 'make-believe' variety. Failure doesn't fail anyone else, and if I give into it, it is always, always my fault, not a result of the impossible restrictions put on me by some higher authority. I have all control over the quality of results my efforts produce. If I do the work, I'll reap the reward.

In my personal life, I'm insanely blessed. I married into the most amazing family, and they all live within fifteen minutes of my house. My husband is the perfect compliment to my needy, anxious personality. He's always telling me to "Just breathe". He's no nonsense, and logical to a fault. I've probably referred to him as a Vulcan on more than one occasion. My sons are all amazing kids, beautiful and typical, but also huge-hearted. I get to stay home and be here for them, because my husband makes enough money on his own. Even though I could sometimes scream, that's amazing in this economy.

So why the Hades am I whining about the opportunity to make a mess better? Why am I complaining about being given enviable guidance on the road to my own dreams, especially when all I have to do it TAKE IT? I don't have to sit by and watch other people lose themselves in the crush of reality, knowing there's nothing I can do about it. I have freedom.

My best friend does not.


Brianne M Heavey said...

You as a teacher = Epic awesomeness. lol


Anonymous said...

I love you.
-- Denise

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