It's amazing how easy it is to be content when things are going well. I taught my first classes yesterday, and am once again delighted to rediscover that I do indeed enjoy life more in second semesters, especially ones in which I get to teach in 75-minute class period. (Oh, how I love a longer class period in which to teach.)
And then I went to my first creative writing class.
I like creative people. I enjoy talking about creative writing things. It was fun.
It was a long day, but I went to bed with thoughts of the beginning of my novel--and woke up with them still there after a nice long sleep. This morning, to keep to my discipline of teaching first, I finished my slides for tomorrow's teaching (and they're good lessons, I think--I'm going to enjoy carrying them out).
But this afternoon I'm going to sit down and get some of the first scene down on the page. My goal that feels manageable: 20 novel pages per week average, spending at least 3 days per week pounding out 6-7 page chunks, which would lead, if all goes well, to a completed first draft by the end of the semester. I have the arc of at least the first few scenes in my head and at least some sense of how they tie into the overall story, so the first (and probably second week) should be fairly low on the "I don't know what the heck's happening next" scale. And hopefully by that time I'll have the next chunk roughed out in my head.
It feels like a gift, how the seeds of planning have taken root--how seamlessly my prep tasks for teaching and writing have flowed into the semester. My life, at the moment, is both balanced and fulfilling, and I know that doesn't happen every day.
I'm keenly aware of how privileged my life is right now, to be able to spend time doing things I love.
I know I'm blessed during the tough times, too, but today I'm feeling my blessedness more keenly than ever. And I wanted to get that down so I could look back later when things might not be going as perfectly and remember that this is a privilege, to be doing these things.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
On Contentment; Or, When Things Go Well
I'm a writer, an incurable reader, a narrative theorist, a media researcher, a scholar/author/writer/consultant, a PK, and the Queen of Soup Making. I write a lot, and I've taught a wide range of topics in universities. Along my journey I've picked up a PhD in Communication from Purdue and 2 degrees in English. I've been turning my ideas about communication as author-audience relationships into a communication paradigm that can be applied to a wide range of situations. I'm also writing a historical mystery series. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime, and the co-chair of the Mystery and Detective Fiction Caucus of the Popular Culture Association. My MA thesis focused on connections between T. S. Eliot and Thoreau, who each wondered about how to remain still and still moving. Before I went to grad school, I spent 7 years working for a division of HarperCollins Publishers.