…So I Built It

So here I am trying to build something. Thanks for coming. I hope I do my job well enough to draw you back.” —The end of my first post

That was 77 posts and most of a year ago. I had sketched out some ideas for a blog in one of my moleskines (I think using a fountain pen, even). I jumped into producing content before I’d really designed the blog, setting it up using a grey and orange color scheme that unintentionally mimicked Steve Brust’s Dream Cafe. I intended that the blog be “something about writing.” A few weeks later, I published Of Dreams, Carrots, and Towers, which was picked up by Minnesota Public Radio’s Higher Ed blog. Suddenly I was a #postac blogger, too.

The last year has been a snake eating its own tail. The kids went off to school today—their first day in the new school. I am at home at my improvised standing desk, unemployed. At this time last year, I was busy hurling my resume at anything writing related. I wasn’t sure I’d get any of the jobs I applied for, but I didn’t despair. (That came later.) This year, I’m coming off three weeks of Not Getting Hired as a teacher. I had a few interviews—some went well, one went so poorly that I withdrew from consideration. There’s still a chance I’ll get a full time position for this school year (enrollment numbers continue to wiggle, and teaching positions with them), but there’s also a chance that I will be stuck as a substitute teacher for the foreseeable future. On the plus side, I don’t owe my program more money until I’m hired. On the minus side, substitute teaching isn’t the most remunerative endeavour.

If the snake has been gnawing its tail, it has also grown: I am happier than I was a year ago. Most days, I’m over my breakup with academia. Many days, I feel like a writer. I have not fallen in love with Texas, but I am learning to tolerate it, to appreciate that I can get decent avocados year round. I get to see one of my nephews and most of my in-laws on a regular basis. I can swap date nights with my sister-in-law. I haven’t managed to play ultimate year-round yet, but I know it’s possible to do without ever having to decide whether cleats or tennis shoes are better for the day’s snow and ice mix. (Next summer I don’t expect to be training for a new career and moving into a new house, which should help get me on the field.)

I would really like for something to go according to plan. The shine has come off the optimism of June. It was baffled optimism even at the time, but as little as two weeks ago I really felt that everything was going to work out and I’d be able to busy myself with day to day troubles and worry less about my personal trajectory. There is a hell of a lot going on in the world that needs to change. It’s hard to work on that when you’re swallowed in a job…but it’s also hard to work on that when you’re busy with the algebra of pay checks and due dates.

In the meantime, I am trying to take advantage of the quiet house to write. I have fewer than 10,000 words to go to complete my first draft of Ghosts of the Old City. I’d like to write them soon enough that I can make a pass through the draft in September, spend October planning the sequel, and then try to repeat last year’s National Novel Writing Month win. I still have the secret project that was supposed to launch in July and didn’t (because moving). There are many things to write.

As for Walking Ledges? It’s one of those things. I’ll continue to be up front about the challenge and opportunities I encounter as a #postac and as a writer. I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate my reading goals into the blog—more on that later this week. I may occasionally write about music. (I’ve only got a friggin’ PhD in it. No reason to schweigen about it.) I should have some cool announcements in the next six months.

In the meantime…that last line of my first post works well as the last line of this one. Thank you for reading, whether you got here from a #postac-tagged tweet, Freshly Pressed, or through a Google search for “who was the composer who was way too good.” (Really happened!) Thank you to my handful of commenters. Thank you for the clicks on the like button at the bottom of my posts. Thanks for the retweets and shares. I hope I can keep doing my job well enough to draw you back.


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