Sometimes I hear myself saying that my life is “stressful” or “overwhelming.” My task list marches relentlessly through my Outlook calendar and I think I am unhappy about this. Last week, though, I began to pay attention to my life – to try and notice why I do what I do:
: Come home from Spokane, where we have spent three days celebrating Pascha (Easter) with our friends at St. Gregorios
– a community of Orthodox Christians whose backgrounds include Indian, Ethiopian, Armenian and many others. Hearing the Lord’s Prayer in multiple languages made me cry. Remember we are family.
: Attempt to catch up and prep for the rest of the week, but indulge myself by writing a poem
I don’t have time to write. Apprehensive because my calendar
looks like a mosaic, but experiencing little joy flickers because of the poem. Afraid I am heading into a whirlwind and will be hit by flying pieces of mosaic.
Realize that the staff day at Sky Valley is tomorrow and I have forgotten to put it in my calendar.
Read the first, experimental chapter of my new project to my critique group, the Diviners
. Receive incisive, but heartening feedback. Contemplate how privileged I am to have had fifteen years with these outstanding authors.
Evening — Assess students, plan, email, plan, assess, email. Ask for prayer. Fall into an exhausted heap near midnight.
Morning/Early Afternoon —
Attend Sky Valley staff meeting, which is a blast. Talk with amazing teachers, watch a fascinating film on the brain
(I am totally inspired), continue student assessments.
Late Afternoon —
Teach Care and Feeding of the Novel
at The Attic Learning Community
. The sun is out (!!!), so we spend most of it outside acting — throwing the characters from our various books together in earthquakes, elevators and fields of rattlesnakes. Then everyone curls up and writes. Enjoy their faces, bent over their work, deep in concentration.
Evening — Finish assessing. Plan, plan, plan for tomorrow. Midnight or 1:00 – in bed. So tired I want to cry.
Morning — Begin new Un-Writing class in Woodinville for elementary age homeschoolers. Some are a bit nervous at first. After wantonly tearing pages out of magazines for collaging “Secret Journals,” we head into the woods to figure out where our characters live. One of the boys exclaims excitedly, “This is completely different from what I expected!” I experience several hours of personal gladness from this comment alone.
Afternoon — Go with a beloved and brilliant writer-friend to a scary medical appointment. Since I can’t stay the whole time, another writer comes to take my place, tag-team style, as I am leaving. Awed by how writers are a tribe – for life.
Friday Evening through Saturday — Teen Write “Dangerous Liaisons”
overnight at Carnation Tree Farm
. Rejoice at having teens here from six of my different groups. Watch both characters and new friendships emerge over 24 hours as teens in capes and unusual hats rove the ponds and trees creating scenes together. I play a bestselling novelist who inserts her book titl
e and Amazon ranking into every conversation. Watch the faraway looks in their eyes as they all settle in to write. Listen to them laugh and cheer each other as they read their stories on Saturday. Grateful that my husband, daughter and middle son are here helping, while my youngest is embraced as a participant.
Evening — Talk with Roger Thorsen, who owns the award-winning farm, about the June Play’s The Thing kids’ acting/playwriting workshop there. Feel suddenly delighted and energized for it.
Go to Poetry Night at Duvall Coffeehouse and hear my friend, Denis Streeter read from his first chapbook, Unfoldings. He is fantastic! Supportive friends and poets new to the Duvall reading, listen, eat good food and read at the open mic. I even read a few from my laptop, as I haven’t had time to print anything. Drop the last of my Teen Writers off at home.
Night — Realize that throughout the whirlwind, I have been entirely happy.