The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate has been in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. She has very recently decided she must leave her job and fully embrace a “writing life”. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. Those of you who have not read any of the earlier Conversation pieces, may want to go back to have a better understanding of Kate’s progress. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
I got through another week, with all the issues still weighing on me. I finally had an acupuncture treatment with a practitioner here in town. Her diagnostic of my chi was pretty clear: no response whatsoever. That confirms what the acupuncturist in New York said about my chi being completely “cold.” It’s up to me to get myself back into life and completely out of destructive work so I can replenish what keeps me alive and heal. It will be interesting to hear what the doctors have to say. I hope it’s not just an “Oh we can fix that with surgery” or “Oh we have a name for that syndrome” kind of thing. I won’t be surprised if that’s what comes out of my neurological consultations and evaluations, but I’m hoping for something more than that, knowing I may be disappointed.
Got to get through this last week of classes. I’m only teaching Monday through Wednesday, and then I’ll be picking up the pieces on Thursday and Friday. Monday exams begin, and it will be a very long and busy day; then I’m off to NY for the various appointments and tests. My boss has agreed to cover my Wednesday exam for me. Friday I hope to get my grading finished up or at least close to that, so I can (hopefully) stop—really stop—and rest for the entire weekend.
There is so much to think about as I stand on the threshold of a new life. Deep exhaustion and the actual resignation still pending are preventing me from processing this reality fully. That is a very strange feeling. Sometimes it hits me in a wave, but mostly I’m just in survival mode, waiting to get to the next task on my to-do list. Very soon I will need to take stock and figure out what comes after that raggedy old to-do list is no longer relevant and healing is the single most important task in front of me.
Writing life ahead….
Yesterday ML, my therapist, reminded me of a letter John Keats wrote in 1817 in which he described his philosophy applied to the kind of poet he most admired and aspired to be (and was of course). He described a state in which “a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…” This, ML reminded me, is what I need to allow myself to do. I don’t have to figure it all out before I get there. Another important lesson to remember.
Beyond survival mode, true living exists. I promise. Once you’ve left the work behind, however, you will need to take a long stretch of time to breathe, rest, restore, garden, play, heal, walk with Charlie. There will be time for the writing life after that. Truly. There will be. But there will be no writing if you don’t, first, fully heal. There is time. There is.
You, dear heart, ARE “capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…” I know that you are. You will know it soon enough too.
I have some work to do this weekend, but I’ll be winding things up in terms of school work, thankfully. In a week I should be finished except for administrative loose ends that I’ll need to take care of in early June. I hope those will be straightforward kinds of chapter closings and the reality of new chapters opening will begin to sink in.
In a week you should be finished… Do you hear the miracle in that statement? Maybe not yet, but you will.
To be continued…
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Love to you all,