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. You’ll find her story under the topic category, “Kate’s Story.” It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
All photos in today’s post were shot by Kate on visits to New Mexico.
And speaking of healing, today I submitted my letter of resignation to the President of the college and met with the lady from HR to discuss the bureaucratic side of my departure. She was very sweet, and it was a relief to find that the meeting wasn’t as awkward as I had expected. I spent about an hour throwing out papers from my office and beginning to box up books. Of course there were messages on my voicemail which I had to deal with. I’m making final arrangements to meet with my boss in July about turning over certain tasks to someone else, and that sort of thing. By the end of June I want to be finished with most of my loose ends. Then in July I will take a day or two to clear out my office, meet with my boss, and complete any last administrative tasks that need to be done. July 30th will be the termination of all my responsibilities and theirs.
CONGRATULATIONS on submitting your letter of resignation to the President. And on all the other preparations for your leaving. How did that feel? In two months this chapter of your life will close! Are you feeling OK with it?
The resignation just feels strange. Perhaps I am protecting myself from feeling anything at this moment, because I feel numb about it. Or perhaps I got a lot of the sadness out when I had to face my boss and some of my immediate colleagues, as well as announce it to them and deal with their responses. As the official letter didn’t require a face-to-face encounter, it probably won’t seem all that real until I get an acknowledgment from the President.
Tomorrow is Commencement, which I am contractually obligated to attend. Now THAT is going to be very awkward and difficult for me. MF has been urging me not to go, believing that nobody would dare give me a hard time about it if I don’t attend, given the circumstance. But right or wrong, I feel a sense of obligation to my students who will be graduating tomorrow. I feel like if I do go I might have a last memory of something positive, rather than the entire miserable semester that I have suffered through as my last experience of twenty years of teaching. I have three students who began their writing work with me and returned for two or three classes with me, and I feel like I want to cheer them on, as I promised them I would. I know that if I didn’t go they probably wouldn’t care very much. I admit this is more out of obligation than anything else, and I seem to care more about it than anyone else will.
So maybe it is one more demonstration of what I need to change in my life, one more unhealthy relationship that I can’t seem to approach any differently than I have before now. Still and all, I’d like to have something positive to remember. And I feel like I need to lay this to rest by being strong enough to go and face everyone one last time and not run away and hide. I may regret this, but if I don’t go I feel like I’ll be running away with my tail between my legs. Does this sound crazy to you?
Now I’m going to tell you something especially important and positive. I am writing this message from MY studio. This is my first act in this space, other than cleaning it up, bringing a few plants in, and taking a few photos. I put some adjustable screens in the windows earlier today, brought a chair up from the basement, and now I’m here writing to you. I’ve included the quick photos I took just before I sat down. There is so much I’d like to do with this space; but for now it is a somewhat stark but cleanly refinished barn room, and most importantly, it represents my journey opening up to new beginnings and explorations and my commitment to the artist’s life.
Five months ago I was about to embark on my winter trip to Truchas, drawn by a deep calling in my heart and some vague hopes. Now I’m here. I couldn’t have imagined then what has happened in between or what lies ahead. But I think part of me knew I was heading here by heading there, if you know what I mean. Thank you for being a beacon along this journey I am on.
To be continued…
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Love to you all,