Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When Did I Quit My Day Job?
There is a literal answer to that: When I had my daughter. However...somewhere in the back of my brain, I've always held on to the notion that I am a teacher. I love teaching, and it is one thing that I was destined to do. But is it truly the only thing? I'm also a writer and in the last few years, I have begun to evolve and find my identity as a YA writer. Does that mean that I am no longer a teacher?
I was forced to answer that question the other day as Ghost Hunk and I were cleaning out the attic in preparation for the big move. Like all gifted teachers (that's a joke), I am a maniacal pack-rat. I have boxes and boxes of curriculum that I designed for gifted kids, AP classes, and academic courses. I've held on to it all since I quit teaching high school in 2000. Why? Because it's me, part of who I am. It's like all of my writing...I gave birth to it. I nurtured it, raised it, and sent it to work when the time came. Now it sits enshrined in its pristine file boxes from OfficeMax in the corners of my attic. Will I ever have a use for it? Do I really need to drag it all the way to Georgia?
So here I am again at that nagging question, "Am I a teacher anymore?" Perhaps the more appropriate question is, "Is that mountain of old curriculum necessary to validate one career or even me as a person?" Of course the answer is "no." I will always be a teacher, even if I never set foot in the classroom again. But even before I dragged that first yowling sophomore through the pages of LORD OF THE FLIES, I was a writer. A writer and a passionate reader. And that is what I remain.
I guess I walked away from my day job back in 2000, but I quit it yesterday. Yes, I'm letting it all go. I really should construct a funeral pyre and send off those piles of brilliance (again, I'm joking) to their just rewards with pomp and ceremony. But a dumpster will have to do the job for now. (Don't want the fire marshall throwing me in jail just before the big move!)
But I will also celebrate. Waking the dead and celebrating life as a writer. I am a writer.