Back in the summer, when I was contemplating this moment, I thought of several consolations: when I got back to work, I would be glad to see my colleagues more. Once I got started teaching, I'd quickly hit a rhythm and would enjoy it. I would enjoy seeing my colleagues more (did I already say that?). And as it turns out, I do enjoy seeing my colleagues, but I don't see them all that much more, at least it doesn't feel like I do. I feel just as lonely--when I feel pressed, flustered by anxious work, cut off from the work that is closest to what's most important to me--as I ever did last year when my work wasn't going well. As for that teaching rhythm--well, it has taken longer than I would have predicted for it to arrive.
Moreover, I find myself asking: whence my burnished afternoons, the ones that found me writing, editing, bringing some project to a new level? my sense of the spaciousness of time? the sense of my own powers ready to turn to some new act of making? The answer is, to each of these questions: evaporated, disappeared, gone.
But here are some indicators that lead me to believe that things might be turning around:
- I read a big pile of student drafts Thursday morning, and they were, frankly, pretty good. So maybe I haven't been doing quite as bad a job of teaching as I had feared/suspected.
- I had a lively, good class Thursday afternoon.
- I've had some excellent conferences with my creative writing students.
- I am sending my manuscript(s) off again (God bless 'em).
- I am cooking a really good dinner tomorrow for the family.
- I heard "Lawyers, Guns and Money" while I was doing my errands this morning.
- today we sat out in the back yard, absorbing the drift happening in the sky, the bird flying straight under the patio shelter, the wind stirring the dying leaves.
- we caught and released a fat little mouse.
Tonight we will visit all the local grandchildren and see them in their Halloween splendor. And before that, we will see Where the Wild Things Are. I am staring autumn, and soon, winter, right into its yellow eyes, without blinking once. This is the new real, and the new good, or good enough.
TAGS: consolatio, good or good enough, wild, flow, drift, yellow, mourning & melancholia