I am a writer. I think. Or, at least, I used to be. Every time I get in touch with Dr. Lou Gallo at Radford University, he asks if I'm still writing. I guess that means I'm a writer, right? Unfortunately, as I've already expressed in an earlier blog, I feel as though all my creative juices are used on lesson plans and instruction. Any other energy I have is sucked away by grading and a plethora of other duties that are unknown to most but other teachers. My creativity has atrophied.
But I like to still consider myself a writer. I've been published in the past. I never fully persued publication, but it has happened a few times. Once again, though, unfortunately, most items I've had published were in the college's literary and arts magazine, Exit 109. Does that still make me a writer, if it was in the school's magazine and not a more public venue? Can I call myself a writer if I haven't actively written in over 5 years? When am I no longer allowed to wear the hat called "Writer"?
I came upon a realization this week. I am attempting to complete poetry with my 12 AP students, and some of the poems we're reading (remember, I'm taking the class over completely next year; ergo, I'm shadowing the current [and successful, I might add] teacher, which means I do not attempt input at this time, but follow along blindly, feeling my way so I can maybe, possibly, do a tepidly decent job for my current students, who, by the way, are all such wonderful young adults. I really enjoy this class, but feel as though I'm letting them down. But that's another blog...) I've either never read before, or I haven't read in years, which means I feel as though I've got tunnel vision when it comes to teaching this class. Poetry has certain things you can specifically discuss and analyze, but ultimately, isn't it more subjective? Isn't it based on the author's perceptions with a sometime hint of unconscious? Can we ever truly know what the author's purpose was, unless the author is still alive and able to answer questions regarding his/her work? I struggle with just reading/discussing poetry, and I worry that it is a failure of mine.
Why, you may ask. Or you may just be tired of reading my diarrhea of the brain. But my answer is that what I wrote, when I wrote, was mostly poetry. Some of it was very successful, but was that through talent and skill, or by accident? Did I hide behind the defense that it was subjective and therefore refrain from other creative genres? How can I consider myself a writer if what I write is what I have trouble delving in to from others? Or is all of this difficulty I'm facing a direct result of my creative atrophy? My exhaustion? My feelings of inadequate preparation for a class I've never taught before and have big shoes to fill? My concerns that I'm letting my class down? How much of it is my own failings, and how much is a result of external forces?