The season premiere of The Big Bang Theory was this past week. I enjoy this show a great deal, and I found some particular merit in this episode. The first half hour, since it was 2 episodes back-to-back, closed with Penny, the show's main female character, conceding defeat in her attempts to become an actress and deciding to go home to Nebraska. The question is asked, "What are you going to do in Nebraska?"
"I don't know." She looks down introspectively. "Maybe I'll TEACH acting."
Immediately, I laughed and texted several friends, saying that that explains a lot about my writing. I am an English teacher. I teach students how to write. 'Nuff said.
Admittedly, there is some semblance of truth to that statement, but only to an extent. I've written several times about how I try to find balance and that I feel all my creative juices sucked out by numbers, data, paperwork, and creating new, inventive, and applicable lesson plans. And by grading, grading, grading. And now, by attempting to keep a relatively sanitary house and a 2 year old fed, happy, and learning so he can be successful in the classes I teach (yes, I do expect him to be in my AP class in 15 years).
But on the flip side, I've also found that some skills have been developed to the point where I have an idea where my classes are going and my creative muscles are no longer atrophying - where I have thoughts that flourish and could be something more. Steve jokes about how I need to get my novel written so he can retire and be a stay-at-home dad. No pressure. But the fact of the matter is I do have ideas, and I think they're wonderful, but I still have yet to find the time to develop them in to something more.
Several years ago, the school administration offered t-shirts to the faculty with a rather poignant slogan.
"Those who can, do. Those who can do more, Teach."
I need to remind myself that, while I haven't accomplished what I want regarding my own writing (and various other creative outlets), there is time, and I already have quite a stockpile that more than likely will be utilized in the future, including a book of poetry that I've written over the past 25 years.
Last year, I attempted NaNoWriMo for the first time. It was an exciting and educational experience for me - I learned more about myself and writing than I had in...how many years of college classes? I failed miserably in the grand scheme of things, but was very proud of what I did accomplish, considering the number of plates I was balancing during that particular 11th month of the year.
This year, the month appears on the horizon to be much less daunting. Things may (and let's face it, probably will) change, but for now, I fully intend to try it again. And my goal is quite realistic. I want to double what I required of my students last year. Ultimately, I want to complete the 50,000 word requirement, but I will gladly settle for 34,000. After all, as long as I'm flexing, nothing will go to waste.