I had to yell at myself yesterday. You see, yesterday was a very hard day for me. It marked the official start of school, the point where everything started again for the year, and as mentioned in an earlier post, I wasn’t there. I had no classroom yesterday. I had no students to greet. I had no desk full of new marking supplies (I like to mark in green or purple, because I am a geek).
So as I drove home from my usual Tuesday routine of getting beaten-up by younger, stronger, faster, or simply better martial artists than me (you have to love sparring night), I had a minor breakdown. I was depressed, and not just because I had just been accidentally kicked hard enough in the crotch to worry my future ancestors. I was going home knowing that I had to write at least another 5 pages to stay even marginally on track with Emily Rose. I was going home knowing that the entire summer had come and gone without me finding a teaching gig as I had so confidently expected that I would. I was making my wife the sole source of income for the foreseeable future.
I looked at my sweaty, slightly bruised face in the mirror. More than anything, I felt that nothing had gone right.
At that moment, I shut off the radio (take that, Black Eyed Peas!) and gave myself a long, hard stare. And then I yelled at myself.
“You have spent your whole damn life saying that this is what you wanted to do. You keep telling people that you wanted nothing more than to be a writer, and now you don’t have a choice about it. Now you have to write because there is nothing else happening for you. The jobs just aren’t there for you. There is no fallback. You have been given the opportunity to do what you always dreamed of doing, and you’re complaining about having to go home and write a few more pages before you go to bed? What the hell is wrong with you?
“Even if it doesn’t work, even if Emily Rose is never published and this whole venture of yours is a complete flop, even if you never write another word after this book is done, you had damn well better do it and quit complaining. You owe that to yourself. You need to look back on your life and say that you ran with this dream as fast and as far and as hard as you could. If you don’t, you won’t be able to look at yourself in the mirror, because you threw away the thing that you always wanted the most.”
(I apologize for the heaviness of the above post. I promise that the next one will be, as the Queen requested, a comedy, and it will include a bit with a dog.)
“I found them,” she said softly, as though her wards were sleeping children. “I found them, because the others tell me where they are. They’re called plants. This one is called a flower. They are alive. They can grow, just like us, but I have to take care of them. If they are down on the street, people step on them and they die, so I protect them up here.” Emily wiped at here eyes, not sure why she felt like crying now, but unable to stop the tears.
“It’s like when you and Ma were praying for me to come to you,” she continued, her finger brushing the tiny quivering flower. “And when I came, you knew that you had to take care of me, because I was little and alone and afraid of the world.” She could see her da wiping at his eyes too, smearing the grease and dirt of his profession into the coarse hair of his beard. “They need me to protect them until they are big enough to take care of themselves. So they help me find the little ones, and I bring them here. I help them to grow. I don’t know if I’m doing it right or not, Da.” Her last words were a whisper, and she hitched a ragged little sob at the end.