Hmm…I’ve been thinking. Perhaps I’ll do NaNoWriMo this year. Isn’t there a summer camp edition? A work colleague and I were talking about that today in the breakroom. She brought it up, inquiring if I’ve ever done it.
“No…I signed up, but never did it,” I said, “We should sign up together for encouragement and competition.” Then I offered some funny quip about us lifting each other up.
She doesn’t know I’ve self-published a book, but I’ve told her about my other writing, namely fanfiction. I wasn’t serious about us going at it together. I’m tired of being a perpetual champion or convener of groups.
I’ve begun some brainstorming. Oh, I have a long way to go.
I’m reading this great book, The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope. He expounds upon the dharma seeking stories of extraordinary and ordinary people against the backdrop of the ultimate dharma seeking story in the Bhagavad Gita. I’m halfway through and not quite ready to share my reflections as they are still marinating.
I can say this. The reading of it has calmed me, settled me in some way. I had, before reading this book, wrestled my angst and brought it into submission. But this exploration of my dharma, vocation, sacred duty, has given me a deliberateness of thought and daily practice.
Today, at work, I proctored an administration of a national test, the nation’s report card. Really, I observed the administration by the national staff who were very efficient. I was off from the library so I took advantage of the early time at home to engage in the deepest form of meditation: sleep.
I had two copy editing phone consultations. If business keeps booming, perhaps I’ll say farewell to the library. All of it will unfold in due time.
I am an unapologetic linguaphile. Languages and words are my lovers, but they are of the native English persuasion. I want some foreign ones! My dream is to make the transition from English fluency to fluency in another language, preferably written and spoken. Fluency, what a lofty goal, right?
In my lifetime, I’ve studied other languages (in addition to English, natively), but I’ve never achieved fluency. French and Latin were my starting places in high school. In college, I continued with French, but put it down for Italian. After just one semester, I transferred into Biblical Hebrew when I fell in love with the bible in my Biblical Literature course. The bible went from a prop at church to this mystical document to be studied and parsed. I added New Testament Greek in seminary while continuing my study of Hebrew. What was I missing in my language studies? It was ongoing communication that was divorced from some course where I was trying to get a grade. No communication. No fluency. Know communication. Know fluency. I think of all the new dendrites I could grow!
Along with traveling–this is my other aspiration–I want to add fluency in another language. I’m thinking that the language should be Spanish. The Latin American Association has free coffee hours for informal conversations with others who want to practice. They also offer formal classes. I neither have the time nor the funds to do either right now, but I will soon. There are a plethora of language apps on which I can practice, but I’ve never been able to maintain those. I know they won’t give me the fluency I crave. I need people, real live people I can communicate with consistently. If only there was some online forum of language exchange out there. Perhaps it could be a sort of PenPal Foreign Language exchange. Until I find it, I’ll continue to be on the look out for foreign language opportunities.
Do you need a beta reader? If you are, I am the one. If you are a newish writer, don’t try to go it alone. Words are magical such that when they ooze out of you and on to the page, they change and morph. I’m not merely speaking of the banal job of editing, but also of the process of fashioning your piece into the best it can be. In my own experience, I’ve tried to do it alone. Don’t do it. You need champions who will read, critique, and question.
Contact me. I’m waiting…
Now that 2014 is in my rearview and 2015 is upon me, I pause to reflect and anticipate.
The first half of 2014 was emotionally and psychologically challenging. I think it was akin to what a butterfly experiences when breaking out of a chrysalis. I was very wishy-washy and unclear about key aspects of my life. Unfortunately, my actions reflected that inner waffling. I hurt those closest to me. I lost a friend.
In the midst of this, I had tasked myself with writing a novel that I planned to self-publish. By 6 months in, I had self-published the book! Hooray for me. But questions still lingered: What shall I do with my life? ShaIl I keep writing? Try to find a literary agent/publisher? Work harder at being a full time writer? Shall I return to teaching? Find another vocation? I began working part time at the public library which was good therapy and a reservoir for some fantastic reading. Shortly thereafter, I stepped back into education as a full time substitute teacher. By the late fall, I had two jobs! Loss and gain are inexorably bound like life and death, suffering and celebration. I am thankful for my husband for supporting and loving me through it all.
In the midst of 2015, I am extremely excited about what lies in front of me. I am committed to vigorously pursuing happiness. I am in love with my school. If a permanent teaching position materializes, I’ll be ready to embrace it. I want to travel more this year and in coming years so we’ve started a travel fund. I’m committed to fellowshipping with my family and friends regularly. I want to finish my Scandal Fanfiction stories! I want to commit to writing another manuscript to finish and shop around for publishing. Also, I want to cease agonizing over what folks think of me (only child syndrome). In many cases, folks are too busy thinking about themselves! Lastly, I want to be a lighthouse for compassion and love to others.
2015 here I am!