I did not journal or blog for an entire 30 days! This was quite an achievement for me. Journaling and blogging have become a kind of habit – good or bad I am not sure? Good I think, but like any habit you do have to wonder what might happen if you stopped it? I didn’t journal or blog in November because some strange, ‘middle of the night,’ random thought struck me that I could write the first draft of a book in 30 days. I had watched people do it last year via Twitter. I had read about it, considered signing up, admired the participants but November 2009 passed and I did nothing about ‘National Novel Writing Month’ The moment passed and it was gone – from my memory, my thoughts, my desires – until the middle of a wakeful night this October when I found myself googling the possibilities again. It was utter madness – I had reports to write, programming to do and all the end of year preparations at school looming – but I felt inspired. I had that thud, thud, pounding in my chest kind of inspired and caught myself trying to work out how I could actually write the 50 000 words that were required to ‘win.’
Truth be told, I didn’t win anything; I just wrote and wrote and wrote and now I have 51 933 words that may or may not eventually be useful to edit and create a book out of. To ‘nanowrimo’ makes me a winner; I received the winner’s badge because I made the required 50 000 words. I really do not know what might come of the experience but I am glad it is done and glad it is over. I wrote from 5–7 am most mornings, then went about my day as if those two hours before daylight did not even exist. I don’t know if anyone noticed that I was a little more weary than usual; I tried not to complain about being tired. My kids and husband were a great encouragement, asking me daily if I made my word count, forgiving me when I snuck back into my room after dinner, while they snuggled in front of the TV, so that I could get my tally up. They even allowed me to escape to a little boatshed on the lake for two weekends of November and it was absolute bliss, pure indulgence. So November passed and somehow everything that needed to be done got done, except my blog and my morning pages and now I face December with new questions – the biggest question of all being: “What happens now?”
As is my habit, or was my habit prior to November, I asked my journal the question. I began to look for a sign. Signs come from everywhere – the universe conspires, dreams unfold and doors open, but only if you are looking. Seek and you will find!
This week as I wrote on the classroom whiteboard, a voice perked up behind me saying, “Mrs Froggatt, did you always want to be a teacher?”
I turned to the voice and paused to answer. For one he was calling out, and it was also a personal question, disrespectful perhaps but I was intrigued nonetheless. I didn’t answer him directly; instead I asked him another question: “Why do you ask?”
“Well, its your handwriting,” he said. “It’s not so good.”
I looked at the board. He was right. I hate my handwriting. I don’t know how I want to write; sometimes it is big, sometimes it’s small, but on the whiteboard it is rarely in those perfectly straight lines that teachers are required to create. At teachers college the only thing I ever failed was the handwriting test. I had to do it again and again and finally I passed; but in my mind, when it comes to handwriting, I am a failure. I live with this fact, thankful that now my interactive smart board can turn my handwriting into whatever type or font I desire just so long as I am connected and wired to the Internet. Problem solved!
“Is that the only reason you don’t think I should be a teacher?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “You are good at everything else, maybe you should be the principal. He doesn’t have to write on the whiteboard. You could just run the school instead!”
I laughed, the innocence of a small child with big ideas.
I have big ideas too and even if I can’t write well on a whiteboard, I think that maybe I can write? I hope that I can, because I love to write. I am addicted to writing. I write for myself, delighting in words, but even if I continue to journal what should I do about blogging? My daughter Sam has had enough stories told about her to last a lifetime and yet it was because of her that ‘Girl on a Swing’ started quite by accident in a way. It was a compilation of letters to friends to help me endure the horrendous journey through her chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant; then somehow it evolved to something so much bigger than I ever intended.
In November I considered jumping off the swing, returning to my anonymous world of normal life, putting down my pen as it were, but the small boy in the classroom has me thinking grand dreams. No, I don’t want to be the principal but I do like to share, to write, to converse. So what if I stay on the swing? Would you hop on the one beside me? Could we start a conversation as we weave our legs back and forth, touching the clouds? If we did, what should we talk about? What stories could we share?