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While most people were donning costumes, carving pumpkins, and trick or treating, I was silently celebrating the start of writing my memoir. On October 31, 2018 at The Owl Shop in New Haven, CT, I began this journey, thinking it would take about 6 months. Now one year later, I estimate 6 more months of drafting and then a wholesale revision.
Like most writing projects, this has been marked by fits and starts. I started a teaching assignment at Southern Connecticut State University that was marred by disruptive students and then a hostile student. Combined with a commute to Norwalk, 30 miles that took 1 1/2 hours three days a week to teach the mutest developmental students I have ever encountered and bombard them with an unfair curriculum and babysitting, my last teaching assignments soured my otherwise successful 30+ year career in teaching composition. I would teach one more semester in the spring, to another mute group at Southern, and that would be it. Between semesters, the extreme stress of my lack of job prospects and subsequent unemployment (under-employment) led to health problems – stress! But all my health tests showed that I am healthy and strong, thank goodness.
I secured work at the Yale library, a temporary position that was turned into a longer term limited appointment, physical work with no nightly grading, a trade I was willing to make. So I lost a good 6 weeks of writing in the winter, followed by a week-long vacation in August to Belgium, my first trip to Europe, in which I did not bring work with me. That was followed by another month of struggling to get back into writing.
But here we are, the beginning of November and I’m still writing. Transitioning from an academic life to a writer’s life is the challenge I now face, a challenge that, after a year of writing, I am winning.