Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Rubble

Per my last blog post, back in March, I have been writing, just not blogging. Time to revisit and pound out some random thoughts.

Life is still tough, and will continue to be for a while, but right now it's more financially tough than emotionally, so perhaps things are shifting? Changing? We'll see. Last August I snagged an adjunct teaching job at a community college, and spent the last year teaching English. I love it. I've been looking for full time teaching jobs, but it appears that college English instructors might be a dime a dozen; competition for full time placement is fierce, and with just a year under my belt, that seems to be not yet enough experience I suppose.

Anyhoo, with still just a year of teaching under my belt, I didn't snag any courses to teach in the summer, so this leaves me relying financially on the night job until mid September. Come Fall though, I do have four classes lined up, and unless something else comes up that can promise me a long term, somewhat financially secure future before then, I am spending this summer working on writing projects that I've neglected, enjoying my summer the best I can, and trying to find a successful way to FINALLY get back into the dating scene.


I titled this post Summer Rubble because rubble seems to describe my life best. Broken bits of crap cluttering the open space. Trying to take the remnants of past disasters and bad choices, clips of negativity and despair and forging them all into something positive. Questions of my sanity and purpose in life, and what it all means, what I mean, and ultimately, who cares about it all and why. Realizing it's the small moments buried in the rubble, that while you have to maybe dig for them from time to time, know that it's worth getting your hands dirty for, because those small moments make up your grand scheme and before you know it, you are on your way to forming a beautiful re-entry into life. And for me, it all comes back to writing and "those small things."

I've always thought it was the small things in life that make life work (but practicing that motto is something else): morning coffee on the patio, watching the dog chew on a new toy (and at almost 14 years old, the fact that she still seeks out chew toys to play catch with is something I adore), a smile from the cashier at the grocery store, the person who got to the four way stop before you waving you through to go first, someone telling you you have pretty eyes that they've just noticed for the first time and you've known them for a few years, the moment when you look around your apartment and for a second think, well this isn't much, is it? then realize that hell yes, it is much, and it's yours and no one can take that away.

And finally, that moment when you check your email one morning and are delighted and surprised because you... you who's never in the right place at the right time, who says all the wrong things at the wrong times, you who doesn't gamble on anything because you don't have the money or the good luck, you who continues to look for that light at the end of the tunnel... you check your email.

At the end of April, I submitted a short story to the Dayton Daily News, who co-sponsored scholarships for the I've attended the workshop a few times, but it's been several years since I last attended. I had no intentions of placing, winning, or even being able to go to the workshop because it's pricey (but worth it), and couldn't afford to take a week off work. Regardless, I wanted to finish this story I'd been working on for about a year on and off, and it was just my sole intention to do just that. My theory is that you never know unless you try, and I hadn't been trying near as hard as I should, so by committing to just finish a project and submit it somewhere, well, that was good enough for me.

Turns out that I won first place in the adult category! This wasn't the first short story I'd ever written, and only the second I have written that I have ever submitted anywhere. But it is the first to place, and it's officially my first "published piece of fiction." Is it only on a newspaper site? Sure. Is that publication? I consider it so.

As a writers, our retribution is to be published, right? We write first, because we love it. We succeed because we are talented and persevere. We struggle and sacrifice because we want our words to reach the masses, to entertain, to bring smiles. But ultimately, we do want to see SOME SORT of means to the end, right? I'm not talking fame and fortune. We can't all hit the NYT top ten or Ophra's BOTM. But sometimes, just sometimes, we can try, one more time putting ourselves out there to see what we are made of, and when the mood is right, it will pay off. However small this victory might be, it is still a win.

Indeed, things are shifting and changing. Constant motion forward, sideways... but no more back stepping. Pushing myself to even enter the contest was a huge feat, and I am glad I did it, first place or not. I get to attend two days of the workshop, which I am ecstatic about and I got a story out there that I am very proud of, and the best thing of all is that I look at the rubble, and there are shiny, small pieces that are catching my eye. Rebuilding anything from any aspect is tough, and sometimes, you just have to do it one piece at a time.

Here's my story. Enjoy!

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