Some of us are task-oriented, and some of us, not to mention the way much of our economy is structured, is time-oriented: having a job means being somewhere from specific hours doing something. As a task-oriented, late-rising (8 a.m. as opposed to, say, 5:30 a.m.) person who loves working for hours alone, I am very lucky to have a job (or combination of jobs) that fit me like a great pair of shoes despite how far I sometimes have to walk in those shoes.
“What do you do?” Well, it is confusing to explain in a word or two, but I work about 70% of a full-time position at Goddard College. Most of my job there is devoted to reading packets my students send me every three weeks and then writing them long letters. In other words, I sit around coffee shop for hours listening to my favorite music (thanks to KCMG — my name for my itunes collection) while typing fast on this computer. I also supervise and support student fieldwork related to Transformative Language Arts, talking to people about the little quirks of facilitating writing workshops or ways to document learning filmmaking. I also offer free-lance writing workshops, talks, readings and do Brave Voice retreats with Kelley Hunt along with other projects together.
Mainly, I write. Sometimes like a maniac between the waves of packets from my students. Sometimes here and there as projects or deadlines require. Sometimes while waiting to pick up Forest in my very old and experienced minivan. I write because I love writing, and that love propels me to get as organized as possible in getting the other work done.
A typical day isn’t so typical. Today, for example, I’m writing this blog post, which I consider part of my writing practice. Then I will put together some handouts for Brave Voice, which I leave for on Sunday. Later, I will read and respond to a student packet, the last straggler of this bunch, and try to draft a poem for the Brave Voice collaborative performance Kelley and I are doing. Some days, big driving is involved. Other days, I’m rushing to catch up on reviewing student work. Faculty meetings happen often by phone as do many other meetings (conference calls R us).
This isn’t to say there aren’t moments of overwhelm or confusion (those come easily to most of us following or not following our heart’s desire), but for the most part, I love everything I do. It makes me feel alive, peaceful and happy. The money that comes adds up to a full-time living. The hours often don’t start until 9ish, but can extend well into the evening with breaks for meals, washing dishes or thinking about washing dishes, going to yet another student concert at the high school, reading magazines and walking the dog.
When I was a kid, I used to imagine the improbable: being an actress in a Broadway plan, touring with my imaginary band (I played tambourine) or flying all over the world as a hard-hitting journalist. Where I’ve landed would have seemed far more improbable to me when I was 8 because so much of the technology and approaches I use (computers, low-residency teaching) didn’t exist at the time. Once again, what life brought is far better than what I imagined.