Friday, May 18, 2007

post-interview and explaining the new blogroll

As my father put it, I didn't eliminate myself. I know this: I was charming, I was honest, and I was wide awake. I told them I wanted this job, that if another job with tenure opened up and I had already taken this one, I wouldn't abandon the Local High School. That it meant too much for me to teach there. And I was able to talk to them about the potential of starting a literary arts magazine at their school and how the drama positions are full, so as I see it, I won't be overwhelmed with co-curriculars. I found out through others that someone mentioned he may have had me take on too many activities ("I think I may have had her do too much," I can hear his voice saying), may have given me too much, which hurts me, because I know, in some ways, these choices burned me out. Of course, I cannot by any means place blame on this, especially since my commute certainly did much of the burning, but it still pains me to know that he knows. You know, that it was too much. And now it's too late.

Of course, the sadness does not sit heavy with me because hope has lightened my burdern. Instead, I think of how beautiful the Local High School looked to me as I walked up, how wonderful it is to have been interviewed by a woman principal (I love the principal we have for the most part, but as many others have said, it is a bit of a boys club in the admin at This High School) and by a team of three other English teachers. I think of how my duties beyond the classroom would not be heavy, how the drama department is full of advisors and how I might get the chance to start a literary magazine, how I might remember what it is like to be a teacher again. How this place might help me fall in love with the profession again.

And it seems so surreal that I felt so good in front of that interview team, but I did. Talking about the profession, about goals, about how I'd like to be in my profession.

For the rest of today: reading in bed, a too-long nap, shopping for a shower present for Emily. Also, other errands: three books for the poetry group ordered at our local bookstore, paying off our wedding rings (and trying not to wear it around the house, prancing around like a fool, seeing how it looks with the engagement ring, not wanting to take it off), finding our version of a guest book (three silver frames with white mat spread for signatures), and turning in the marriage license, officially signing off on the altered last name.

Tonight, dinner at a local favorite. Salmon and vegetables, crusty white bread, jasmin chicken soup. Cleaning the house as the sun sets, preparing for Kelly and Logger, looking forward to a weekend spread in front of me. So short is the time I have left at my school, and soon, summer. Changes.

And this has been on my mind:

Why I read the blogs I've been reading: I think, if people are checking, it might be alarming to some that I've been peering in at the lives of women who are on the cusp or the first years of motherhood. They might think, "Is there something she is not telling us?" or "How long after the wedding can we expect her to be blossoming with child?" K and I have already talked about it, and we do have a hoped for plan, which involves compromise, and somewhere around two years, though I can't promise anything as fertility is fickle.

But I am in a place where I have been thinking a lot about balance in my life. The past two years of teaching had washed away the sweet memory of poetry workshops, the adoration of reading late into the night, and the joy of explication. I had become another person with another drive, and it wasn't leaving me as satisfied. I was doing everything I could to keep my head above water, let alone thinking of who I needed to be for K and the furry family we had at home.

Now that I have been budget cut (such an odd way of putting it, but one I insist on, as I was not fired or any of those other awful terms, and I bristle when my students put it in these words, hot with shame), I have begun to seriously think about my wide open options for the future. I have my interview with Local High School tomorrow morning (oh thrills and nervousness) and hope that I can teach another year, but after that? I don't know. The position officially expires after a year, and I know this going in. Another English teacher is on leave, so I would just be holding a place, which is fine. And after this... what? The thing I want the very most in the whole world is to get my MFA in poetry.

And all these thoughts about balancing and finding a way to be both an artist and a teacher (and a partner for K and a friend and a daughter and so much else) and on the brink of my marriage, I am thinking this: How will parenting fit into it all? My biggest goal, to get my MFA and to write poetry, might not mesh so well with a wailing, pooping bundle of joy. I hear so many stories about parents who have lost great parts of themselves as they become parents, continue with their jobs, etc. I do not want to lose my creative self again, not after I have only just found it.

So that is what I'm doing. Thinking to the future (even though I'm trying so hard to be here now), imagining what it will be like with each change, with teaching at a Local High School, with traveling for higher degrees, with adding babies, then children, then young adults to my life. It all gets so swirly and windy in my mind, and I think I want to read in these blogs that there is a possibility to be a mother and be creative, both with the visual and the visual arts. (And I don't mind reading about mothers who make it as stay at home moms or as part time workers too. I'm afraid, after these experiences the past two years, that my children as well as my husband will become strangers or just on the periphery... or, just as bad, I will be on the periphery of my own life.)

So my blogroll of strangers is growing and so many of them are parents of young children. I don't want to alarm anyone, least of all K, but I do look forward to being a mother. Indeed, as a good friend put it, I have "the Mommies," but I'm also prepared to wait until we are both in a place that is ready. We have enough on our hands with the furballs.

I'm also interested in women who are finding their creative selves despite great obstacles, children or not. I am interested in how people express themselves creatively and live at peace in a world with increasing stress and increasing environmental woes. I am interested in becoming a better person myself, in finding a way to express myself and to exist in this world as someone who is happy and maybe even someone who inspires.

Some websites I discovered in a magazine and thought I would share:

- Cheree Berry: paper
- Mod Green Pod: organic wallpaper and fabric