Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Two memories, and choosing the one that matters

Two memories popped up on my FB feed today – one from my teaching life, and one from my writing life.

The first is from my last (very tough) year of teaching at Conestoga College. I remember it so well - the student walking up to me, grinning, holding out this large tea, and the rest of the class laughing and breaking into applause. Just a little moment of kindness and fun.

 It was a tough time back then – unexpected financial pressures, unhappy people in the family, gruelling work schedule at a job I didn’t really love anymore, and a lot of difficult juggling. I was a drudge. Depressed. Struggling. Trying to be everything to everyone when all I really wanted to be was a published author. And that dream was slipping further and further away.

The other memory that popped up was my first book signing, two years ago, after presenting at the CANSCAIP Packaging Your Imagination conference. I was living my dream: having a published book, and presenting at a conference which I had attended for years as an unpublished nobody.

Two memories. 

Okay, despite literary awards being awarded, and books being named to lists, and writers/creators turning up on Zoom at the speed of light, let's face it: for most of us, this pandemic is wreaking havoc on the writing life. My own writing life is a shambles: a book that disappeared into the abyss last winter, another project relegated to numerous slush piles, and a work-in-progress that I fear will never get into print. It was all looking so hopeful, but now, who knows?

But when I saw these two memories on my Facebook feed this morning, I felt a little nudge (or perhaps something stronger) and a voice inside telling me to get over myself. Get on with it. Look at the big picture and be grateful.

Because, as I sit here in this crazy year that is 2020, it's that moment of kindness in the classroom nine years ago that resonates with me the most.