First Day/Space, New Day/Space

Today was the first day of my new semester. It was probably one of the best first days ever. My students were amazing: participating, asking questions, and engaged in the classroom space. I arrived early, I was fully prepared, and I was fully comfortable. I didn’t feel nervous in the slightest. I guess about a decade of teaching will do that to a person… but I needed all ten years to feel this way.

I had a summer of Netflix movies, going to the gym whenever I wanted, a trip to Big Bear and Palm Springs, new friendship seeds planted with some good people, time with my Dad and family (both at his home and in the hospital), and time with my husband and cat.

I didn’t do much in regards to writing, and I only read two books from cover to cover: Radically Normal by Josh Kelley and Introverts in the Church by Adam S. McHugh. Both were very good.

I always make these grand plans to read a ton of work over the summer and produce tons of great literature only to lose focus. I focus better when I am teaching, which I find to be interesting.

I think this summer, especially this last month, has been a time for me to redefine my sense of creative identity. This video really helped with that. After watching this, I remember closing my eyes and thinking, “I want to return to that.” I wanted to return to the importance of space: writing space, poetic space, thinking space, and in a physical space.

If I say I am a writer, and I do not write, does that mean I am no longer one? Is one always a daughter even after the father dies?

I have been a small boat drifting in a large ocean, with no real motor to propel me toward a specific destination (I used that analogy in class this afternoon with my new, fresh-faced students about setting goals, and it felt real because it came from that real place). My husband and I spent the last few years getting settled into married life, hiking through some hard and craggy mountains, and as a consequence of that, I placed my creative side to the side.

A few days ago I rearranged my space, in part because of what this YouTube video said about the writing space. We are blessed to live in a home where a room can be an office, and while we had office furniture in there, and I had my books and pens and papers in there, it was not an inviting space for me. I had all the furniture jammed to the perimeter walls, leaving a void in the middle of the room that felt very cold, like a hole. I didn’t have a good organization system either, so I had old photos stacked next to printer paper and our penny jar. So it was chaos, and this summer, I kept the office doors closed for most of the time–in part because our cat had taken up the habit of puking on the main desk, but I think the doors remained closed because I was bothered by the hole.

So we eliminated the hole. My desk is now in the center of the room (the writing is now at the center). All else flows around it. I placed the knick knacks on one side of the room and the work supplies on the other side of the room. In a few days I will have a chair that will serve as a reading space. My 1950s Smith-Corona typewriter now have a prominent place, my diplomas are displayed on the wall, and the few kitsch art pieces I have are in view.

Writing and reading. They are both connected to music for me (I have a wind chime hanging from the curtain that is a part of that music when the winds blow, and they always do in this area of the state). My early prayers were all in written form, and I came to know the music of words through the reading of them. So I am very excited to be in this new place and this new space.

I thought of two quotes when ending this entry, and I want to leave them here (and disobey my own rules and not analyze them, at least not this evening):

There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice–patched, retreaded and approved for the road (The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath).

I want to be different before I do anything different. So I’m waiting for God, and God is waiting for me to see if I am really waiting for him, and not just wanting things from him. And as God and I eyeball each other in this way, I feel good. I feel alive and engaged with what matters… (Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig).


Now read this


On May 31st, I gathered my things, logged off of the classroom computer, erased the whiteboard, and locked the classroom door. I said hello to my new life. I was extremely nervous about becoming a stay-at-homer. I’ve always been a worker... Continue →