Writer’s Block

All authors get it.

Whether pen in hand or sitting at the keyboard. The blank page overwhelms them and they don’t know what to say. It can go on for minutes, days, or years. You don’t know what to write.

There are many techniques for addressing that form of writer’s block. But there’s another one. There’s the block that comes when you know exactly what to write but you just can’t. You’ve got the exactly words in your head and you can’t write them down on paper.

Yesterday, Kim and I were making corrections to the program for Elena’s funeral. Kim decided that she didn’t want a quote on the front page. Just her name and a picture. Oh and the dates.

I wrote “March 3, 1999 -” and then I stopped. How do you complete that thought. How does a father write on paper the date that his daughter died. It was a crippling writer’s block. My hand shook, the tears flowed, others in the room offered to write it for me but I knew that I had to.

Finally, I wrote “February 22, 2006”.

Published in: on February 26, 2006 at 7:57 am  Comments (19)  

Not Moving

I will someday return to teaching. Now isn’t the time to make any sudden decisions, but I loved teaching. I loved that magic moment when a student is changed and now owns the topic we’re covering.

I always wanted to be a teacher. I taught High School and then went back for a PhD so that I could teach mathematics. I taught at the college level at Case, while a student, and at Oberlin College and John Carroll University. I had hoped to spend my career at one of those schools. It didn’t happen.

I interviewed at a variety of other schools, but they would require moving. My kids at the time were the only grandchildren on both sides. They were within twenty minutes of one set of grandparents and an hour of the other set. How could we move. It was easier to change my career than to move my children away.

People think that that was a sacrifice – but it wasn’t. I’ve gotten to do some very cool things. Some of it has required a lot of travel – but when I’m home, I’m really home.

I do a lot of work out of my house. When we first set up my office the plan was to keep the kids out while I’m working. It never happened. They always found their way up to where I was to show me something or to ask me something or just to hang out for a bit.

During these past few days, so many friends from the community have stopped by and lent support. I’m so glad we’re here. Here where my parents and Kim’s parents could get to the hospital to say goodbye to their grandchildren. Things may change in the future, but for now, we’re not moving. It’s not that we have nowhere we want to go, it’s more than we’re already where we’re meant to be.

(I apologize for a bland post this morning. I’ve just written what I will be saying at the funeral tomorrow and there’s little emotion left.)

Published in: on February 26, 2006 at 7:48 am  Comments (3)