I’ve taken the last 8 days off from writing. Totally off. No mental energy. No actual words. No academic reading. And yet.*
I found myself on a bus in Yosemite Valley with a short story idea. (I haven’t written a short story since fourth grade, I think. But even through high school I wanted to be a writer. Long story, that.) I found myself figuring out some necessary plot points. Some character details. I think I’ve finally come to a place in my life where writing is in me. Or I suppose one could argue that it’s been there all along and I’ve stifled it for years and years and years for various reasons.
Vacation gave me that gift, and another: that I am beginning to think more clearly about the end of my current academic work, and what might come after. I haven’t had any grand revelations, but the future doesn’t look quite so scary. I’m beginning to see the choices I have, where I’m limited by the choices I’ve made, and how I might hang on to a writerly self inside or outside formal academia.
I may or may not decide to write the story eventually. For now, I’ve recovered at least some of the mental and emotional energy I’ll need to tackle the rest of this dissertation.
*I am reading Kent Haruf’s The Tie that Binds, thus the use of the narrator’s refrain. (Review: good, gritty, compelling.)