Sheriff Woody Makes It Feel Like Home.
I’ve spent the last two weeks teaching for YouthWrite at Kamp Kiwanis west of Calgary.
Hence, the above Bitmoji, and hence my absence from this blog during that time. It was intense and exhausting and my answer to the question, “Will you come back?” has been, “Ask me in March.”
I had a couple of editing projects on the go when I went out there. As I was only officially on the clock for a short time each day, I figured I’d have lots of time to work on them.
HAAAA HA HA HA HA!!
Not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening. I finally figured out that the answer was to leave camp in order to be able to think about anything other than camp. I got in my car in the afternoons of my second week, drove to Bragg Creek, and found a café that made a great decaf London Fog.
I made my bunk bed as comfortable as I could. I’ve not slept in a bunk bed since I went to summer camp in the 1970s, and I admit to some homesickness (or more specifically: husbandsickness). I was forewarned to bring a mattress to supplement the “mattress” that I have no idea how kids sleep on. Mind you, I know that kids can sleep anywhere.
The camp was so intense that it occupied every corner of my mind even when I wasn’t physically there. I fell behind in my work, which I very rarely do. It doesn’t feel good to me as I’m committed to deadlines, and I don’t like to keep clients waiting.
The end of the long days were a respite, and I loved sitting on the back deck of the instructors’ residence watching the clouds change, the deer graze, and the barn swallows flying non-stop overhead. I tried to work one evening on that deck, and nothing went into my head. I couldn’t see words. I was ineffective and I knew it. I put it away as it just wasn’t happening.
The kids I was teaching learned a lot (so they tell me) and I did too. Mostly, I learned that I can’t compartmentalize as well as I thought I could. For me, it was a really valuable lesson; I found out that there’s no way I can work on two books and teach kids about writing in an immersive, two-week summer camp experience all at the same time.
I pass this on to you, dear reader, if you’re over-extending yourself and you’re ignoring your own writing/editing because your brain just can’t handle it right now. I finished the projects I’d fallen behind on these past few days, and that was it. I couldn’t look at another word. I took myself to a mindless, brain-candy shoot-em-up movie yesterday so I could shut my bean off and watch Keanu Reeves shoot a lot of people and blow some shit up.
That was just what I needed. I didn’t argue with it; I just did it. I’m not a fan of #metime, but the phrase seems apt.
All of this to say that if it’s not happening for you, and if you can’t see your own work today, give yourself a break. You’ve earned it.