I want this entry to be profound and meaningful and capture everything I want to say. That isn't going to happen. I want to call the title "Peerless" but that really wouldn't be accurate.
I'm moving. Emptying my house. Getting out of Dodge. Scram. Shoo. Vamoose. Adios. Goodbye.
As I've been boxes that were carelessly packed three years ago when I moved here and haven't been sorted and emptied, I'm realizing some things about me. I have piles upon piles of notebooks with every page filled along with endless scraps of writing and half-filled journals. Much of my writing is dated (for me, but understanding the importance of history’s sake—your welcome BellaNox!), but there’s a noted absence. A dearth of writing from summer 2010 until about a week ago.
ABSENCE OF WRITING
Two major factors have influenced this noted absence, which is a rather significant lapse after two decades of rather solid work writing poems, emails, journals, stories, etc. The first is this place. It’s being in a town of one-trick ponies. I sound bitter and insulting to put it that way and I don’t mean to be. There are one-trick ponies in every town, but it’s the prevailing attitude in a small town that people are classified by their one trick: singer, dancer, ATV fixer, librarian, teacher. It happens in big cities too I know, but the pigeon holes are deeper when there are fewer people. Someone has to fill that role until big cities where in a city block there are often a thousand people better than you at your trade or hobby who challenge you indirectly to keep improving your craft.
Secondly, I’m finally coming to work through the absence of my father from my life. My relationship with my siblings is much stronger. Friends have grown closer. However, it’s the writing returning that really has me excited. I think back to 9/11 and how it affected my writing. I still wrote prolifically and dealt with it in some of my writing. Dealing with the rawness of 9/11 affected me, and thus affected my writing. It was hard not to feel the pain of it when writing and revising and for most people that makes it difficult to produce “good writing.” Writing the emails to my dad that were like journal entries here is something I miss. I’m trying to write more emails and start writing here again to rebuild
ABSENCE OF PEERS
I like deep in the Northern part of Michigan in a tiny rural area several hours drive from even "medium" sized cities. An area where the young people tend to fall into two categories: Went-to-college-and-stayed-the-hell-away or Never Left. OK. I'm stereotyping some. I'm creating a binary to say people are either “A” or “B” when I'm forgetting “C” and ignoring the overlap, but by and large, that's how it works in small towns. Individuals with the drive to innovate and create and find peers tend to end up in bigger cities.
I'm a transplant here. I've made so many friends. I've found peers in many aspects of my life. But not enough... (How arrogant of me!) Only one or two within a decade of my age... (Age is a number.) Few with my age and attitude who live within two hours of me.
I love teaching. Before that, I loved computer work. Before that, I loved broadcasting/video production. I’ll love the next thing I do. I could keep teaching. I could apply to a teaching position in a bigger city. There are a few problems though. First off, teachers are usually only hired in August and the job search takes place between January and June (earlier or later depending on the school.) With politicians and the media condemning teachers as overpaid and underworked, most state governments have chipped away at the perks that make teaching jobs appealing to individuals who could make more money doing corporate work.
I’ve struggled for three years at the college where I teach. It’s a small town and the community here is very… what’s the word: insular. It’s very “old boys network.” A “Community of NO!” as some call it. A place where you’re an outsider unless your grandmother was born here. Many of the people who work at the college were born within 25 miles of the school. Easily half, but mostly likely 65 to 75 percent of the teachers and staff were born in the area. And it’s a small town. People hold grudges for a lifetime. Admittedly, lifetime grudges exist in big cities as well, but in a big city, you’re likely to never see someone again unless you make an effort to see them. Lifetime grudges thrive in small town where people talk ill of others and it gets around and make a point to snub each other in the grocery store.
Here’s my point: I’ve struggled because people here didn’t know me and offering new ideas was taken as a personal offense. While I was trying to offer ways that things could be done differently (I thought “better”), others felt like I was invaded their turf or asking why I should be suggesting changes when I’m so “young” and “don’t understand the culture before I try to change it.” There are two likely outcomes if I stayed. (Oops, I’m back to binary either/or statements… a dangerous path) I could either struggle my whole career to influence change knowing that people would always be against me for reasons that had to do with protecting their turf OR I could give up and do the bare minimum and put my extra energy into the community.
I’m also working through personal struggles. That’s what we do as people. However, in happens in degrees. I feel like I’m moving past another mountain. That’s I’m on the downhill slide with wind at my back after making some personal choice that had harsh consequences. Those choices are ones I’ve alluded to in the past entry and ones I’ll explain at a later time. They aren’t important. What is important is that I’m happy. I’m writing. I’m look in new directions to find what will make me happy.
I like to be a part of making things better. I’m clever. I see opportunities for improvement in whatever I do. I admit when I’m wrong. I screw up big. I want to be a part of a company that allows me to take risks and execute ideas. I want a community of supporters willing to invest their time in helping me and giving feedback and criticism. I have those things already. I want more. I need more. To be happy, I need more. I’m going to get it.