Learning to Juggle

This is my discussion forum introduction for the class I’m TA-ing for this semester.  A mish-mosh of new and old pieces with the added  idea of juggling.  Because who doesn’t want to learn to juggle?  🙂

My life is not a love story; this doesn’t mean I can’t learn to write one.  I believe that writing isn’t necessarily a gift or a talent, and I believe that I have the words inside of me.  The writing process is, to me, finding those words and letting them out.  It’s not just letting out angst, or writing what I feel like writing about.  There’s no such thing as inspiration.  It’s playing around with words, hanging out with the language, making friends with it, tearing it apart like any scumbag enemy, and then kissing and making up with it.  It isn’t merely touching the keypad with my fingers; it’s banging away at it until I feel like it might break.  It’s getting mad at the piece, making love to it, hitting it, caressing it, shedding tears over it, and laughing at it.  And then when I’m done, I print it out, look at it, and then crumple it up and throw it away.  It’s never good enough.  I start all over, but then go back to the trash and drag out the crumpled paper.  I smooth it out and remember that, whether I use it or not, those are my words and nobody else’s.  That’s what being a writer is all about to me, and I’m a writer.  I’ve always been a writer, and I wouldn’t know how to begin a piece on my identity without stating that.

I have always written a great deal, but over this summer I’ve begun my latest project.  It’s a memoir that consists of a series of personal essays about my life experiences.  This project, inspired twofold by the work of Cheryl Strayed and one of my pretty fantastic professors, is still in the beginning stages.  However, the act of writing and sharing pieces of it has helped me to learn to voice myself again.  I’ve made some contacts in the land of publishing, and people have begun to read my work.  Writing this has given me the ability to take control back and shape all of my negative experiences to my will.  My relationship with writing, much like my life, is not a love story.  In her memoir, Wild, Strayed writes “…the death of my mother was the thing that made me believe the most deeply in my safety:  nothing bad could happen to me, I thought.  The worst thing already had.”  I identify with this book, and with Strayed as a writer, because the worst thing has indeed already happened to me.  My writing is not flowery, nor is it magical; it is not about rainbows and unicorns.  It’s simply who I am now.  It’s what gives me purpose.  As writers, we write to tell a story, and sometimes that story involves the negative experiences within life.  I hope to someday be able to tell my story in the same manner as Strayed, in a way that attacks the darkness of life without become stuck in the melancholy.  Moving forward with my degree is the first step in steering my life towards my new love story where the only things I need are my journal and a pen.

I’m a writer.  What I want most in this world is to pursue a life in writing that will allow me to flourish in an occupation that I find to be incredibly amazing.  In my last two semesters of my undergrad career, I am gearing myself up to do amazing things.  I am ready for graduate school, should I be accepted to one, and I’m ready to get my MFA in Creative Writing and go out into the world.  I am ready to take all of the things that the world has to offer me.

I have a lot going on this semester.  I am taking four courses and holding three internships—this teaching internship, a fiction editor internship at the literary magazine, and a research assistant internship on a project regarding gender differences in the workplace.  I maintain a full hours load at the tutoring center.  I teach outside of this university.  I do a lot.  (Understatement?)  But the thing is, I am thriving.  When it seems like an ordinary person would drown, I am swimming.  I am walking on water.  I am conquering my life and taking it back.  I believe the bumper sticker slogan that most greatly represents my life as it is now would be #learningtojuggle.  Not only am I juggling my academics with my teaching, but I am also juggling all of my life experiences.  And in that act of juggling, I am realizing that every single thing has a place, and each and every experience is forever a part of me.

I strive to be open to new things.  I believe that someday, when everything is in balance and solidly juggled, I will have the chance to craft that love story.  And you know what?  It’ll be amazing.

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