It's the second week of November, and my second week at the new school. I'm still mostly making the rounds and introducing myself to countless rounds of teenagers who somehow all look the same, but the contrast to my other school couldn't be any greater. I've seen only 3 male students since I've been at the new school--since it focuses on things like cooking, most guys go to other sorts of high schools. But these three guys and the countless girls are amazing. I love my students. They are quiet, they are well-behaved, they are attentive, and they ask questions. They're open and curious, and I've had nothing but good experiences in the classroom. Granted we're still in the honeymoon period with each other, but I'm really looking forward to spending my three week intervals with them. After one of my introductory lessons to a senior class last week, the teacher later came up to me and said, "The students told me after you left that they think you made the right decision to become a teacher." Hearing that from the students (albeit secondhand), was the biggest compliment/encouragement/affirmation I could have received.
I'm keeping this short (yes, you're allowed to cheer) because that other source of mental energy consumption is the novel I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I mentioned earlier. You'll notice the new NaNoWriMo badge to the right of this post--I thought I'd add some NaNoWriMo flair to the page to keep me going. I'm at 20,057 words, which is 50 pages (12 pt Garamond, 1.5 spacing to be exact) and counting. In these first ten days I've learned that no matter how much you love writing (or art, or music, or anything creative for that matter), it's still a discipline to keep it going. On a good day, I can pump out my 1667 words in a breezy two hours; if I'm not feeling the muse, it can take up to four hours. I've read pep talks (THANK YOU NANOWRIMO!!) from numerous published authors who've described the very same process. The fairy tale of the inspired author whose novel simply materializes in an endless stream of inspiration has been put to rest. And I'm okay with that. I'm in the middle of a massive creative process, and even the days where writing a few pages is like pulling teeth are valuable.
So that's it for now...I'll update again later when I need another diversion or hit an extreme case of writer's block.
My first words at midnight, November 1, 2008. ...Then I went to bed and started over in the morning.