I know I’ve been gone, off the page, not writing my 20 minutes a day. For the few of you that have noticed, I thought I’d give you a thumbnail sketch of what’s been going on.
First, I have wrestled with burnout for a while and this was another of those moments. But that’s boring so we’ll skip over that part really fast.
What’s been a whole lot more interesting is what I’ve been doing instead.
Instead, I went to Mexico for 5 days with Liz and Sarah, Gregorio, Luna, Nico and Lyla. We played in the sand, walked on the beach, swam in the pool (well, they did and I watched) and canoed in the estuary (that was a highlight for me). We cooked and ate and watched movies and just hung out together. It was blissful and I love Mexico and those Baja California beaches. They are stunningly beautiful.
Also, I taught a 5-week Story Circle Network class called “Exploring Prejudice with the Help of Five Acclaimed Black Women Writers.” We read the work of one author per week for five weeks and explored essays, stories and poems of Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bambara, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Roxane Gay. My class was small and completely engaged, and we were all reading work that made our brain synapses start firing at rapid speed. I feel in love with all five of these writers and their work; I also feel in love with the women in my class, who were kind and focused and willing to stretch and grow right alongside me.
I have also been enjoying Rachael’s new Master’s program in English Literature at Loyola Marymount. Her curriculum has been oddly close to the works we were reading in the class I was teaching, so getting exposure to those additional books has been even more brain food that I have badly needed. Luckily, Rachael has been kind enough to share what she’s learning and we’ve had some wonderful talks about books and authors and ideas, which has been refreshing and exciting.
Plus, last week, Ray and I spent almost the whole week at the orange grove, which has its own very different rhythm than Los Angeles. We got up early, were outside all day long and went to bed not too long after it got dark. We also spent time with Liz and Ron, and then Sarah and her family joined us towards the end of the week. The moon was out and illuminated the grove at night, adding a bit of magic to our time there. And the air was cool and clean, which allowed us to take long deep breaths after being in LA with fires not too far away.
Also, of course, I have my students on FaceTime, who are returning slow but sure for help with their college and graduate school essays. I enjoy very much the time I spend with these sweet kids. I feel happy watching them get closer to achieving the first of many dreams they’ll have over their lifetimes.
So, I have not been writing here, but I’ve been keeping myself happily occupied. And all that reading and writing has kept my brain busy in a way that is nourishing and good.
But, as always, I start to miss my relationships with you all and I find myself wanting to reach out again and say a quick hello.
I hope you are healthy, wealthy and wise or, at the very least, healthy. We are, after all, still in the time of Covid.
I’m happy to sit and chat with you again. It is true, if too much time passes, I miss you.
Hugs to you all.