I’m at and have been facing a crossroads in my life. I feel it every waking moment of each day. On the one side, I am a capable teacher with 13 years experience and a solid foundation for how to run my courses, so the job is not difficult in the sense of day-to-day class preparation. But with that experience comes a feeling of burnout, of having been overworked and exhausted by the system well before my prime. While I’m good at the job, it no longer fulfills me in any substantial way.
Then, there is the writer in me who feels stifled by the day-in, day-out grind of the system. My creative side yearns to run free and create novels full-time, but the reality of our current economic conditions makes that aspiration feel like a distant dream unlikely ever to come to fruition. Breaking through in this age, just being noticed, requires constant promotion and exposure. Even then, the monetary reward is rarely worth the effort. It’s a sickening, maddening feeling to have a modicum of talent for something but to feel as if there is no way to make a living off of that skill.
And then still, there is my third path, the one I feel calling with the most urgency and highest sense of importance. I want to farm. I want to build a self-sufficient, operational farm that at the very least can provide my family with sustenance if the whole system implodes, which every day feels more and more likely. Right now, this is what I want to do more than anything. This is where my heart is pushing me, and when I have the time to work at the property, even toiling at hard physical labor, I find a peace and tranquility hard to describe. I simply feel as if I am where I belong.
I do know that no matter what, I will finish The Brotherhood of Dwarves series. I owe it to my readers, my friends, and myself to complete books four and five. Beyond that, who knows? I may choose to continue writing, or I may not. At this stage of my life, I truly cannot say. There is another story I want to tell, but I’m not sure if it will ever be more than an idea. Only time will tell about that. What I do know for a fact is that I must choose a path and follow it because standing at this crossroads and pondering my proper course cannot last much longer. I have to move forward soon.
3 thoughts on “Thursday Afternoon Ramblings”
It’s a tough one. I think most creatives end up having to have their dream subsist on the fruits on their other labors, if you know what I mean.
My suggestion? Accept the dichotomy that is DA Adams. Teach because you’re good at it. Meanwhile, start the farm. I grew up on a farm, raised by two teachers. The thing is, the farm never paid enough (in benefits especially) to be their full time gig…until they retired. Now they farm all the time, and still have residual income.
Where does writing fit? The thing about writing…it’s what you are. The others are things you do (I do realize teaching is a calling and so is working in the Earth, but it seems to me that there is a difference). I think no matter what else goes on in your life, you should be writing.
Now, if it’s all or nothing in your mind, meaning you are either going to be paid full time to write, or it’s not feasible, then it may be a case of having to temper your expectations. That sucks to say, but it’s the realization I have faced. I write and create now because I love it. My kids don’t think I’m too kooky and maybe someone will enjoy it someday. That might be the best I can hope for (admittedly, you are a far better writer than I am. I can say that, I’ve read your stuff).
Joel, I understand what you are saying, and I truly wish I could juggle all three. The problem is that education has become so encumbered with bureaucratic nonsense and endless paperwork that it completely consumes all of my time and exhausts me mentally, leaving little to write with. I believe that if we could get the farm operational, I could continue to write at my own pace. The biggest obstacle is getting it off the ground and functional.
Looking at your response it seems you already know the answer. Teaching sounds like something you used to love doing but it’s time is past. Writing is who you are and so you should never abandon it. Farming is a calling and an aspiration that will hopefully enable you to do what you love without compromise. In the meantime, we compromise to eat. 🙂 I am rooting for you as I face a similar dilemma.