Writers can get their inspiration from just about anywhere. The beginning of this school year has been a whirlwind that I have been happily caught up in. When I say happily, I mean deliriously happy. I have not been this elated in over five years. In the past few years, I grieved the loss of a position that I didn’t think I could ever re-create. The position changed because the school system reorganized and I moved to another school. I once posted on Facebook that one of the hardest things in life is to have had the best and lost it, knowing that it could never be recaptured. I and many of my former colleagues were literally in mourning. The school has since been torn down and we are all in different places. The family we created and the intense joy of going to work every day was gone. I didn’t dislike my new job, it just wasn’t the same. I understood what it was to simply have a j-o-b that I went to every day to make a living. It was not my passion and obsession that it once was. I missed having that with every fiber of my being. I felt adrift on the ocean of life, floating aimlessly with no land or rescue in sight. Sharks were circling and I didn’t really care.
Then it happened – a miracle. My j-o-b changed slightly. I am in the position to follow my passion for project-based learning. I am able to create again and teach children how to create from the things they learn. The mind-numbing worksheets that I was forced to teach and endure are mostly gone. They can never be completely gone because children need to read information and practice it. However, the worksheets I used are replaced with ones that allow students to search for information or ones that allow students to use their answers for other purposes down the line. My students are engrossed in their pursuits and I am feeling alive again.
Suddenly, there was a glitch. I was caught up with the projects I was doing for the next few months. I no longer need to search for and synthesize my findings into fun projects. I simply had to facilitate. I am becoming bored again.
Then it hit me. I am someone who needs to create. It is a deep-seated need within me. It has always been there, I just didn’t see it for what it was. I was the odd student who inwardly jumped for joy when the professor mentioned the words “paper” or “project.” It is why I loved my online classes with papers and projects due every week. My favorite professor was one who didn’t believe in tests. Our projects were our tests. Our projects showed him that learning took place. Creating is the highest point on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning and my pinnacle of joy.
I am glimpsing snippets of the path that brought me to becoming a writer. As a child, my friends and I diligently created new worlds. We were rarely ourselves. Instead, we were orphans in other countries or pretend adults (what were we thinking?) who solved mysteries. Every day contained infinite possibilities. Our bikes were not exercise devices; they were vehicles for the exploration of other worlds. Man, I miss those days. As a cozy mystery author, I create other worlds and characters. There is no greater compliment than when a reader tells me they wish they could live next door to my characters. If my characters feel real to my readers, I have done what I set out to do.
I don’t know exactly what this new deeper insight into myself means, or where it will take me. I do know that I feel more complete. I understand a greater part of what makes me tick; so many of my oddities make sense. Yeah, to many, I will still be weird, but at least it is a weirdness that makes complete sense to me and gives me a sense of purpose.