Saturday, 17 October 2020

Little Steps Through the Mire

It's been raining on and off for weeks. My back garden is a bog, studded with windfall apples that I need to pick up before the birds, hares and insects hollow them out. I bought a fruit dryer to keep up with them. The kids eat each batch immediately, so there's no keeping up. With anything, the unmown grass, the fallen leaves, the red pile of apples beneath the tree, the kids and their hunger. 

Last week the scary, big question was 'what do I want to be when I grow up?'. Again. I feel like I did 23 years ago when I finished my last degree. It doesn't help that my course has set an assignment of basically 'what's next?' in terms of professional development and I don't have an answer. So I've had a fretful couple of weeks of worry and stress and questioning what my priorities are. 

I am unfortunately a Jill of all literary trades, but master of none. I've taught literature, creative writing, English as a second language, some media classes, but don't have a teaching certificate. I have worked as an editor with a small publishing company and for my own company for a variety of clients, but I have no specialty besides creative texts which is very niche in a country where I am not fluent in the native language. I am a writer and poet, but not top tier, so getting work, partially because of the language, is not easy. I have no confidence in anything I could offer just now.  

Most anything I am able to do, I don't have the right credentials or contacts or language skills. If I need to spend more time training, I want it to be in something I'll be happy to do for long term. I also need to take into account that I have a family to help support.

I've spoken to my course supervisor and to another teacher at my school for advice about staying in teaching. I'm hoping to meet up with another editor here in town this week for advice there. I've also had an off-the-wall idea I need to be brave enough to approach some people about for a future project. 

I have to not get bogged down in it all. I'm taking little steps forward and have to remind myself that for now that is good enough. It's not something I can decide or sort overnight. I've had a nice holiday week with my kids, trying not to fret too much. I'll get back to it Monday. 

This morning there was frost, a reminder I need to finish my winter digging, to pick the last apples, to rake more leaves. I need to take more long walks with the kids to enjoy the last of the decent weather and sunlight. We're heading into the dark season, there will be enough time for contemplation and planning then. 

And in writing news, my work has appeared in The Broken Spine Artist Collective anthology, 2nd Edition. They have a call out for submissions for their 3rd edition, so get your work in. 

I'm still writing, still working away at editing, submitting. Like the apples, some things don't wait. 

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