November means writing. I associate November with NaNoWriMo just as much as I associate it with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This November, I’ll be devoting my NaNoWriMo to an extended series of personal blog entries, written throughout the month and about various topics. This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last in the series. I hope to shed some light on my struggle with mental illness while sharing some of my personal experiences since graduation. There’s a lot of catching up I need to do, since I shunned this part of my life for so long.
I’m inspired in part by my mentor teacher during my grad year of teaching, who wrote a 150-page memoir of his life and work-shopped it nearly every day in the English department book room/community office. He was inspiring not just as a teacher, but as a professional writer, someone who worked during the day at one thing while his creative pursuits kept him grounded. It was my first introduction to creativity as a grounding factor in my life. I think of my creative pursuits, like blogging and D&D campaign writing, as fulfilling a special need in myself. If I don’t fulfill it, my being starts acting out of whack.
I remember, during one of my frequent observations of his lessons, he pulled his memoir open on his laptop and read from it to a classroom of seniors. Nonfiction literature often transformed in this way, moving from writer’s workshop to literary criticism to story-telling hour. It inspired me in ways I have difficulty fully expressing here, but the looseness and level-headed feeling of his classes allowed my teaching career to blossom. In that school, and with that department, I felt at peace with my mind. Few things truly bothered me there, with so much to learn from and so many to speak with. Genuine people, real feedback. I never imagined that year would ever end.
Have you ever had a time of your life that you already look back on with nostalgia? A period or era that so much of your development owes itself to? It feels odd to already feel nostalgic for one and a half years ago.