I had the opportunity to attend an undergrad class at IUPUC in Indiana this week. As an Alumni I was so happy to relive that feeling of, “I love school”. College was by far much more fun than any other year of my school life. It was unfortunate that I was 42 years old when I started college and 47 when I graduated. Life has a way of interfering with our better laid plans. I was able to talk to students in Fiction writing about the craft of writing. It was thrilling because I never get tired of sharing my passion for writing of any genre. If I could afford it, I would never stop going to classes. Again, life necessities get in the way. It is no small feat to make it back to Indiana from Texas as I have a dog, a husband, and a part-time job. (Notice I put the dog first.)
Texas has not been a picnic because we moved there for my husbands job and have no family or friends in the area. Cultural majority in San Antonio is hispanic and I speak no Spanish. I am a small fish in a big pond. I was by no means a big fish in my home town in Columbus, but I had a handful of close friends and an armload of great people I knew and liked to meet with often. I have a very close family of siblings and my 90 year old mom is still the matriarch of that close knit group. Moving seemed exciting at first. A dream of new possibilities in writing or teaching was within reach. That dream did not come about as any job of teaching or substituting without fluent Spanish was not available to me. The job market for teaching at all in a community college was non-existent without a masters degree. I applied to over 300 jobs in the first 14 months in San Antonio. The job I did get was back in nursing working in an assisted living facility an hour away. I lasted about 4 months before I had to leave. The hours were awful and the drive was killer. I was not physically capable to be a floor nurse any more. My back was toast and I was in constant pain at night after going home from that job. The job market was not the only thing that created struggles. The heat is stifling. I missed the seasons. In Texas there is only hot and not so hot, two seasons. I was not getting out in the heat to explore the area by myself in a primarily hispanic area. I was a little scared and a lot alone. Without any outside stimulation of a human nature (I started talking to my dog) it is hard to write anything.
My writing became stale. Depression and anxiety of being so far from home with a husband that travels often for days at a time added to doldrums of bad writing. I had no focus and no real passion to share words. I managed to find part-time work after searching for another 8 months and that at least afforded me the funds to do a little outside of home. I went back to the beginning by journaling daily. I wrote all the bad feelings and sadness down on the page to clear my head. Soon I was looking for writing classes through the Texas Writers League. I started taking those classes and it brought back the love I have for school. I started reviewing old stories I had on file and began new stories. It wasn’t long before I had a book half written.
In the worst of moods I try to write in my journal just to keep the practice of writing. I still look on Texas as a place I temporarily live because my home will always be Indiana. My heart and my soul is refreshed just by being there. I go back as often as possible to inject a lot of happy thoughts and memories into my being before going back to be with my husband in Texas. It never gets easier to leave Indiana, but it always gives me energy to write more when I return.