On August 24th, I wrote about my experiences at the AROHO Writer's Retreat in my post "Open the Door." In part I wrote: I want to stay on my writing path, just as I stayed true to the trail up to Chimney Rock. I opened that door at the AROHO retreat, and so far have been walking my writing path during this first week back at teaching. And I'm determined to keep going.
Well, here I am on Day 100 of my new writing practice. In the last 100 days I have gotten up a half hour early to write. When I realized this, I was reminded of how elementary teachers celebrate the 100th day of school with their students by computing all sorts of statistics about school, so here is my list:
- I have gotten up for every morning for 100 days.
- I have written for 50 hours in those mornings (and sometimes more on the weekends).
- I have drunk 100 cups of tea from my thermos.
- I have filled 3 1/2 notebooks (and just started a new one).
- I have written 10 poems.
- I have written 1 essay.
- I have written 2 short memoir pieces.
- I have read 4 books of poetry by fellow AROHO writers Diane Gilliam, Ruth Thompson, Barbara Rockman and Leslie Ullman.
- I have written an estimated 200 words per page (since I am one of those neat freaks who fill the entire surface of every page with writing, I was able to extrapolate this amount by counting the words on a random number of pages).
I talked to my new AROHO friend, Tania Pryputniewicz about my dilemma in the Albuquerque Airport. I made a pact with her that I would write every afternoon after returning from school. Did I keep it up? Nope. I found my mind too filled with all the noise of the day to keep myself writing.
Then this year, at the Albuquerque Airport once again, I made another pact with Barbara Yoder. This time I vowed that I would get up early every day. I had been resisting this idea for years, but had finally faced the fact that early morning was the only time I could reliably call all my own. Did I think I would be able to do it? I admit I was skeptical. I still doubted myself. But here I am 100 days later...
Now that I've finally given myself the gift of time, I feel I've joined those two sides of myself. Although there are many times of conflict when the stresses of teaching keep my from writing as much as I wish, I now know I can always find that morning time to sit quietly with the my notebook.
So on this day before Thanksgiving, I can only say thank you to all the wonderful women writers of AROHO who have helped me find my way.