How many balls are you keeping up in the air?

I’m an activist for social justice and the environment, a teacher, writer, and parent of three. Sometimes I schedule it all in neatly on a calendar: two hours for this, an evening for that. It looks pretty. In reality, the balls are usually rolling on the floor. That’s fine. Perfection is not my goal. Perhaps–experience is.

When my children were young, I taught evening courses at St. Lawrence College, volunteered at the federal Prison for Women, and wrote letters for Amnesty International. I also volunteered in my kids’ classes, nudging the students along to write plays and perform them. (Great fun.)

I joined the ranks of those who  guide and mentor classrooms of 30 students under the age of 13, teaching everything from the Arts to Science. I wrote late at night if I could steal an hour. With teaching and having adventures with my kids, I  was too busy for years to dive back into my own writing. Instead, I wrote plays for and with my students to help them to feel history, to understand social justice issues, to become stewards of our planet. To care. I hoped to encourage them to become more open-minded, open-hearted humans.

I still teach full-time but my children live far from home. I walk these woods often with my partner and our dog, Nova. I can steal time in the evenings or on weekends to write. I can let my mind drift from essays and laundry into stories. What a treat.

Imagining a story is a secret joy. You don’t have to be six years old, eyes closed and whispering to fairies to have that kind of fun. But you know that, don’t you?


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