Saturday, January 24, 2009

One Resolution for the New Year

One thing I have resolved to accomplish this year is to write more often; in fact, I have decided that I will write a poem at least once a month. Although I wrote a draft of a poem one evening while waiting in the car for my son to return from his music lesson, that draft remains unfinished. I haven’t written and polished a new poem in several years now. This period of silence comes after once having a more regular writing habit and after having completed a creative dissertation. More than ten years have now passed since I completed my degree. Whatever baggage I have carried with me as a result of my education has since been discarded, I believe. It seems as though I can now write without hearing the voices of my teachers in my head and without articulating their prejudices. Whatever they once had to say about my writing no longer matters anymore.

When I was teaching in the classroom and commuting, I thought about poetry more often and often composed poems in my head while driving to classes, writing them down once I reached my classroom. Once I finished teaching during any one day, I was usually too exhausted to return to those creative thoughts; most of my efforts were initially spent reviewing my classes, at least during the first twenty minutes of the commute; afterwards, during the remaining twenty minutes or so, it took all of my effort to remain awake. Extreme sleep deprivation made driving a struggle.

Teaching online has made it more difficult to compose poems in my head. I only have to walk down the hall to reach my home office, to switch on my computer, and to call up the Internet. Somehow I need to find the discipline that will let me focus on a poem when it is most quiet in my house—either before I start working on my classes or after completing that task. Writing, I decided, will prevent me from idling away my time surfing the Internet as a way of postponing having to look at my classes. I have been teaching the same classes for so long and have been teaching so many sections year after year that I approach the grading of essays with dread, often delaying the task much too long. It seems that fulfilling that creative impulse to write for myself will allow me to return to the demands of my job with a more positive outlook.

My wife thinks that these feelings regarding the grading of essays mean that it’s time to put teaching aside. Sometimes I wish I had fulfilled my original idea to gain secondary certification after completing my MA. If I had secured a teaching job afterwards, I would be at a point now where I could think about retiring, having completed twenty years of service.

My immediate goal now is to put together a full-length collection of poems and to get it published. There are about thirty poems of mine from the dissertation that I am happy with. I now need to write more so that I can put together a complete collection, possibly eliminating all of the poems that I wrote so long ago.

Only a week remains of January, and I have not yet fulfilled my quota for this month. I need to get busy. I cannot delay putting this resolution into play. The grading begins in February.