"Things that interfere with writing well: Earning a living, especially by teaching."

-William H. Gass

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

3 a.m. blog

I had my last session with my therapist today. I have a therapist. Sometimes, when major life events come and go and they have yet to make themselves known on this blog, I feel like I've neglected something. Like a dog or a houseplant. One of the last things he, my therapist, told me was that my tendency to equate my "self" with my "work" was a little bit outside the norm, and that relating to people would be tough as long as I believed that everyone should define oneself in terms of one's job.


I'm conflicted in multiple ways on this one. First, how can I possibly WANT to relate to someone who spends 40 hours per week, minimum, doing something that isn't part of his/her identity? Two, if I make a living as a teacher, does that mean I'm not a writer? Sure, I write. I write the occasional blog and short story. Sure, my thought processes look like text on a page in my mind's eye. But, as I face the big three-zero approaching in only a matter of months, I have to wonder if the "writer" part of my identity isn't slowly dying.

I feel every day in terms of text. Usually, I have about six moments per day that seem to warrant narrative. Just before writing this I was sitting on my stoop, way past midnight, thinking about my identity. A skunk waddled across the neighbor's driveway toward me. I had had a lot of hummus and raw vegetables, which create a certain digestive imperative, and I raised one cheek and farted into the Boston night. The skunk ran in the other direction. I couldn't help thinking this was a naturally existing metaphor worth blogging about...but would I end up in front of the screen later? Or would I wash a few dishes, chuckle to myself, and end up in bed without typing a thing?

I dated a blogger once. A person who puts content on a blog five times per week or more. He asked me once, when I was trying to figure out whether or not a bit of content was worth putting out there for the "public", whether I was a writer or a blogger. I wasn't clear on the difference. He said that writers only let stuff out when it was ready; bloggers put stuff out without even spellchecking it. I said that I was a writer. Lately, I'm neither. It's past three a.m. now; I took a break to go for a bike ride around my neighborhood. It looks remarkably peaceful in the middle of the night.

I didn't spellcheck this, and I probably won't write anything else in weeks, except curriculum. Does that make me a blogger, a teacher, or a writer? I guess I should move past labels, but I'm all out of therapy sessions.