‘Tis a tad bit dusty in here. And this post is about to be a tad bit rusty. Perhaps even a bit of a bumpy ride, hold on and keep an eye out for the unexpected turns. I’m writing on my phone in a moving car. You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not the driver. Safety second. I bet you want to know what’s first? Another day.
It may seem like I haven’t been writing, but as we all know, looks can be incredibly deceiving. For instance, to the untrained eye, I might look as though I am winning at this thing called life. I am. In many way, I am. In other ways, not so much. School was closed Friday and I took Thursday off for my mental health. I needed the day. I needed to, as the title says, restoreth my soul. Not in the Biblical sense, well, maybe in that sense. Who’s to say.
It’s sort of like talking about conflict with my students— person vs. the unknown. Someone is always bound to ask about God, and someone else is always bound to say which God, and I always say God as you understand. My great-grandmother would say God as you understand him, but I’ve moved beyond assigning gendered pronouns to the unknown. The Giant Lion Turtle is not the unknown and is decidedly a he/him.
What does restoring my soul look like? Well, I spent four days doing almost nothing related to my job, I could never ignore the pleas of children, so I replied to all their frazzled messages and desperate cries. Once I came home Wednesday, I didn’t leave again until Sunday morning, right now in fact. I’m headed to brunch. The rest of the days I filled with much reading, a little streaming, and every bit of sleep I needed. I feel ready for Monday, but I also promised myself to do this again without the guilt teachers drag around 10 months out of the year. I’m giving myself permission to let it all go, but that’s the key, you have to give yourself permission to do it.
I have to give myself permission because few people bother asking me how I am. Few people outside the obvious few. There’s something in that statement and behavior related to misogyny and racism, but let’s not here. Simply put who takes care of the caretaker. Caretakers rarely take care of themselves. They tend to suffer in silence, but silence is often the price of holding everyone else together. People might view it as a compliment that others don’t view them as fragile, but we all break. All of us. Not one among us is superhuman. I imagine that when it come to the bodies and hearts and souls and minds of black and brown women there is just the assumption that they, that we, can shoulder it all. Upon our backs nations have been built, literally and figuratively—we don’t burden, we bear it. I thought I said I wasn’t going here, but sometimes words leak like faucets.
Back to the point of this dusty space. I haven’t gone away. I’ve just thrown the bulk of my creative mind behind writing other things. I’m almost 70,000 words into a story that was supposed to be 12,000 words. I don’t think I can call it a story much longer. I’ve also managed to cobble together 21,000 words of that novel I’m writing. As you can imagine, that takes time. These things take attention away from other things. I haven’t stopped writing, just shifted the focus.
Have I been reading? I know you didn’t ask, but have I ever. I’ve been reading up a storm.—books, ebooks, audiobooks. I’ve been reading so much that I came close to buying a book light for late night reading because when you share a bed, you can’t just have the lights on at all hours. However, as the nights grow colder, you can’t just hop out of the warm bed to go read somewhere else. I’ve managed to eclipse last year’s total audiobook consumption in just a few months. It’s the driving to and from school. My deep dive into audiobooks has led me to my new old favorite thing—Michael Crouch.
His voice is sweet and warm like overnight French Toast. His voice is Brioche soaked in a cream and egg custard infused with cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla and just a hint of cardamom cooked in a lightly buttered cast iron skillet then topped with just a dollop of fresh whipped cream and berries. What I’m saying is I want him to be my boyfriend or just sit across from me in a dimly lit coffee shop on rainy autumn nights in Boston telling me stories. I’d be drinking Darjeeling tea and he’d feed my soul with his voice. I’ve fallen hard. So hard that even when I don’t enjoy the book as much as I was hoping, his voice, his performance makes it worth the time.
I’m not listening to anything at the moment. I’ll need to pick an audiobook for this week’s commute, but I have 17 hours until I need to think about that. I plan on finishing Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia today and starting I Hope You Get this Message by Farah Naz Rishi tomorrow. Since September, I’ve read:
The Beckoning Shadow by Katharyn Blair
Who Put This Song On by Morgan Parker
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
Slay by Brittney Morris
Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
The Zeppelin Deception Colleen Gleason
It’s a good list. Some hits. Some almost but not quite misses. And one this is so painful I hope all the characters die on the next page. I’ll leave you guessing about that one.
Well, I won’t say I’ll be back soon, but I will be back. Until then . . .