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Thursday, November 20, 2008


I suppose it is impossible to hold onto the refreshed, I’ve-just-had-a-vacation feeling for very long once you are home and have stepped again into the day-to-day responsibilities of work and family and life.

A few days ago I slipped on my running shoes and I noticed that they were still caked with the fine sand and limestone of Turks and Caicos. D and I ran only once while we were on vacation, down the pale curve of the road behind the villa, a salt marsh on one side of us, the ocean on the other side. It was amazing, but it was also very hot, and my face was flushed for hours afterward. As I headed out the door the other day, it was freezing. I wore layers of clothing, and with each step, I could feel that sandy limestone give way to the dark, fertile soil of the Mississippi River basin.

I love Minnesota, I do. But since we have been back from the Caribbean, my body has revolted. Everything—my sinuses, my skin, my sense of well-being—seem to be rebelling. Last night D and I were sitting on the couch under a blanket and he said, “It’s a little ridiculous how much I think about our vacation, how much I miss it.”

Me too. I guess I need to try harder to find balance and time to relax here in the Twin Cities. But realistically, when would I relax? My days are carefully mapped out: today I’ll write for 25 minutes at the coffee shop, then I’ll begin reading student essays. When I get home, I’ll feed Zoë and hopefully she’ll sleep for an hour so I can continue my class prep. Then D will come home early and he’ll watch Zoë as I teach, etc. etc. On the days Zoë doesn’t sleep, however, I’m screwed, and have to stay up late to finish my work. But I’m still so tired (re-entry? trying to fight off a cold?) that it’s difficult for me to make it to 9 p.m.

I remind myself that I would eventually get bored if I spent my days lounging in the sun and swimming in warm water. (Wouldn’t I?)

I would miss teaching, certainly. I love thinking about narrative arcs and narrative urgency. I love my students. I love to watch as they make discoveries after laying themselves bare on the page. My classes this fall are especially rewarding, and I don’t know if this is because I’m more focused—I don’t have my communications job to distract me anymore—or if it’s because the make-up of personalities in each class is just right. Regardless, I feel totally at home in the classroom and invigorated after each class.

This year’s Mother Words reading will feature the writing of my very talented students, past and present. I want to invite all of you local folks to come and be inspired:

What: Mother Words reading
When: Wednesday, December 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Yellow Tree Theatre, Osseo, MN

I’ll post directions as the date approaches, and I do hope I’ll see some of you there. In the meantime, maybe I should get one of those sun-lamps. Then for a few minutes a day I could pretend we live somewhere warm.


Andria said...

Oh, yes. Imagine how AWFUL it would be if we lived where it was sunny all year long. Imagine how SICK we would get of those white sand beaches, and people with beautiful accents. I'm feeling disgusted having thought about it for two minutes already. ;)

But the world would lose something if YOU weren't teaching. I know what an awesome teacher you are! Wish I could stop in at the Mother Words reading!

Then again..."MotherWords, Turks and Caicos?" Think on it...

Ines said...

I would very much like to be able to attend this event, Kate. I am sorry you are having a hard time re-adjusting. Perhaps in spirit I can be there? warmly, ia

Kara said...

I have a feeling once we return from Florida I'll be feeling your pain. Oh, to wear shorts again. Oh, to have some moisture in the air so I don't wake with a sore throat every morning. Oh, to leave the routine behind for a few days... but one thing I know I'll look forward to is seeing you in class Monday night!