Saturday, February 19, 2011

Would you like some cheese with that...



Warning: The following post is extremely whiny. If you are a "pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-and-stop-whining sort of person, this post will merely irritate and enrage you.

I haven't written a poem in three months. My Alvinia short story is stalled. My Marilyn Marlin book will probably never see the light of day. This blog is supposed to be about trying to get published, and the various wacky adventures I face along the way...but I haven't submitted anything for publication in like 4 months. I've got nothing.

Do you think creativity is a finite resource? I think it must be. I only have so much of it, and I spend way too much on things that don't really matter (cough...yearbook...cough) and by the end of a long day teaching kids, directing a play, and creating this frustrating yearbook...I don't have much to write about.

I feel like I'm betraying myself by not putting my time and creativity towards writing, and putting it, instead, into parts of a job that quite frankly don't matter. There are people who love yearbooks. My cousin, Jennifer Pfeffer adores yearbooks...and she is a yearbook goddess. She loves them. Good for her. She needs to come take over my class. She's welcome to it.
This is my cousin, the yearbook goddess's blog: http://jenniferpfeffer.blogspot.com She's having a baby...so her blog is probably a lot more fun to read than this one, so just go on over. Click on the link...don't even bother to finish this whine-fest. It's fine...I understand. Her yearbooks are way better than mine anyway. And she like most of my friends and relatives, gets to have a baby, unlike me, whose biological clock is going cucko and who will probably never get to have my own children at the current rate our plan is going.


So why am I spending hours moving tiny little pictures around on a freaking computer screen to create a book that is going to sit on somebody's shelf for the next few years and collect dust instead of working on my own writing or my own things that I care about?

You may be asking yourself, "Aren't the kids supposed to be working on the yearbook?" Yes, yes they are...in a perfect world, where I know what I'm doing and can teach them how to be independent. So, yes, if I were a good yearbook teacher, the kids would be doing all the work...but I'm not.

I don't how to do this stuff, much less teach them. And I don't want to learn. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of every child in the school and their parents wanting something from me and pitching a fit when they don't get it. I'm sick of having no power over this book. My principal made many decisions about how this book was supposed to be, and now she's gone, and I'm stuck with her choices, and I don't like them.

So why am I not using my precious resources on writing? Or how about this- why I am I not spending 3 hours a day planning lessons for my 9th grade English classes, who desperately need to learn how to read, instead of working on this insipid picture book?

So what do you think? Is Creativity finite or limitless? How do I keep enough for me by the end of the day?

This is the end of my rant. Thanks for bearing with me. We will soon return to our regularly scheduled, less-whiny blog posts as soon as I finish this bloody yearbook.

Image Credit: http://www.linthesoutheast.com/2009/11/distinctly-american-holiday-of.html

8 comments:

  1. I say, aim to fail so they make another teacher do it next year. Unreliable people get assigned less responsibility. And you are tenured, so it is all good. In fact, I think you should take this time to support your fellow teachers in Wisconsin who are all striking. Leave right before the yearbook is due, and come back right after it is too late to do anything about it. This is why they pay me the big bucks, to find solutions for people. If your administration gets upset, tell them your therapist told you to.

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  2. I would not call creativity a finite resource, but it's certainly one that can be tapped out from time to time. It needs a) nurturing and b) time to recharge. If you're burning yourself out on one project (the yearbook), then you don't have any mental gas left to fire up the writing.

    Don't stress about the writing. If the yearboook is stressful - and it sounds like it is - I think it's okay to stress about that. But take solace the writing will still be there when it's all done.

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  3. It takes a lot of creativity to put together a High School Play... blocking, characterizations, set work etc. You only have so much creativity to express at any one time.
    It takes time and energy to learn a new craft such as "Yearbooking".
    I wouldn't berate yourself in any way. You are demonstrating an amazing ability to learn, work, and be creative through your High School work.

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  4. I think you're a little too hard on yourself. Also, I don't believe creativity is a finite resource. I don't even really even think of it as a resource. I think of it more as something you do, something that happens, rather than a well you draw from. It's like...a batter connecting with a pitch. Some days you're at the top of your game, and some days you can't seem to hit anything. But even in their darkest slump, a ball player wouldn't wonder whether they had "run out of hits". When people start to think they've "written themselves out" or they've run out of ideas, I think that's mostly out old friend, self-doubt, rearing its ugly head.

    Keep practicing your swing. Another hitting streak is right around the corner.

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  5. I agree with Bryan and others. It will come back and you just keep trying. Sometimes are more fertile than others. I also think you are still using your creativity to express your frustration that is still creating. You are expressing yourself. Expression is not all nobility and imagination sometimes it comes out more like anger and mud. Love you Sandy. Mamasita

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  6. Ha Ha. Global STOP whining. Finding that was creative.

    Don't forget you are trying to do all this living in a teensy-weensey trailer! Thats got to stress you out. Is there even a place with a table in there to sit and write?

    Plus you are doing the on-line sales thing.


    Paul Simon said the music he created that he liked the most and thought was his best he couldn't sell. Wasn't as popular as his "fluff".

    This yearbook thing sounds like it is sucking the life out of you. It is soooo draining to force ourselves to do something we don't enjoy. When that sword of the yearbook is no longer hanging over your head the light will be brighter.

    Tis a mere bump in the road oh weary traveler. Trudge on though your burden seems heavy and you feel like your creativity is waning. When the yearbook weight is lifted your step will be lighter. The verdant field of your mind is merely fallow for a season. Like the daffodil it has life still in it that is yearning to once again appear.

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  7. Creativity is most certainly boxed in or shoved out or overwhelmed by way too many things. I hear you.

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  8. Thank you, thank you, thanks to all of you! I certainly needed a boost after we failed to meet our last yearbook deadline. So thank you to all of you for the encouragement.

    Carolyn- I like the incompetence plan. I've never tried that before. Who knows, I might like it.

    E.D.- I like what you said about time to recharge, I forget that I always feel this way come February and it only takes me a few weeks to get out of it.

    Brian- I will try not to let the self-doubt win. :)

    Mamasita- I hadn't seen ranting as a creative outlet, but I guess you're right. You can tell I'm really ticked off when I cuss in British.

    Aunt Susie- thanks for the comment. I love your poetic writing. "The Verdant Field..."

    Sharkbytes- thanks for understanding.

    This week is going to be a better week. I can tell.

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