Saturday, December 17, 2011

Down Time Approacheth ... in theory, anyway

No, it's true. The coming two weeks are much slower in terms of work. A break long in the coming and so needed.

I was talking about this concept of "break" with an interpreting friend recently. We decided after some discussion that sign language interpreters have a different vocabularly when it comes to ideas like "down time" or having a "break" or even, in my friend's case, "semi-retirement."

I think the definition for writers is similar.

Which is to say that having a break means you have a day or two where you don't have to get up with an alarm and rush to get ready to be somewhere or turn a piece in at a specific time. I was going to say "early" in terms of getting up or being at work or turning in a project. But that is subjective. For me, 9 AM is early; for two of my good friends, 9 AM is lunch break time or sleeping in. So the exact time doesn't matter. I think the time doesn't matter - it's being able to sleep until your body says "satisfied!" and you wake up and feel rested and restored.

It also may mean that a "day off" is 'only' interpreting a play. Or having a story due at midnight and you're half done so you can, say, for example, check Facebook and write a blog post.


It may also mean, as an interpreter and a writer that a break in either area is filled by the other. So it's a break-no-break. Or maybe a break-from-the-dominant-norm. That's it. I think.

So. For me. Right now. Here is my "break" definition:
* I'm not teaching for 3 weeks.
..... I posted students' grades last night; no more grading for 3 weeks
..... I've contacted potential internship sites this week. Will resume placement work January 2nd.
* I'm only working 3 days each of the next 2 weeks, with 4 days off.
* Writing? No break! Hurray. I signed up for Ariel's Winter Writing Intensive: 12 new stories in 14 days, and giving feedback.

So, like I mentioned ... a "break" in interpreting work is being taken over by writing. As it should be. And those four days a week off, I can be writing at home in my pajamas until 8 PM if I want, or bundle up in layers to walk in the cold December sun to the local coffee shop with my laptop (or notebook and pen if I really want to rebel). Or I can sleep. Wake up. Go for a swim or a walk. And write at my leisure - as long as I get the assignment and feedback done within the day.

This is a good break. My mind and my body are happy with this decision. Writing because I want to. Writing more because I can.

In that week before the next term starts, I will have to add back in my teaching duties. And the Intensive will be over but there will be a Wayward Writers assignment. And when the Wayward assignment is done, I will be starting a writing journey with Inga Muscio and her process of "decerebralization" for writing. Awesome.

Some people have smiled when I've talked about my winter "break." Some nod knowingly.

What I know in this moment is that I feel happy. And I have a rough draft of today's Intensive writing done - except it's not the assignment! It's the background story to the story I was planning to write and it's already 15 words over the limit.

Oh! I know - I will use this background story toward this week's Wayward Writers assignment and pull pieces of it as memory blips when I get to the actual Intensive story. Yes. That's it. It really does fit for both assignments - the backstory I've written, with additional information, is about the regular assignment prompt; and I guess I needed to get this out to find my way to the Intensive story I wanted to write.

I love the creative process. And I love it so much more when I have the mental and emotional space to explore and let it develop.

Breathing. Right now I'm grateful for time and space and breath.

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