The Squirrels in My Head

The squirrels in my head — my name for those thoughts that go round and round and don’t stay still — are running rampant right now. The Hubby’s dead to the world — sleeping soundly. Lucky him — insomnia’s not something that’s a regular thing for him.

Nothing major — just one of those things. It’s funny — me being a doctoral student has occupied my life for the past seven years so that, now that it’s over, I feel oddly hollow. It’s like being on a long, stressful, and yet amazing journey, and now that I’m at my destination, I find that I don’t have an itinerary of what to do next.

Sure, I’m plannning of going to Georgia in the next few weeks. But that’s more like tying up the last loose ends. And I’ll be starting my new fulltime job in the fall. But it’s in the same career — community college teaching in English — and even in the same community college district. Then there’s my martial arts training. But that’s also part of a continuing, on-going process that’s become a life routine, like waking up in the morning and brushing one’s teeth.

What I mean by all this is wondering what the next major project is. My job doesn’t require me to engage in the “publish or perish” of the four-year university, tenure-track, and so getting my dissertation published would be cool but not vital for my professional health. And, honestly speaking, after this jaunt to Georgia, and what tinkering I will do and what publishing submission I will undertake, I’m pretty much done with Flannery O’Connor. She’s been an awesome subject to study and think for these past three years. But my personal and professional interests have moved on.

On to what?

I recall my mother, hugging me after I gave my post-defense lecture, and saying, “Now, you’re next degree will be a B-A-B-Y, right?” And, believe me, that is in my forebrain. Lots of women in academia often choose not to have children so that they can the freedom to pursue their professional lives. I can see the temptation to do that. But I’m old-fashioned, and, as much as I’d like to live forever, I know that I won’t. My children, after I’m gone, will be the true testament of my existence — more so than any paper I’ve written, any class I’ve taught. I don’t think that’s selfish — at least, I hope it isn’t.

Then there’s the fiction and poetry that I’ve been working off and on over the years. My MA thesis was in Creative Writing, and even though I haven’t touched a novel or short story in months, I’ve been writing poetry. Nothing overly stylistic, and certainly not the customary forms. Just freewriting, in verse. Jagged bouts of almost-therapeutic outpourings of certain squirrels that won’t lie down, that won’t go away. I’m a writer. I need to write. But I also desire other people to see my writing, even if I’m not paid for it. Voyeuristic? Maybe. I don’t know. Just another thought.

Too many squirrels, and they’re fiddling with the radio dial in my head. Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” Peal Jam’s “Black.” Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them.” RunRig’s “Pog Aon Oidhche Earraich.”

I got martial arts training early tomorrow morning, so I’ll need some shut-eye. Time to feed the squirrels warm milk. If that don’t work, there’s always Benadryl. ::grin::


About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
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