For twenty-one years, I could be found in the classroom teaching or in my office mentoring students, ten to twelve hours per day in the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma. It was my life. And truthfully, I think it was exactly what I was meant to do because I loved it. I found the interaction with those young learners energizing and fulfilling. I loved seeing their success when they entered the big wide world.
And yet, I wanted to do something else with my life. I always loved telling stories. In fact, I would tell bedtime stories to my daughters. I had an infinite supply, enough to last until they were five or six and no longer interested in ponies, butterflies, knights and ladies, clowns and dogs.
In the small spaces of spare time I found between teaching, grading, mentoring, writing syllabi and lesson plans, I wrote. Mostly fiction. Sometimes serious essays. Sometimes political pieces. I wanted to say at the end of the day “I have accomplished something.”
I retired from teaching in May 2018. Now I have time to write and I’m taking advantage of it. So far, I’ve written novellas and short stories. I have a novel in the works but it will take some time (with research) to finish. I’ll write on my blog every once in awhile and maybe write magazine articles just for fun.
Do I miss teaching? Sometimes when I’m running dry of ideas for a story. But at the end of a productive writing day, instead of grading / recording grades in an online learning system, I can definitely say I accomplished something. And maybe someone will actually read what I wrote!