Apr 25 2016

So You Don’t Want to Teach Anymore? Here Are 7 Guesses Why

So You Don’t Want to Teach Anymore? Here Are 7 Guesses Why

Today marks exactly one year without teaching. To acknowledge the occasion, let me take you behind the scenes of my blog and share the number one phrase — BY FAR — that brings people to my site:

I don’t want to teach anymore.

i don't want to teach anymore top searches

The proof. These phrases crop up every single time my “Top Searches” are refreshed.

A plethora of versions abound. Done being a teacher. Don’t want to teach. I can’t teach anymore. People punch these things into Google, and Google sends them here, because algorithms are strange, enigmatic beasts that I will never fully understand. These stressed-to-the-max, ready-to-quit educators keep finding their way to my blog, and it’s sort of weird because I’ve never written a post about that.

It’s time. It’s time to write a post about that. Continue reading

Mar 31 2016

This Is My Poem About Leaves

This Is My Poem About Leaves

Actually, this is the story of how Gwyneth Paltrow un-paralyzed me.

She doesn’t know this story. We are not friends. I mean, no doubt she’s perfectly pleasant — although people sure love to hate her for allegedly being an out-of-touch wackadoo — but I, for one, am grateful for her accidental guidance toward a ridiculous epiphany.

At the writers conference last month, I met with one particular professional who wanted to know if I had a “platform.”

“Well,” I said, “I have a blog.” I knew this was a semi-right answer because the conference offered dozens of sessions about how it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to have an online presence.

“How many people read it?”

“Some, actually,” I replied. “Some people. I mean, it’s not crazy. But it’s definitely more than, you know, my parents.”

“Mm-hmm. And what’s it about?” Continue reading

Jan 19 2016

The Beauty of Being Lost

The Beauty of Being Lost

This morning there were errands.

Millions and millions of tiny to-dos, buzzing around my head like gnats. Get the dog washed. Pick up diapers. Go to the post office. Stop at the bank. And the baby was with me and he was starting to fuss in the backseat and I knew he would need to eat in the next ten minutes, which reminded me: this nursing mama still hadn’t had breakfast. I was famished. I pulled over to Google Map a McDonald’s.

And I thought, This is my life now, I guess. Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself, and it is so discouraging. One year ago, in this precise week of January, I was wearing a dress (and boots, of course, because Michigan) and preparing midterms for my students. I was surrounded by dozens of wonderful colleagues and hundreds of hilarious kids, and I had a bell-to-bell job to do.

This morning, I was in leggings and a spit-up-encrusted nursing tank, ticking mundane tasks from a checklist, totally alone in the world car save for my hungry baby behind me. This is my life now. Where was I? Not quite a writer. Definitely not a teacher. For the ninety-seventh time since we moved to California, I felt lost. Continue reading

Dec 27 2015

One More Sunday By Melissa Bowers and Joseph Booth

<span class="entry-title-primary">One More Sunday</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">By Melissa Bowers and Joseph Booth</span>

“Did I ever tell you the one about the skeleton key?” he asked, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands.

Yes, Papa,” I said.

If Grandma was the giving, earnest matriarch of the family, Papa was the storyteller. His job as a private investigator amassed him many a tale, starring everything from cheating spouses to ghosts. He cheerfully, heartily embellished until the line was blurred: in true Big Fish style, we sometimes wondered which of his fantastical anecdotes was rooted in reality.
Continue reading

Jul 27 2015

California Drivin’ ...on such a summer's dayyy...

<span class="entry-title-primary">California Drivin’</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">...on such a summer's dayyy...</span>

If you’re traveling to Ireland from America, you probably expect to alter your driving strategy to match the whole left-side-of-the-road thing. But I kind of figured that if you stayed within the U.S., driving would more or less stay the same.

Not so, as it turns out. At least not for me. Driving in California has been more of an adjustment than I anticipated. I’ve mentioned the U-turns and the cyclists — which were obvious from minute one — but there have been a whole host of new surprises now that we’ve been out here for a few weeks. Here are eight things this Michigander is still getting used to: Continue reading