So, a weird, very pleasant thing happened today. Even though I feel nowhere near 100%, I’ve gone back to work. For those of you who don’t know, I teach 9th, and 12th grade at a small, private high school in SoCal, and I love my job. I can’t imagine being away from my kids for longer than a week, and teaching is just as integral to my being as writing. For me, anyway, they are very much two sides of the same coin.
But I digress 🙂
Today after I finished teaching for the day, I went back to my office to do some grading and catch up on email. The minute I walked in, my office mate, Erin, who I love dearly, turned to me with an excited look in her eyes, and said, “Oh my God, I have the funniest thing to tell you!” A little about Erin: she is kind, generous, and so amazingly on top of her game that she makes Martha Stewart look disorganized. Basically, she’s everything I want to be when I grow up, and there’s no one at school who I admire more. Erin sometimes helps out with interviewing prospective students (you know, because she has SO much extra time in her 10 hour work days!) and she had met with a candidate earlier in the day. Apparently they were in the process of chit-chatting, talking about reading and literature, when Erin asked the girl what her favorite books were. What happened next is the kind of serendipitous craziness that usually only happens in books–or episodes of The Hills. The girl turned to Erin and mentioned that she and her friends really loved this book, THE ELITE, and that she was fascinated by novels about NY in particular.
Now, this prospective student had NO IDEA that I taught there, or that she was, essentially, sitting inches away from my desk. Erin turned to our collective bookshelves, where copies of my books are prominently displayed, and gestured to my copy of THE ELITE. The girl nodded, agreeing that it was indeed, the book she had been referring to. “No, you don’t understand,” Erin said (or something to that effect–I wasn’t there!), “she teaches here! That’s her desk!” The girl proceeded to freak out, which I guess was probably pretty funny for Erin, as I’m sure that most people at my school see me as just another teacher–which is just fine with me. Hell, half of the time I even forget that I’m a writer when I’m at work!
Anyway, it made me feel ridiculously happy, eve though I didn’t get to meet this girl, that I had written something that had touched her, that she could count among her favorite books. My life is so weirdly compartmentalized that often times I really do forget that I have this whole other career as an author. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading anything I write at all. I feel so lucky to have the life that I do, to be able to reach Young Adult readers, and hopefully, entertain them for a few short hours while simultaneously spending every day with my students, reading and discussing literature.
Even though I’m tired, headachey, and still suffering from the brain fuzzies, it’s moments like these that make me proud of what I’ve accomplished, that make me see my work AS an accomplishment–and fill me with excitement about what waits in the future.