Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Endings, Beginnings and Middles (written July 3)

I’m terrible at endings. The endings of my classes are the weakest part of my teaching, goodbyes are not my thing, and my transitions from one thing to another are not usually any kind of high point. The single exception is that the end of my workshops is a strong one, developed years and years and years ago. In consequence, I use it in every single event, pretty much no matter the topic. Stick with something that works, that’s my theory. I read once that when speaking, the parts that matter the most are the beginning, the peak point and the end; I have worked hard to hone the workshops, and wish I could bottle whatever it is about it that works so well. Still, getting back to the train of thought that started all of this, the ending this week [last week, by the time of posting] of my formal employment at the university after 36 years, as might have been predicted, had some rough edges. Some of those were mine, but for once, most of them were caused by others. Some left me feeling pretty bruised. That was maybe inevitable, and as it now looks as though most of the problematic issues will resolve, because I did a good job of responding. (This is an acknowledgement of some success at my goal of giving myself credit when due and feeling good about it.) Maybe I’m actually improving at endings? Still to be seen.

In the same space in which my work transition was playing out, we went to a wedding of a very happy young couple, in a ceremony and party that seemed entirely suited to them and their relationship, and that yet once again made clear to me how idiosyncratic many of our ideas are. It was an interesting thing to stop and contemplate how well our lives fit us and how comfortable we are in them, and yet how different they seem to be.

Now, we’re in our time together in France again, and it’s a life that fits us well. We’re good at middles, and this middle is an especially good one, notwithstanding the technical glitches associated with getting the internet back up and running here this year. My computer doesn’t deal gracefully with the heat and I wasted a lot of time before we figured out, once again, that some of the strange symptoms were probably heat-related. I am SO ready for Apple to upgrade that particular part of their line! The one dissonant note in all of this is that my main activity has been for many years to soak myself in reading things I’ve saved up over many months. Now that I’m mostly unable to read the way I always have, I’m trying to find new patterns and rhythms. While I know full well this is one of the good problems to have, it’s challenging me.

I’m giving myself a complete break until after the holiday: come Tuesday, my goal is to try to write for two hours a day and keep with up with email and other work in a similar time, and use all the other hours of the day to play and rest. How’s that for a great middle?

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