People keep asking me what I'm going to do in Pensacola. It's a fair question. After all, we move there in just over a month. (Yikes.) Will I get a teaching job?
I explain that no, I won't be looking for a teaching job since we'll only be there for six months. I tell them that I plan to pick up some tutoring kids. Maybe I'll do some subbing or temp work. All of this is true, but isn't the whole truth.
When we first started discussing Raj's options for the next couple of years, it was assumed that if he got accepted to flight school in Pensacola, I'd stay here and teach first semester. Then, when he started his assignment, I'd join him. The real discussions began when Raj was accepted to everything (rockstar) and was deciding between flight school or going directly to work with Marines. My input was that he should pick whichever he preferred, but I'd rather we not spend six months apart.
We talked about the possibility of me going with him and the reality of my limited employment options, given the short time we'd be there. And then I asked what Raj would think about me taking six months to try writing full-time. I'd have a chance to see whether, given the time and the freedom, I could get a lot done. If it turned out that I accomplished nothing with all of that time, I'd sign up to sub or temp. Raj said that was fine with him.
So that's the plan. And I'm excited about it. I'm getting the itch to start creating again now that school is winding down. It's a desire I haven't felt much of in quite a while, mostly I'm sure because I create plenty during the school year. As in, pretty much everything I use with kids. I teach a remedial class. There is no curriculum for high school reading. And the whole point of having such small classes here is so everything can be individualized for the needs of each particular student. I take that seriously. Meaning that I'm basically writing materials for six different classes, five days a week. When I get home, I don't want to create anymore, just consume. I'm looking forward to writing something that isn't meant to teach or assess.
But of course it's pretty scary as well. What if it turns out that, given all of that time, I just waste it and don't write anything anyway? What if I write and it's bad? And after August, when my teaching salary stops coming, I'll basically be a financial drain. I do intend to do some tutoring, but that's hardly going to equal pulling my financial weight. Hopefully, the writing will turn into money eventually, but that's not guaranteed and even if I did get a contract, wouldn't materialize for quite a while.
Which is part of why I don't tell people. It feels like I'd be saying that now that I landed a doctor, I intend to be a kept woman. Who needs to work? And it just sounds so flaky. I'm going to write! There's a whole Twitter account devoted to making fun of people who include the phrase "working on my novel" in tweets. Because, unless you're published already, there doesn't seem to be a way to say that you're working on your novel without sounding like a jackass.
Anne Lamott, in her own tweets, has taken to calling it "scribbling" rather than "writing" as a way to demystify the process, to free the rest of us from the notion that published authors write pristine first drafts. Maybe I should go with that when people ask me what I'll do in Florida. At least it sounds less pretentious.
So there you have it. In Florida, I'm going to scribble. And tutor and collect seashells for wedding centerpieces. But mostly scribble.