I've had a rough spring, for oh, so many reasons.
But it's all over. Sure I got a few more sets of papers to grade, and two more sets of final exams... but my classes are fine. Good students, people trying hard, a bunch of people who are really getting into literature. And that makes me happy, willing to grade whatever comes my way.
That's not why I'm better.
In reality, nothing has changed. Only my mindset. I'm doing what I love, and I'm making time every single day to do more of it. A friend of mine here, walking one morning with me, was listening to me telling her (during spring break), "I'm mostly done with my grading, and then I just have my writing and painting."
She corrected me, called me on the destructive word I had used: Just.
Thank God she's an artist. She understands too well how easy it is for artists to negate their abilities, to lessen what they do, to push it off into the corner because it isn't work.
But it is. It's my work. It's what I do. It's real, and tangible, a mixture of artistic ability, perception, insight, and meaning. It's hard to do. It takes practice, revision, lots and lots of work.
She made me say it: "I am a writer."
That statement has made all the difference. I'm writing now. I'm starting on one book, revising, and then I'm attacking the next one. I'm going to send one off--time after time--while I revise the next one, and the next. I have four novels, each one of them with some kernel of truth worth working on.
So I will work. And work. I can't promise to love every minute of it, but I love what I do.
I am a writer.