In my education career I was both a teacher of writing (forever grading writing prompts and giving feedback) and a writer (creating lessons for my classroom or programs or grants for my school or minutes for the School Improvement Team, or brochures to advertise something I was supporting ) , constantly writing, but not really owning it. What is my story? As a retired teacher I am now free to own it and have the time to claim it – not as easy as it sounds. The blank page looms.
Energized by the 2015 SCBWI conference in New York, I could hardly sit still on the train ride back to Rhode Island. I had attended the conference to learn about the industry of publishing children’s books and to search for my voice as a writer. I was not disappointed. I was riding Metro North, the one that stops at every town, heading to New Haven. Each announcement, “Next stop is Stamford, Westport, Darien,” was followed by the reminder, “Watch the Gap,” referring to that space between the train and the platform. It’s not a big gap, but if you’re not paying attention, as you disembark, it could be disastrous. As I am noting my thoughts about the conference and recalling conversations with new friends, I realized that command, “Watch the gap,” speaks to more than train passengers.
Life is filled with gaps as we transition from one place to another. Moving an abode is one of the most disconcerting gaps we ever experience, even if we initiated the move. There is always that span of time when you don’t know where anything is. Your belongings are en route or have just been dumped in your new place. Your bed is dismantled; everything you need is hiding in boxes. It can be quite unnerving, but one step at a time, you make sense of it, and order returns. You adapt.
Every life transition has its gap – the space between what was and what is. Sometimes the gap is easy to maneuver, like the gap between the train and the platform, but sometimes the gap is gaping, like the gap between jobs. Identifying and acknowledging the gap in a life transition is the first step to success, however you define it. Had I not been paying attention to my writing gap, when I retired, I would still be searching in the dark for my voice. At least now I have the SCBWI flashlight leading the way. My first blank page is filled.
Please visit my BLOG page for more ruminations about transitions and life.
"It's not, how do I fill my day, but how does my day fill me?" Copyright 2017. Etta Zasloff. firstname.lastname@example.org