Well, boys and girls, it's official. I have writer's block. Yup, the bad kind. Not the if-I-just-do-a-few-writing-exercises-everything-will-be-fine kind. I am a bit of a mess lately, as was evidenced when last night, the discussion of the latest idea I had sent me into a fit of tears and left me angry with my boyfriend for reasons that are not his fault.
Why is all this happening? Well, the sad fact of the matter is, this is happening because of my job. I haven't talked about this online, because this is a public blog, and I was concerned that any initial reaction on my part to it could create further problems for me at work. But the dust seems to have settled a bit, so I feel okay about writing.
Some parents of my students went poking around on my website and seemed to get a little worried about the mention of Satanism in my bio, the pentagram on the front of Breathless, and the fact that like the third word of the manuscript is crotch. They called the school board. My principal discussed it with me and we decided the best course of action was to not discuss the website with students, refer them to the school website instead of mine, and I made a decision that while students can read outside books for extra credit, they could not read mine, because that would be unethical.
The thing about teaching is that it's a delicate balance. I've always tried to keep my personal life as separate from teaching as possible. After all, I've always been intensely worried about being able to control a classroom if they knew I drank an occasional beer in bar in town on the weekends. They'd never listen to me again!!
And now, with students coming up to me in the hallways and saying things like, "So I hear you're a Satanist," I'm beginning to feel like that thin line that is keeping everyone in line is about to snap. I hate it.
On the one hand, I don't want to not write what I write. But every time I have an idea, I keep thinking, "I can't post that on the internet. If they read that, they might think this about me."
What I need to do is somehow reconcile myself with my job. After all, writing is my hobby. It doesn't pay the bills. I need to continue teaching. It's a good job, and on most days I like it. But I've got to figure out how to be an effective teacher and keep writing. I can't be dodging questions like, "Do you think underage drinking is okay?" on a daily basis.
Anyway, until the paranoia fades, I can't promise I'll have anything new in the spring. I will be serializing Mischief in January. (with big warning signs saying that the book is intended for people 18 and older.)
As a final note, if you are a parent of one of my students and you're reading this blog, please believe that there is no part of me that in any way ever has wanted to damage your child. I only want my students to succeed. And I want them to learn to think. I think the only way they can do this is by being exposed to lots and lots of different ideas. Your child really can't be hurt by an idea. Or some words on a page. I swear. The actions your children take will be their own responsibility. And no book or website or teacher will ever force them to do something wrong. But the only way they're going to be able to determine right from wrong is if we teach them to think for themselves.