Friday, August 14, 2009


There is more than one way to go home again. You can, as has been mentioned elsewhere by me, literally go home again. If you have understanding parents you might even be able to move in again, though that isn't recommended. (Also helps if you're on speaking terms with your parents and can stand to be in the same house with them when there isn't turkey, shiny presents, and copious amounts of alcohol involved. Even then, the relationship wears thin eventually.) Home is also a state of mind, however, and there are other instances when that feeling of being where you belong - which is what home is, at least to me - is so strong that you have that moment of literally stopping and recognizing how very much "at home" you are in that situation.

This was brought home to me (if I may mildly mix my metaphors) early this week when I walked into a local school looking for work as a substitute teacher. I didn't get the work, yet, but even though school isn't officially in session yet there was plenty of activity. Between the feel of being in a school again, and the sights and sounds that went with that, I realized how much I miss being in a classroom. It's been three years since I last taught a regular class, and being out of work and in a market where there's little else available, I've been kicking around getting back into teaching.

Within a minute of walking through the main doors, I knew I'd made the right decision. I had that sense of coming home, to a place where I belonged.

I get that from writing, too, especially if I've been away from it for a bit. There is that sense of being where I belong, only it's a much more ephemeral space - being primarily somewhere between my head, my fingers, and the keyboard. It was most profound when I started working on THE novel - that one work I think every writer has at some point. The one that's never quite finished, always being reworked, yet that can't ever quite be put down. (If you've never seen the film "Wonder Boys" I recommend it, if for no other reason than it captures the ethos of that last sentence beautifully.) It had been THE novel on my desk, so to speak, for almost fifteen years. Mostly gathering dust. And when I finally sat down to work on it again, to really work on it - so that it is, finally, finished and I can move on to the next one - there was that sense again of being where I belong.

Neither place pays the bills very well at the moment, which is one of the reasons I am pursuing teaching again. But I think even when I sell that book, I'd like to keep teaching. If it's the only book I ever sell, I can become the classic and cliched writing professor. The bitter one that everyone hates. Though I'd rather be the wildly successful one that everyone wants to take.


Kmcelhinny said...

It's always nice to be reminded of things and places that make you feel more comfortable just by gracing your presence with it.

Especially if you don't know it. It's always a nice surprise when you find that feeling again.

Good reminder, and good post.

Damien Grintalis said...

Very poetic words. I think many people define home as simply the walls which surround them. I wish you the best of luck, with both your teaching and writing.