Logarithms, adjectives, and big life transistions

Life is always changing but there are moments when the transitions become significant in ways that make us see them clearly, poignantly. I am experiencing such a moment, which explains why I haven’t been posting here as frequently as I would like.

One big change coming up for me is the NYC Teaching Fellows program I will be starting in June. Not only does this mean I will be moving the New York City in a few months, but it also means I will be starting a whole new job, as well as, another master’s program.

I have a folder of paper work that needs to be completed and sent to New York. I also am beginning to prepare for the LAST and CST Mathematics exams. The folks at NYC Teaching Fellows sent me some useful study material, pages of pre-tests and two study DVDs with almost 7 hours of math lectures.

The good news is that I’ve studied a lot of mathematics and all of the material is familiar to me. I remember logarithms and soh-cah-toa ?. The bad news is that mathematics is very, very hard. As I watch the DVD lectures and take notes, I realize the level of mental focus required and am amazed at what we human beings are capable of. It’s like a long, complicated poem that one devotes all their attention to for hours and hours. Yes, mathematics is beautiful.

The biggest challenge I see for myself now is balancing this new direction with my writing practice. How am I going to continue to write while I’m preparing to move and studying for two difficult exams?

I’m not sure but several writer friends of mine have talked about how their writing practice (and writing) actually improved when their lives got crowded with non-writing responsibilities (usually in the form of a baby). So maybe the same will be true for me. With less free time to write, my writing time will become more focused.

It’s been over a month since I even tried to write creatively. When I set my novel aside I guess I needed a breather. But yesterday I started back at it. It wasn’t anything big, just a couple of pages using a writing prompt from ModeRoom. These writing exercises are helpful in keeping my chops even though I’m not working on a specific project now.

And I’m reading, which is the other half of becoming a better writer. I’m about half way through two very different novels: The Girls in 3-B by Valerie Taylor and Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. I have been told so many times that a writer needs must re-read good books that I’m finally getting the message. So as soon as I finish one of these books I’m going to get back into The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. This time I’m going to take notes on everything from scene construction to character development and all the other writing techniques I can think to steal learn from Junot Diaz.

I’m also reading a couple of non-fiction books as well: Tour:Smart: And Break the Band by Martin Atkins and The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them) by Peter Sagal. Both of these are pretty light ? reading, which is nice since I seem to have a full plate.

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