Wednesday 3 November 2010

I'm a writer not a teacher

I dreamt last night that I was still teaching. I’d made the decision to hand in my notice but had left it too late and would have to wait until the following term. I should (and in real life would) have been devastated but I wasn’t. In my dream I was worried about:
  • losing my identity
  • the absence of a daily routine
  • What would I say when people asked, “What job do you do?”
That third point is one that really hits home. People treated me differently when I said, "I'm a teacher." I get such varied and strange responses now when I say, “I’m a writer.” Why is that? I've been asked all of the following questions, some many times over.
  • “Why are you a writer?”
  • “How do you write a book?”
  • “What do you do with yourself at home all day?”
  • “Where do all your ideas come from?”
  • “Aren’t you ever going to do a real job again?”
You wouldn’t dream of asking a teacher questions like that. Why should writing be so different?

I've been a writer, not a teacher, for many years now and yet fragments of that dream won’t leave my head. It’s made me feel flat. I guess I miss the companionship of going to work and the rhythm of a working week, but I’m writing this with the radio on in the background. The London Underground is at a complete standstill due to strike action. There are severe hold ups on all roads in and around London, and even though I don’t, and never have, lived in London, it reminds me how lovely it is to get up and ‘go to work’ in my comfortable, warm home and if I need companionship I know I can chat with all of you, even if some of you live over ten thousand miles away... especially as some of you live over ten thousand miles away!

[Example of me chatting with people who live over ten thousand miles away!] One of the comments to my recent blog about bird feeding got me thinking about whether there are different varieties of birds in gardens around the world or do you all have sparrows, blue tits and pigeons like here in Leicester?

Talking of bird feeding, my good friend, Pippa Goodhart, popped round the other day. [You can find Pippa’s website here and the interview I had with her is here.] She's bought me a fabulous present, a super-gourmet bird feeder. It contains every nut and seed the local birds could possibly want and my Yew tree is now a regular pit stop for green finches, chaffinches and a beautiful thrush, as well as the usual flocks of tits and sparrows. It’s brilliant and I certainly wouldn’t be able to enjoy it if I had to dash off to school every day.

Rod update: Rod is home from hospital yet again. Hopefully he’s going to stay home this time. He’s certainly eating better and, although he’s very weak and suffering from flu and virus infections due to his reduced resistance, he’s starting to look more like my lovely husband again.