Looking over my last year of posts, I realize I've been writing about shifting, change, new directions... I had no idea what was going to change or shift but I knew something was clearly on the horizon.
Now I know.
I start teaching a writing class at Berklee College of Music on Monday. Yes, even musicians need to be able to write. Berklee has come a long, long way from a performance only, trade school to a real liberal arts college. I'm honored to be a part of it.
Yesterday, I went to get my ID, my keys, my software training. By the end of the day, I realized this was a perfect fit for me.
I hope it is for Berklee.
I love working with kids. I know, I know, they are young adults but I'm old so I can say kids. My mother called people ten years older than me kids and I realize the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
It really doesn't. See, my mother was a teacher for 25 years. She taught pre-school when it was called nursery school and considered a luxury. She believed kids needed stimulation, engagement, colors, songs, books at three and four years old. She complained as she got older about all the bending over and getting up off the floor but she did love it.
How many people remember their nursery school teachers? I do because... well... it was my mother. In a bizarre set of circumstances, my sister had a paralegal from a Boston firm bring paperwork to her- it was prior to her surgery last fall and she was not well enough to travel. The paralegal looked at her last name and said... are you from Rochester? My sister said yes.
You related to Anne Whitman?
She was my mother.
She was my nursery school teacher. And the young woman beamed and talked lovingly about our mom. My sister smiled politely.
We've learned to do that with people who adored our mother. Truth is, she was an amazing teacher that left a great mark on many young kids. Many.
When I was first approached about the teaching gig, I was certain without a masters degree, I wouldn't have a chance at the position. I also knew I would be great at it. I've been writing since I was 9 years old. When I was 14, I wrote a murder mystery.
Ok, it was only about five pages but that seemed like a full length novel at the time. I remember wanting to get a Sherlock Holmes style pipe to clench in my teeth while I typed.
My mother said no. I settled for a plastic pipe you blew bubbles out of which is why I probably only lasted five pages.
I love to write. And I hate it. Over the years, I've learned much about the process, the craft and what power words can have on an audience. More than that, it's an opportunity to give back and to inspire. My third grade teacher told me I was exceptional, giving me pride, my eleventh grade teacher told me to read more to be even better, giving me a goal, and my writing coach of many years ultimately called me a peer, giving me permission to call myself a writer.
I only wish my mother were still alive to hear the news. After all these years of trying this and that, working for a big corporation, an investment firm, software companies, even the fish market, I believe I've found what will fit.
I know she would be proud.
It is time. I've known it, felt it, been consumed by what it could be, this change. A day before I was called about the job? I sat with a friend and said, teaching. I've thought about a lot of different options, including running for public office, and ultimately? I want something fulfilling that doesn't require me to give away my soul in order to be successful. I wanted to feed it.
Wish me luck.
Somewhere? If there is a somewhere after we die? I know my mother is smiling because this apple? Truly didn't fall too far from the tree.