I retired from teaching this week. Or, I just left the profession. Or, I became a writer (although that was a part time thing before). Any way you slice it, I won’t be in a classroom in the fall for the first time in a long time. With my years in post graduate study and at work teaching in mind, my wife used to say that I knew more things that didn’t get me rich than anyone she had ever known. She got that line from a Spenser novel and until the latter part of my career, she was right.
Looking back as one is want to do on these occasions, I realize that I have been employed, like many of our generation, part or full time in one place or another since I was 13. This includes working at museums, malls, restaurants, bars, golf courses, banks, libraries, on driveways, and in hockey arenas, on football fields, in homes and backyards. I have been paid for writing senior law course curriculum by the province and the board, for company analysis by an investment firm and even did a little consulting. I have made far less than minimum wage up to a hundred dollars an hour.
But teaching has been my real career up until now, and I have spent the last thirty years answering the bell as an educator and coach. It was quite a ride. Things have changed a lot, and I may write more about that later, but I’d say the kids really haven’t. (When they put their damn phones down. But that is another argument. One in which the studies support our conviction that they are electronic cocaine.)
They say you know when you are done with this job. That rings true. It’s a weird feeling but a good one. Fortunately for me freedom of a sort beckons and I am anxious for it. On to something else. And hopefully that is writing, and selling, my novels and short stories. (I may even take a crack at a screenplay.)
I’m a long way from breaking even with the first three books. I am not ignorant of the fact that most artists of any type are doing something else to put food on the table. But all those years of having big chunks of my income taken for my pension are making a real attempt possible. There will be time to learn how to be a better and more prolific writer, and then market, advertise and sell the work that gets done. We (and more specifically you!) shall see, I guess.
Sorry this is late today, a lot going on. Here’s some more prose and have a great week!
He pressed his hands against his ears and closed his eyes. The ringing grew and grew until it was all he could sense. It was like a tornado swirling around him. Then he pulled his hands away. He heard a slight pop as he did. He hummed a bit to himself. Tunelessly. He walked to the door, pulled it open and stepped into the dark, cool interior. He sat on his bed. His head buzzed. He lay carefully on the small pillow. His brain still rang with one sound.
He thought of the women who had lain beside him. He thought of the men he had fought. He thought of the fearful faces of the people he would see tomorrow. He thought of the blow that changed his life. Strange that he remembered it all, to the last moment of consciousness. That fist exploding into his face, and then darkness, pain and loss. That man. The ringing noise in his head grew louder.