Therapy


The only time I’ve ever gone in for counseling was when my father was dying for cancer. Half a dozen trips to the psychologist, and I realized that the best therapy was simply writing about it. I started writing short stories as therapy and starting getting them published as a side benefit.

But what do you do when you are trying to get your mind right for writing? What’s the therapy for that? Those of us who have been writing for a long time have each carved out our own paths, what works for us. Today’s a therapy day for me.

I was hoping that yesterday would mark the official close of a very tough school year for me. I met with Charles Lewis, our IT director, and told him that now that our new website was launched, I had been given permission to step down as webmaster for the University. He took it in stride, and I felt better. That was followed by lunch at Terra Cafe in Fort Worth, a thank you from the school for the team that put the website together.

Yesterday was also my last final exam, and marked the deadline extension for two students and their final papers. Unfortunately, neither one turned in their papers as of this morning, which very likely will mean they will fail those classes. I really hate failing students, so I am putting off doing my grades until this evening, wishing that at least one paper will show up in my inbox today, but I am not holding out a lot of hope.

Add to that the fact that I caught a student cheating on that last final exam I gave yesterday, and the day was less than ideal. I have spent the last few days editing 10-page final Media Ethics papers from my seniors, and have really been underwhelmed not just by their ability to write, but just by their ability to follow directions. Amazing that students can get to the end of college and still not know how to follow explicit instructions.

Sometimes I feel like my age is just catching up with me, and I am becoming the curmudgeon of the department. But my biggest concern today is stepping away from being a teacher and once again becoming the writer. My projects have been put on hold for too long because of a full teaching load and the website project, but now I want to get started again.

I see my brain as a cluttered desk. When I have a major project I have to deal with, I try to clear the desk off, either by getting all the little projects completed and off my to-do list first, or if that’s not possible, simply opening a drawer and dumping them in. I had hoped to turn in grades today, my effort to clear the desk, but that didn’t happen yet. But I was able to do the next best thing.

I mowed the lawn. Not because it needed it, but because I needed it. I’m convinced it’s a left brain-right brain thing. When you have clutter, get the logical side occupied with some mundane task, such as mowing the lawn, folding clothes, washing dishes, and it frees up the emotional-creative side to start working. It almost always works for me. I actually decided to only mow my front lawn today and save my back lawn for tomorrow. That way I can benefit from the therapy tomorrow as well.

Does that mean I will be jumping into page 1 now? No. I am still sorting through storylines. I have given myself til Monday to see if I can figure out Tesla’s Ghost a little better before it officially becomes a book. But I promise to take you along for the ride.

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One thought on “Therapy

  1. “I see my brain as a cluttered desk.” Great analogy. I feel that way too when not able to tend to writing projects I have in mind or in progress. I have a full load of motherhood right now that keeps my brain pretty cluttered…and it’s a beautiful life…but I always look forward to the times I can get a babysitter (or my husband) to let me “unclutter my desk” a bit. Before kids, my mundane “therapy” was going running. I found the repetitive nature to be very helpful in rejuvenating my creativity. Best of luck to you!

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