Je suis fatigue.

When I was in high school, I took a French language class. I didn’t do well; my brain found it too confusing, which is odd since I easily got an A in Japanese when I went to college.  But that’s not the point of this story.

The class used a series of immersive videos called French in Action to help teach the class.  In one of them, an old woman tells her age, and then says “Je suis fatigue” (I am tired) in a tone that implies it isn’t about being sleepy, but that she is very tired of life.  That phrase, as she said it, and her face, have stuck with me for 27 years now.

Je suis fatigue.  I am so very tired.

I am tired of being savaged in the press–not me personally, but my profession.  I am tired of the divisive nature of American politics, in which people who disagree with you aren’t just in disagreement, but Evil People Out To Destroy Us.

I am tired of students who treat me like their servant, who seem to think that being a teacher is the lowest form of work in the world, and that disrespecting me while demanding an unreasonable amount of respect for themselves is the way to do well in the world.  I am tired of my students making it clear that they do not care about their own education.  And I am tired of the parents who think it’s none of their concern.

OK, I stepped off the cliff.

I finished compiling my Viable Paradise application and sent it off.  Now I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  While I’m waiting, I’ll wait.  And then, when the waiting gets too much?  I’ll bite my nails, tap my feet, and wait some more.  Then I’ll wait again.

I hate waiting.

I know that the odds are stacked against me.  A lot of people apply, and there are only a limited number of slots.  I know that it doesn’t matter in the long run, and that if I don’t get in this year and I really want to do it, I can try again next year.  But that doesn’t really help.  In fact, it makes me more nervous.

If I get accepted, I’ll hem and haw.  I’ll resist telling Elli (my wife) because I’m not sure she’ll agree that it’s worth doing, even though we’ve talked about it and she’s the one who told me I should try.  Then I’ll freak out about the expense, even though we can afford it.

If I don’t get accepted, I’ll be crushed for a few days.  Then I’ll pick myself up and get back to work.

 

Viable Paradise, Non-Viable Writer?

So I finished my app packet for Viable Paradise XVII.  The application deadline is in June, I worked hard to get it ready NOW, and now that it’s done, I’m seriously considering just saying “No, never mind,” going back to the keyboard, and moving on.  

I honestly don’t know if this is “You’re not good enough” syndrome (THANKS, MOM!), or “What’s the point, you don’t need it anyway, why even bother,” or just that I’m sick and can’t think straight right now.  I’m not even sure it matters, to be honest.  

Actually, I know what it is.  I just honestly don’t think I’m that good.  I think I have moments of brilliance, pages where the words just WORK.  But most of the time, I’m terribly unhappy with my work, and I look at it and consider it to be shit.  And seriously, what’s the point of it if I can never look at it and think it’s worth the work I put into it?  I get ideas, and they seem awesome, and then I start to work on them, and it doesn’t matter if I’m just freestyling it or if I take weeks and months to lay out the groundwork before starting composition, I just… fizzle.  I feel like, even if I was accepted to VP, even if I went, I’d just sit there all night trying to write, knowing I had to share my work in the morning, and type out nothing but useless dribble.  And that’s even assuming I was accepted; which, to be honest, is a long shot.  

Half the time, I’m convinced I could do it. I’m convinced I could write for a living. The other half the time, I’m convinced I’m just a reader who wishes he could do it like the pros.  

So, yeah.  Here I am, in a holding pattern.