Friday, July 8, 2011

The Illusion of "Being Settled"

Taken this morning by a campus photographer
I kept telling myself I would post again when I was settled, that I would write some point.  I've been back in the United States for three weeks, and I've spent two of them working in Connecticut, at my home university.  The company that hired me is running a camp designed for international students who want to get into top colleges.  They sit through hours of SAT classes, TOEFL classes, and sessions with admissions coaches.  With the little free time they have, they're playing ball with the counselors.  I'm a TOEFL instructor.  I enjoy it.  My schedule is flexible, and I have a lot of free time. 

The kids and counselors are off to New York City and won't be back until later tonight.  The halls are deliciously quiet (except for the infant daughter of the IT director, who has recently discovered her own voice). I checked out a book out of the library twenty-four hours ago and I'm already halfway through it.  I have time to read! (Madness, I tell you!)  I can talk to my friends and family on the phone!  Food is everywhere!  I have one roommate now, instead of three.  The bathrooms sparkle from cleanliness.  The Mac computer that my company gave me actually runs properly.  Taiwan seems very far away from me.   Every moment is electric or automated, and my body sighs from relief as I feed it carbs, carbs, and more carbs.  Cheerios are wonderful.

And yet there's a persistent strangeness.  Masking irritation at a comment about Chinese culture I don't agree with.  Acquaintances give me expressions of woeful incomprehension: you were abroad for a whole year?  Friends who are delighted to see me: are you in New York? (No, sadly.)  We've got to catch up! (Yes, as soon as I finish my nap and get through another to-do list).

But these adjustments are mere pebbles in comparison to the mountain shaking off a layer of dust and inching to the forefront of my head: when are you going to start writing again, missy?

There's tonight, and there's Sunday.  But I've got to buckle down and get back to this soon.  My characters are lunging toward me with such a fierce clarity I can't ignore them for much longer.

How is it already July?  It was April just a few months ago, and I was twelve hours ahead surrounded by green mountains and humidity as dense as lead.

How've you all been?


  1. Welcome back! Traveling and adjusting to a new routine always mess with my writing. You'll get back to it and you'll wonder how you managed to leave it behind in the first place.

  2. Welcome back. Did you get some writing in?

    Sounds like you've got a big itch to get back to your characters.