Last month, I was trying to write, and found that there was a lot of noise in my brain. I could get the beginning of an idea down, I could think of ideas and talk about them, but as far as finishing, developing, an idea, I was stuck.
This sort of stuckness often happens during the semester. My brain space is full of student papers, student questions, required training, and classroom management issues. The stuckness also happens when I feel dissatisfied with the direction of my life, and that feeling was nagging at me, always, in the back of my mind.
Self-doubt, nervousness, and reaching for the former security of a steady paycheck are all contributing to that sense of dissatisfaction.
I was having trouble finding the time, the quiet, that I felt I needed to write, and so I finally just sat down and did what I told my students to do: I just started putting pen to paper, to get words out on the page.
As you can see in the video above, I started with a simple activity: webbing. I put “harvest” in the middle and then started branching related words and through this process, not only did I start writing, I also figured out why I was having trouble writing in the first place.
When I moved to the San Luis Valley in 2017, my heart was breaking in several different ways. Living among farmland, in an insular community, I hadn’t felt so alone since leaving Washington for Oklahoma.
As I reflected on harvest, I couldn’t think of anything I actually harvest, or gather. I started keeping plants during the pandemic, but several of them perished under my neglectful care.
I harvest lessons from mistakes made in relationships, friendships, and college career choices.
As a writing instructor, what did I harvest? Logical fallacies? Comma splices? Harvesting low confidence and bad writing habits so students could find ways to share their own voices.
But I’m leaving all of that behind.
So what do I harvest? What do I grow?
And I’ve realized that I couldn’t write about harvest, not because I feel like an outsider (I do), but because I’m not yet at my harvest season.
I’m in my planting season. I don’t know yet what will grow.