Like many teachers, I count down the days of May, awaiting summer vacation. In 2021, my teaching year ended on May 27. Students left the day before. We the teachers huddled together for Records Day. After the responsibilities of school were over, my husband and I shared a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, remembering those who sacrificed their lives while we also attended a live music show, experienced a Mardi Gras parade (yes, in May. I live in New Orleans. In a normal year, this would happen in February, March at the latest.), and accomplished several household chores. Today, I find myself lamenting that so much of my summer vacation is already gone.
My husband, a retiree, laughs at my lament. He says, “It’s a day out of your life, not just one day out of your vacation.” I agree, but no one but a teacher can understand that teachers squeeze in any relaxation around those vacation times. We do not like stressful summer breaks because that is our time to decompress, and this summer all plans are on hold until I am evaluated for cataract surgery. The prospect of this surgery is depressing for me because it also means I will have to delay my writing goals as well as any longed for travel plans. Most people tell me that cataract surgery is easy and swift these days, but I have some eye conditions that could hinder a timely recovery. No writing, no relaxing vacation.
The prospective delay in my writing plans is the most distressing prospect of this whole ordeal. I’ve experienced some challenges in my writing career this year. I’ve accepted them and triumphed, but I still do not want this setback to interfere with my goals. Writing has become embedded in my psyche in a way most people cannot understand; only other writers can. I began writing seriously when my mother became very ill and then succumbed to that illness. Writing was my salvation and still is. Much of my historical fiction is based on family lore.
Hopefully, I can complete a venture this summer that will take me into another era and another project that will allow me to dissect this crazy time we call the pandemic.