I had a rough map of a cat and photo related post that I wanted to write, and I was planning to finish off the entire month with it. However, as I was collecting images and collating writing ideas, my son shrieked “Assistance needed right now!” from the shower. This is never a good sign, but sometimes just means that he is feeling little and wants someone else to shampoo his hair. No such luck. I lifted my hands slightly from the keyboard as I shouted back “Why?” and broke into a flat out run when he yelled back “Nosebleed! Bad one!”
In my family, at least for me and my son, a bad nosebleed can mean 45 minutes of undiminished bleeding. Usually, ice is required to restrict the blood vessels enough to eventually stop. At the very least, it is imperative to get the bleeder out from under the hot water in the shower, because the warmth just accelerates the bleeding. Unfortunately, Exhibit A, my bleeding son, had not yet managed to rinse all (or even most) of the shampoo from his hair, nor had he managed to soap any part of his body. While he clutched an increasingly blood-soaked cloth to his face, I dove in and out of the shower, trying to accomplish the most basic level of hygiene acceptable without getting unduly soaked. Then, a semblance of cleanliness and the cessation of bleeding both accomplished, I wandered, dripping around the edges, back to my laptop and realized that my plan and my timing was derailed, and I would need to write something else. Fortunately, a slice had just happened.
In many ways, my post’s title applies not just to my emergency induced slicing detour, but also to much of my writing in this, my third Slice of Life Story Challenge. I started with high hopes and excitement. I always enjoy this outlet for my writing, and find myself more successful at writing daily than I ever do on the Tuesday SOL challenge during the year. I am back in the classroom, so I felt that I would have many more stories about teaching, which might resonate with more participants in the challenge. (Although there does not seem to be a shortage of participants who are teacher moms and own silly pets!) My sister had re-joined the challenge this year, so I had one built in reader and some moral support. But, my best laid plans gang aft a-gley, as the poet says. The announcement of budget shortfalls and massive pending teacher layoffs in my district led directly to my contract not being renewed, with no one able or willing to lay odds on me being re-hired for the job I love, or even within the district, and threw me for a loop. Naturally, I found it harder to write, let alone write anything not whiny and grumpy, while fighting off the paired demons of shock and panic. Then, as I began to at least adjust to the new reality, my entire family was all felled by two weeks of ghastly influenza, and although I wrote something each day, none of it was focused or planned or possibly coherent. (Was there a second weekend challenge this year? I have a hazy recollection of some sort of announcement, but whatever it was, I missed it completely!) Limping, weaving, and blowing, I rounded the last corner of this writing steeplechase and found myself facing the 31st. Rather than galloping triumphantly, or at least proudly, across that finish line, I am staggering over it and toppling in relief on the other side.
Difficulties aside, I am proud to have finished, and I am appreciative of the support and positive comments from you, my virtual friends, that helped keep me going on some dark days. I will once again try to keep posting on Tuesdays – every year I make it a little bit further before being steamrolled into silence until the following March. And I will definitely return next year, hopefully employed, hopefully in the gifted program with the students I love, and ready to once again embrace our month of writing.
Thank you all for being here this March, and opening your hearts and souls and creativity and sharing your own moments, dark, light, heavy, silly, angry, amused, frustrated or thoughtful. Keep on slicing!