This is my first fall semester not being a teacher and not being a student in nearly two decades. As I wrap up the end of my first year as an assistant professor, the campus is quieting down, and I am still working. As a faculty librarian, my semester doesn’t end when I turn in final grades. I have a shorter winter break. I could miss my month-long break, but instead, I am feeling grateful for the opportunity to be paid to write.
This phenomenon of being paid to write is new to me. In the past, I have only been paid for a couple of my writing projects. The rest of the time I have published, I sent my work out to small presses with only the hope that they print my words and give me a copy or two. It’s a little capitalistic to relish in being paid to write, but as a person who needs to work in order to afford the comforts of my life like food, gas, and health insurance, not being paid to write meant I just didn’t have time to write.
Now I’m on a different clock. It’s called the tenure clock. I have a set number of years to publish enough work to be granted tenure at my institution. With that responsibility, it means I must write. Not writing means I’m not doing my job. So last night I did my job while huddled in bed during a cold winter’s night, because so help me, I like to write lying down!
Last winter, I took the pictures below after a snowstorm in the Albuquerque metro area. Winter in the desert feels paradoxical when prickly pear and other succulents poke their green limbs out of the snow. It hasn’t snowed here yet this season, so I am posting the pictures down below in anticipation of hunkering down for the winter.
This winter season, I am entering my own hibernation mode, and it sustains me both emotionally and now, tada! financially. I have a to-do list of all the things I need and want to write, and I will get to them little-by-little, just as I always have. I feel so much gratitude for the opportunities I have after slogging through my life just trying to make ends meet.
I am looking forward to the quiet of winter, and the whole holiday season. What are you grateful for?