I haven't posted here for almost three months. Work happened. I taught five classes this semester, and was so busy I hardly wrote. My new book is languishing in the bowels of my computer. When the semester finally ended last week, I felt as if I had been run over by a Mac truck. I felt flattened. Now all I want to do is write. But my break, since I work at different schools with different start dates, is not even three weeks long.
So I've been worrying about that, and grieving the absence of writing time. And then shit happened. Our governor, former actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is having difficulty coming to terms with the California budget (didn't he manage to get a democratically elected governor thrown out over budget issues? Hmmm). One of the things he is doing is cutting the education budget. My class scehdule was cut as a result of the massive cuts that are hitting all state schools. Suddenly, I cannot afford the house I've been renting (and loving) in Venice.
I am feeling a sense of panic over this, but I am also happy, let's say even liberated. I am packing everything up, putting it in storage, quitting the rest of my teaching jobs, and taking my meager savings with me to stay in a house in Portugal that belongs to a friend. The house has no internet and no phone, and it's not close to anything at all. I don't speak Portuguese, and I am afraid. I am so afraid I wake up at night in a cold sweat sometimes. But I am going to take a brief Portuguese class, finish teaching my UCLA writing class, and then I am going to go to Portugal and write. I am going to finish my novel, and then I am going to write a NF proposal. And I am going to take my chances. Perhaps none of it will fly, and I will end up with nothing. But at least I will have had time to reconnect with what's important to me, and I will have had the chance to work nonstop at writing. To sit in silence with my stories for awhile. What a gift!
The mess that has become of this country after eight+ years of privatizing and corporatizing everything is part of what has inspired me to leave. I want to put an end to my participation in this madness, and take my chances in the Portuguese countryside, away from all this chaos and the misplaced priorities of a country in love with money and posessions. I am willing to risk any sense of security I once had in order to work at becoming a self-supporting writer. By self-supporting, though, I mean something very different than I might have meant even a few months ago. If I can eat, and I have at least a room and a toilet and a place to write, then I'll settle for that. I don't need or want a nice house or any more stuff; I just want to write.
This is radical. But I think radical times call for radical measures. And maybe I have been moving in this direction all my life. I don't know.
Has anyone else out there reached the breaking point?