Two years ago, my life changed.
That might be a funny way to begin a new blog, especially when it’s been two years in the making, but that is where I’m starting. Why? Because it’s the truth. Why do I consider it the truth? Because, over the course of a year leading up to those two years, I lost some very important people in my life. Those losses helped me redefine who I was, and ultimately who I am today. Let me go on to say, during the two years of my redefining, I lost someone who is, even though she’s gone, was a second mother to me and one of my best friends from school. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
A little over two years ago, I decided to follow a dream. That dream was to become a teacher. For over twenty years I’d toyed with the idea of teaching, and like most of us do, talked myself out of it. I don’t have the money for that. I’ve got responsibilities. I’m too old. Then, after one in a long line of friends and family dying around me, I got down on my knees and asked God to tell me what to do. I’d gotten so tired of mourning people, missing people, and generally feeling like my world was coming down around me. I know most of you know depression when you see it, or read it, and that’s where I was. I knew I didn’t know what to do anymore. So, back to my knees. Kneeling there by my bed, I waited for God’s answer. And, it came in one well defined sentence. “Do what you know you should do.” That cryptic sentence had me say aloud, ‘Teach?’. There was no booming voice or burning bush, but I had a calming sensation fall over me. I knew then, I had my answer.
But, I was a writer. An honest to goodness published writer. Shouldn’t that have been enough to satisfy me. At that point, I’d had written close to 25 stories, and had the worse case of writer’s block known to man. So, satisfied I had ceased to be something that defined my career as a writer, it was time for a change – to go for my dream. It was almost like my brain had already figured out I wasn’t where I was supposed to be in my life. Heck, even my life knew it had been walking down the wrong path.
Since no man walks alone, I sought advice from my beautiful wife, Jennifer. She said that if this is what I wanted to do, she was with me all the way. Even my daughter, Morgan, helped, because she was going to school at the same time as I would be going. Next, I talked with my circle of friends, who never cease giving me support and encouragement. Some of them are involved in the teaching profession, and without fail each of them said they would give me whatever help I needed. God has truly blessed me with amazing family and friends. My publisher, Gail Delaney, even put off the books I had due until after I graduated with my Masters’ Degree to give me time to go back to school. See, years before I knew I’d become a teacher, God set people into my life who could help me make this dream come true. Even the friends who weren’t teachers, were able to step in and give me help. If I tried to name all these amazing people, I’d forget someone and feel like crap. So, I won’t. I just have one more thing to say.
God knew! He knew everything and everyone I’d needed to make this dream to come true. More importantly, He helped in big and small ways to give me this dream. The big ways were helping me get the money to go back to school. I mean every time a roadblock popped up, He knocked it down and cleared the road for me.
So, for the two years I’ve been gone and not writing fiction, I’ve been a forty some odd year-old man, spending the downhill portion of his forties going back to school. I’d go to work during the day, come home, and spend my evenings and weekends doing homework. That left little time for writing or being creative in general. A few times I’d get the old urge to write or paint. I’d get started, but I’d never finish what I started. I had more important things to do. I had the dream to make come true. I’d set the fun stuff aside, and the work of dream building would continue.
For a solid year, my life consisted of work, school, sleep, and repeat as needed. Sort of like washing your hair. Then last August, I began my internship as an official teacher at my old high school. When the principal showed me to my room, I nearly fell out. I began my career teaching English in the same classroom where I had my first high school English class. Life had come full circle, as the mystical would say. My first year of teaching was in no way easy. There were moments of doubt, and moments of me wanting to run screaming home, but there were moments of peace and joy. There were moments where I saw the light of learning come alive in students’ eyes. That made all the doubt and inner turmoil fade away. I was living the dream, and it was good.
That first year of teaching is gone, and I’ve learned as much as I’ve taught. Still, there’s more I need to absorb. More I need to learn, because that is what life is. It’s the never-ending process of learning. I’ve made this my mission statement if you will, that my life will be about learning the mysteries of the universe and those of the world we call home. Hey, it’s why History, Discovery and the Travel channels are in my top ten things to watch. I love not only learning, but the process of it. I can honestly say that this past year has been a joy. I have learned from my students as much as I hope they’ve learned from me. I hope that in some small way I can give them the same dream that has moved me to this point in my life.
Now, I will live the dream to its fullest. What about writing? I am going to keep doing it. In fact, I am almost halfway through a new book, the first of a new series I hope. It’s a little different from my other books. The book is a detective story. The theme is supernatural and follows the adventures of one of my favorite mythological characters, Pandora. I’ve based her on one of my friends, so she has her spirit and attitude, as raunchy as it is at times. The plot will keep readers guessing. I hope they’re guessing all the way to the last page. The main thing is I’m having fun being an author again. For a good while, I’d lost that joy of writing, and I’d forgotten how good it felt to see stories unfold from my head to my computer screen.
A few things have changed in these last two years. First off, Desert Breeze Publishing has closed its doors. What does this mean for my books? I’m really not sure. Right now, I am exploring options. One of those is self-publishing, which is where my heart is leading me. When I figure it out, I’ll let you guys know. Blogging? I can’t guarantee my brain will let me regularly post updates, but I will as much as I have things to say. I’m not one to post something just to be posting something. When I have something worth saying, I’ll say it. Best I can offer at this time. School is about to kick off again in a couple weeks. That’s going to keep me busy, but hopefully not so busy I can’t write a line or two. I guess I better get started on that, because I have movies in my head dying to come out where you can see them.
Til then, remember that reading is power, and joy. So, gain power and enjoy the written word wherever you can, whenever you can, and as much as you can.
J. Morgan, teacher, author, and madman with a keyboard at your service.