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Dancing Instructions from the Beyond | 2017 | Thirty-Seven Questions

06.23.17

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.  

-Gustave Flaubert



What I Do on My Summer Vacation

On the bottom line, I am a technically a teacher. It is not what I tell people at dinner parties unless pressed, but it is what is written on my biweekly paychecks. I have a Master's degree in education I have been paying off since twenty-five and shall possibly be paying off until I retire, so I ought to use it.

For years, I have declined working at my facility in the summers. I could - juvenile justice does not take a break when the days grow longer - but I do not care to. I did for a few summers, then I took one off while planning my wedding. After that, there was no going back. If you had the option for two months off with pay to do whatever you would like, I imagine you would take it.

Everyone - but everyone - immediately asks what I am going to do with my summer. I am going to write. I feel this is self-evident and I my tone when questioned has begun to show this. I have four books out in my series, a few anthologies to sell at conventions and panels, and it is not close to enough for me.

Fine, but what else am I going to do? That is all I have planned, aside from a family vacation in August. I have much to write and little time in which to do it. I am going to spend as many hours as I can in my local library, scribbling the one book I can write fluidly at this point, so I can get it out of me and tend to one of the other ones that is not working yet. I am uniquely driven, so I know that I can manage to get a draft out of me within a month. I do it during National Novel Writing Month every November, on top of working a full-time job.

If I were not otherwise driven to do this, I might write just because of the knowledge that I am declining relatively easy money. I can't let that be wasted. It's against my moral fiber. As I see it, I am spending potential money on this endeavor and I intend to see results.

Additionally, this break is salubrious to my mental health. Not the break itself, mind you. When I am on my break, I am grateful for the freedom to do as I please, but my normal calibrates to these days. Rather, I thrive on the knowledge that I will have this break. Knowing that I will be able to say goodbye to this crop of students, that summer will come, buoys me in February. Summer is something I can hold out as a chance of a change of scenery and a fresh start in September, when I get to be annoyed that any of my former students remain.

I am privileged to have this opportunity, but I know I have worked, saved, and fretted for it. Nothing was given to me that I did not sacrifice much for.

These summers are the times when I feel most myself, thanks to the weather and my ability to make my own schedule. I still work, as I see it, just the job I prefer, albeit the one that doesn't pay for more than a quarter of my room and board for a month.

In the beginning of the break, I don't feel it. I know, in an intellectual sense, that I am on break, but I know it will seem only that I am away from my day job for a little while. It won't feel real. That sense comes only in the middle of July, when the slacks-and-buttoned-shirt and serenity-while-children-scream-slurs leaves my system.

Amber works, interning with the department of environmental protection some days, toiling in her boss's farm store others. There are few days when we are mutually unburdened, though I am sure her brain needs rest more than mine. In a fashion, I prefer this, since it gives no excuse not to go wander to the library and work. It is not as though I am leaving her home alone, unattended.

Soon in Xenology: The nature of happiness. The sound of silence. Underutilization. Infinite consequences. Fireworks. Daniel.

last watched: Galavant
reading: Another Roadside Attraction
listening: Temple of the Dog

Dancing Instructions from the Beyond | 2017 | Thirty-Seven Questions

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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