And just like that, everything twisted again. My life has had so many twists it must look like a mutant pretzel at this point. And for that, I am eternally grateful. My personal plot twist.
On Monday, just days after a blizzard, I took my place, for the first time, at the front of a university classroom. I have led trainings and facilitated meetings for decades, so being in front of the room feels normal and comfortable. But this is my first go at teaching upper level college students in creative writing. To be specific, in our case, this is world literature.
And I say “our” because I am the Teaching Assistant to another instructor who is also a grad student in my MFA program. So, technically, this is her course and I am her TA. But because our class is so big – 40 students – we’re splitting it in half for much of our class time. So I’m actually getting to teach on my own while having the incredible benefit of still co-teaching the rest of the time so I can learn from her. She is amazing, so I am very lucky.
For days, even weeks, beforehand I couldn’t help but feel a little bit giddy, probably too much so. I was very excited about this opportunity and now that the reality is here, I am even more delighted.
The moment that it really hit was in the photocopy room when another instructor waited behind me to copy her syllabus. She pulled some pages out of the machine and asked if they were mine. “No, I just have my syllabus,” and I then showed her a copy as I stapled. She smiled and said, “Well, looks like someone is starting with Dickinson and Whitman today.” We both smiled and there was that happy new twist in my life showing itself: me making small talk with English professors.
Life twist. I can now add creative writing instructor to my résumé. Even if only for this semester (for now) and even if only as a Teaching Assistant as a grad student, it all counts and it all makes me happy. Each new twist and turn in life makes me smile.
Twenty years ago, I would never have fathomed living in NYC, let alone super cool Brooklyn. Ten years ago, I would not have imagined I’d have left my last career at the UN. Five years ago, I never imagined I’d be in grad school. Two years ago, I never imagined I’d have been accepted into five MFA programs and ended up at Stony Brook. One year ago, I never imagined I’d be teaching. Who knows where the next twist in life will appear. I’m sure it will be interesting!