Is it the same if everything’s different?

graffiti of the words "love your imagination" next to a woman holding an umbrella, apparently floating...

Good morning, good morning. It’s 5:30 and outside it’s windy and active — the birds are talking and the BART shines its whispery greeting beneath their song. it’s early, my eyes aren’t quite working yet.

In an hour, or less, actually, I’ll get in the shower and get ready to go to work. Many things have changed in the last couple of months. I let go of the workshop space in Oakland. I took a job at Book Passage and then I let that go, too. And I’ve gone back to a job at UCSF — yesterday I managed to read a complete novel during my commute (and then while waiting in line to get the photo for my id badge taken and then while waiting for the new employee training to start and then while on the shuttle from Laurel Heights to Parnassus and then again after I got home and before bed — there may not be nearly so much reading time today).

I left my last job at UCSF in 2012— I was ready to ramp the workshops up to a new level, and felt I needed to have all of my time and energy available for that. And then I immediately got a massive back spasm that impacted me for several months, maybe hinting at my ambivalence about the whole project.

It’s strange to be back at something I left seven years ago. Much is the same — I’m working for the same department with many of the same people, which is delightful — and there’s a lot, too, of course, that’s changed. I feel grateful and sad, like both a success and a failure. It turned out — after seven years of very hard work — that the workshops couldn’t sustain me here in the Bay Area, or I just wasn’t able to figure out how to make that happen. I’ve scrutinized it from so many angles, and I’m not going to do that this morning — it sends me down a sad rabbit hole, and I don’t want to do that today.

Because there’s been plenty of success, too…

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