Sunday, March 26, 2023

Prefix power

Day 26 of 31 at TWT!
What's today's date, anyway?! 

I check my watch, recalling how many times I've asked myself the same question. 

Just like those other moments throughout the week, I feel a slight twinge of emotion when I remember that if I'd chosen to keep writing every day, I'd certainly know what the date was, and I'd be feeling that unique, lung-and-heart-filling exhilaration-replacing-exhaustion pride of a runner pounding into the last lap or rounding the last corner. 

I can't quite find the right word for whatever emotion it is that has come to me in these twinges. 

It's not guilt or regret; I've felt completely at peace throughout spring break with my choice to take a break from writing during this break from school. Even though I love to write, my brain and heart were nudging me to disconnect during spring break, and I'm filled with a deep sense of calm about my decision to not touch my laptop for the past 8 days.

It's not disappointment or defeat; I've completed the full challenge so many years now that I don't feel I have anything to prove to myself, especially because this break was a choice, not a matter of missing days because I couldn't write. 

It's not even quite a feeling of missing out; the timing of the break was perfect because I built up such great momentum for the first 17 days, and I know I can dip right back in to finish with a good stretch of 6 more in a row that will allow me to feel that rhythm of daily writing, commenting, and connecting. I even kept thinking like a writer in my 8 days "away", noticing potential slices and thinking about how I'd capture certain details, purposefully taking the kinds of photos I'd include in a slice.

It's more of a sense of disconnection, which, despite its many negative connotations, is not an entirely negative word. A little twinge of disconnection each time I realized I didn't know the date, knowing this community was still going, still writing, still commenting and connecting, without me. A much milder jolt of the surreal disconnection I felt when we'd visit Rainbow Girl in the NICU and time would just stop for us, although we knew the world was still going on outside. (That's a whole other post - or series of posts - on its own!) 

Though I didn't have that word in mind specifically, I suppose disconnection is really what I was going for when I decided last Saturday to just not write for the duration of my spring break: a real break. As much as I love to write, thinking about opening my laptop felt like a slippery slope to thinking about school, and as much as I love teaching, it felt right to disconnect from school during this break. No laptop, no writing, no reading school books or blogs or articles. No Girl Scout work either. Just a happier version of our NICU bubble: special family fun time for nine whole days. (Rainbow Girl, who is just starting to understand time, finally understood last week that spring break was going to be nine days of having me and Sis at home, and kept track of which day we were on throughout the break!)

This break feels like a demonstration of the power of prefixes: it's so easy to add and remove these small word parts to completely change the meaning. And having participated in the SOLSC for so many years, I feel so comfortable in the power of this experience and this community that it really felt that easy to customize this year's experience: to add, remove, and change a few letters around the central element of this challenge: connection. 

CONNECT with my writing life and friends new and old for 17 days in a row.

DISconnect for 8 days to connect with my family and the heart of my self, to rest, and to recharge.

RE-connect now, on the eve of returning to school, for 6 more days of writing and community. 

Like a row of Legos, Magna-tiles, or snapping blocks: click, connect, snap apart, rebuild. 

It fits just right.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing about the choice to participate daily or not. I chose to not post on Friday because of being bone tired and returning home late after an event, but I didn't mention the skip in my post on Saturday. This post is cathartic. Prefixes are powerful! I both endorse and encourage your time away! (en- is a prefix, but what is -dorse? šŸ¤“)

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