Ah… the final of my six solid days of subbing has arrived! And I am delighted, more that the stint is finished than for the money I have earned. Overall, the students were great. I really enjoyed becoming acquainted with some new ones and had a god time with some I knew already, although younger than they are today. But I did dread the dire drudgery of getting up each morning knowing exactly what was ahead of me (even if I stay at home and write or play on the internet all day in recent, retired normality, I feel more variety and adventure in such a day than I did this past week, or most of the days during my educational career). The random day or three in a week that I had previously experienced as a substitute held more excitement, if only because I cupped merely a swallow of responsibility in my palm each day. A whole week (even implementing someone elseʼs immaculate and appropriate plans) began to feel like… a job again.

At least I could depart without a care, except for the haunting thoughts about how well/lousily I handled that obviously un- or under-medicated ADHD annoyance from that one loud class, as I drove home — strange how many fictitious narratives I have spun pointlessly through my feverish thoughts going to and heading home from school in more than thirty-five years. And I didnʼt have to attend the faculty inservice on Monday, or write any of the tedious curricular garp the meeting would have imposed. (Or in my own earlier case, serve a fourteen- or fifteen-hour day, the regular eight or nine ending with reading papers and journals, followed by fall play practice, all within the confined, hallowed halls…) Even so, it has been work. I guess thatʼs why they pay me for doing it.

Having just disbursed electronic cash for a credit card bill, I realize that I havenʼt made enough extra money yet to compensate for what we spent on vacation beyond the prepaid flights, hotel and cruise (and the benefit of cruising, like other “all-inclusive” vacations, was having fairly good control over our meal costs). I think I must sub at least six more times to get even. And that calculation doesnʼt include six months of auto insurance, or the magazine subscriptions I renewed after vacation, or… Perhaps I see why The Lovely One insists I must do something other than just write in retirement. (If only I could sell something…)

Of course, nothingʼs going to sell sitting on my hard drive or even on paper around the office. I have to take a day or a week to print and package things (meaning rejected stories and plays, maybe even fresh old poetry) to pop in the mail as submissions. The first Tourist tale (London) has malingered around here, thrice rejected, since spring, and it now has two handwritten siblings (San Francisco and OʼHare) that need to get typed/dictated/revised. “Details, Details,” rejected in almost personal terms, needs to go somewhere, too, probably to a webzine, as sold-my-soul-to-the-Devil stories, even technological and inventively original ones like mine, are every editorʼs least desired tired old tale. “Mistakes by Moonlight” is only inches (and hours and hours) from being finished, too. Everybody came back unwanted from Dramatic Publishing, but theyʼre far from the only (or even most likely) play publisher out there — even if two other play scripts have languished in nonresponse-land for nearly a year with other companies. And I have several stories, heavily previewed here on the blog, which have earned at least a fan, maybe a few, apiece… (Disbelievers need to actually click those “Fiction and Essays” links on the righthand top side. And read, huh? Critical suggestions are welcome.)

Several senior girls, having experienced as sophomores what passes for critical acumen from me, asked me to read and check their current critical essays for Advanced English today, which, let me tell you all, did not make me relish the possibility of seeking out proofreading jobs. But I did it for and with them. We talked about transitions from paragraph to paragraph for their essays, and I notice now that the thought must have insidiously kept percolating in my head until this late afternoon/early evening writing session, because although these separate paragraphs are really separate, totally distinct topics, I do seem to have scraggled together transitional links each time. But as I believe I have run out of connective-tissue notions, letʼs call it a post and be done for today. Perhaps a little more time will provide greater amusements for you (and less selfish, personal obsession from me) next week.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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