Lena Corazon: Learning to Love the Space Between

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this third installment of the Being Between series, Northern Californian poet, novelist and sociology doctoral candidate Lena Corazon talks about her multiple lives and shares one of her poems.

Even though I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since I was a little girl, I always considered it to be little more than a hobby, something I did for fun. The route of academia seemed far more practical, and so I decided that I would study for a PhD and become a college professor.

I was lucky enough to get my wish. I entered a PhD program in sociology straight out of college, and quickly learned that grad school, like academia itself, is one big juggling act. For the last four years I’ve been student, teaching assistant, and scholar. I slog my way through 300+ pages of reading each week, grade what feels like mountains of assignments, and look for spare time to cram in my dissertation research.

It’s little surprise that during my first couple of years as a grad student, I didn’t pick up a single novel or write one word of fiction. Why? I had a skewed fantasy in my head about what it meant to be a “serious” scholar. Serious scholars, as far as I was concerned, did not prance about in make-believe worlds. Serious scholars didn’t waste time having conversations with imaginary people. Serious scholars did Very Serious Things, like immerse themselves in social theory and write books filled with academic jargon.  Continue reading

Louise Behiel: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

Today I’m honored to welcome romance writer-translation manager-psychotherapist Louise Behiel.

When Sally asked me to consider contributing to this series, I had to smile—so very often I consider myself caught between a rock, a hard place and a mountain.  Think of me in the middle of a triangle where the walls seem to be closing in.

I’m blessed with many interests, a need to serve and a passion to write.

During the day, I’m the manager of Interpretation and Translation  for the Health Authority in Alberta, Canada. It’s my job to make sure that our limited English-speaking patients have access to trained and highly competent medical interpreters.

I am fascinated by the practice of medicine and by the amazing care given in our facilities. But, given that I don’t like blood, needles or body fluids, this is as close as I can come to the action.

Just in case you’re wondering, I speak only one language. But many of my staff speak three or four. One speaks eight. They work with medical professionals across the spectrum of health care. They can explain medical procedures, outcomes and information in each of those languages. It’s a big job (imagine keeping up with the ever-evolving medical terminology) and I’m honored to be part of the team.  Continue reading

Being between lives

This is the introduction to a series of guest posts about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

Do you have each foot in a different life—or a few different lives?

I do. Feels like I’ve been trying to transition from one life to another for as long as I’ve been alive.

There was a time when I almost crossed over from everyday life to being a full-time writer. My short stories and poetry were published, a play was produced and I wrote two novels (bad ones).

Or maybe that time just looks idyllic in retrospect. I was pretty much a single mom to my son and daughter for ten years since my husband was away on business five days a week. Then I went to graduate school and worked part time as a graphic artist, while still being a mom.

After that, I started teaching college and thought I’d found the perfect career. That’s what so many writers do, isn’t it? Teach class, then close the door and immerse themselves in their real work.

But teaching drove me crazy. I couldn’t write and teach, too. The words of my lectures drowned out the words of my fiction.

So I became an editor on a medical journal. At last, silence!

I could write again, but found myself transitioning to a different kind of writing. I’d always written short stories, but now I was trying to write novels. Real ones.

That’s not easy. Short stories are like paintings, novels are like movies. Hardly the same thing at all. I had a lot to learn.

Years passed. My children grew. I moved from New York to Baltimore to San Jose to the Texas Hill Country. I divorced and found a new relationship. I left my editing job, tried working for a literary agent, then went back to the old job.

All the while, the writing continued, stopped, continued, stopped— I don’t know how many times I quit absolutely, positively for the last time.

Finally, I gave up.

Now, whether I write for a few stolen hours a week while working as an editor, succeed and make a living as a novelist, or have to wait to write full time until I’m old enough to retire, I accept that writing fiction is and always has been the focus of my life.

There’s a kind of peace in that.

Coming in November: writer-psychotherapist-translation manager Louise Behiel and writer-sociology Ph.D. student Lena Corazon.

By S.J. Driscoll

Changes

Guest post by Prudence MacLeod

I have seen a lot of change in my lifetime. This was brought home to me the other day as I was sitting on the boat, waiting for inspiration to strike. It wasn’t happening so I went back to my default, people watching. There weren’t a lot of folks on the boat that trip, so not much was going on. K was knitting and I was re-thinking my decision to leave my knitting behind. Oh, wait there we are.

A big man, mid thirties maybe, walked down to the observation window and stood gazing out at the water. He was careful to stand close to a young girl sitting near the window. He was also careful to keep his gut sucked in as he tried to look cool. “Dude, the girl is about twelve or so and far more interested in that phone in her hand than in a guy older than her dad.” I didn’t say it, but I wanted to. Eventually her indifference caused him to lose interest and walk away.

I returned my attention to the young miss, her pony tail swaying gracefully as she watched her thumbs dance over the phone in her hand. Hmm, the phone; I remember when I was her age the phone was securely attached to the wall of the house. When my daughter was that age we had the magic of cordless phones. Wow.

Ok, what else I wondered. Music. When I was her age I had a record player. As a teenager my daughter had a CD player. I’ll bet this girl has an I-pod with a play-list thousands of songs long.

Cars. When I was a teen we didn’t have a car, couldn’t afford one. Folks who did have them would sometimes get one with a radio in it. Luxury. My daughter’s first car had a CD player in it. Now they have cars with phones, computers, I-pod docking stations, TVs, movie players, and the damned things can parallel park themselves.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Change has happened more swiftly for my generation than any other in history, and the pace is accelerating. I cannot begin to imagine the wonders this young miss will witness by the time she reaches my age. Awesome. I hope I’m still here to see it.

So, how about you? What changes have caught you by surprise, stuck in your memory, or just messed with your calm?

***

Prudence MacLeod is a spiritual seeker, dog trainer, official Reiki Master and interior designer, and a writer with two dozen books available. “I have roamed far and wide for over sixty years in this realm, and I have seen much; some I wish I had not, and a great deal that I would love to see again. Some days I feel like Bilbo Baggins, for I have been there and come back again. No, I haven’t written a book about my wanderings, at least not yet, but much I have experienced, observed, learned, surmised, or imagined, is woven into the tales I have written.”

See books by Prudence MacLeod on Smashwords

Thanks, Prudence!