Learning

Can you hear me in the back?

I’m a little distracted right now. The real and imagined to-do list grows, and my brain is having a hard time shifting gears from the nonnegotiable, must-be-completed tasks to the flexible, maybe-if-there’s-time-later activities. Writing a blog post, ironically, is probably one of the latter (but I am clearly intent on making it the former).

Distracted. Who cares about my to-do list? Hurricane Sandy has turned a chunk of the world literally upside down, and I am still waiting to hear from my mom. I know she doesn’t have power, which might be the only thing wrong, but I’m a worrier, so this is tough.

To add to the need for compartmentalization and focus, I’m taking a three-day editing class, starting tomorrow. I already turned in the initial assignment, but I just realized I have an entire chapter of The Chicago Manual of Style to read tonight. Chapter 2. I’ve read it before, for a previous class, but I definitely need to brush up.

At first I was a little hesitant to talk about taking a class. Does it seem strange that I would be going to school for editing, even though I’m already an editor and have been one for many years? Of course I would never want to give the impression that I’m a noob. But the insecurity is ridiculous. There’s more to school than the facts you learn. I gained so much from the first class I took this year (medical editing and AMA style) – more than just the particulars of P values or reference formats – that I knew I had to get back to school again. I learned that there is immense value in sitting in a room full of like-minded folks, people who love the persnickety nature of language as much as I do. The space and time to immerse myself in a new field of study. Community, camaraderie, networking, whatever you want to call it – I’m feeling very lucky that I get to do it all again for the next three days

It’s exciting. But, to shamelessly borrow the (surely overdone) hurricane metaphor, for me, this is the perfect storm for lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, worrying about the e-mails I haven’t responded to, the projects that are piling up, the people and animals who are experiencing complete upheaval now. Big worries, small worries – I don’t discriminate. I’ve struggled with insomnia for years, but I’m finally starting to learn how to get a handle on it, thanks in part to my commitments to regular exercise and acupuncture. It’s a different kind of class I’ve been taking – one where I’m the student and the teacher all at the same time, one where I have to learn how to stop, listen, and breathe.

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