Friday Night Writes: When the Stadium Lights Go Out

Josh Harnett thinks about leaving Kirsten Dunst on the football field in The Virgin Suicides. Thanks to Jake-Weird,

One man switches off the lights in the football stadium.

No one is left that he sees, but sometimes someone or something stays hidden out of the spotlight. He, she or it is not ready to leave.

But, as soon as Josh Harnett got it in The Virgin Suicides he left Kirsten Dunst alone on the football field.

As writers, artists, professionals, students or parents; everyone believes they are left on a cold, gray metal seat in a stadium lost to watching birds and bugs pick at leftover hamburger and hotdog buns.

The challenge we face only grows more difficult whether it is writing a query letter, making a character real or trying to figure out how you will mold your career, family and art together.

Yesterday, the lights turned off. The stadium, dark.

The hardest thing a person must do is to make a choice.

If you’ve read before, you know I am a mother, teacher, author/ writer and beginning my graduate work.

Last year, I was offered a job with which I fell in love, and my bosses have offered as many opportunities as they could. When I talk about the job, you would think I was talking about the love of my life. If you’ve been unemployed or someone in your family has been unemployed and worried about your child’s future, you discover a good job brings gratitude. Finding a job you love is a miracle.

I sat across from my graduate advisor for the first time yesterday. He said in my last semester I would have to quit my job to do the internship in the public school system.

I sank in the chair. I thought You’ve got to be kidding me. A long time ago I was a kid who highlighted her hair every other month, wore boat shoes and played sorority dress up until I discovered it meant nothing.

Those days of playing dress up are done.

I know outside of the current job I have now, my intended career requires certification and high standards in the world of teaching. During childhood, I played with two prominent items: my imagination to create stories and an art easel from which I taught my stuffed animals and cats.

Nothing has changed my dreams now.

The professor, in his wisdom, said my place of work may be willing to work with me and I should not have a problem receiving loans and scholarships to pay for school.

That’s not my first concern, believe it or not. I have to pay bills, too.

I sucked it up, went home and got my son. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, I decided.

Perhaps I’m being to bold. Maybe too honest. But I know many other writers are struggling to work and find time for their writing. I know other artists have children and think about time set aside for their work. They want to know, even after two-years or more of sweating, painting and of rejections, that they’re not the only ones fumbling around to turn on the spotlight.

Rebecca T. Dickinson

Sorry Friday Night Writes is a little late.

Friday Night Writes is an every other week column or article in which I share views or writing samples.


2 thoughts on “Friday Night Writes: When the Stadium Lights Go Out

  1. Wow, yes…such a dilema. I’m a little like you. I teach, I love it. When I get home I am so tired all I want to do is crash in front of the TV and NOT think. The PC sits there, accusing me, making me feel guilty. I have stories to write, and they cry out to me. I wait until the weekend, and I do the best I can. I have two novels coming out this year, hopefully 3, and I have a submission with Harper waiting. Stress. Confusion. Depression. The three big guns, knocking me down all the time. Fortunately, I can get up again, do the best I can. I write, and I will not stop. I have to create. And it is clear that you do too. So, you will not fail. I know it.

    1. Thank you so much! This means a lot coming from another author. I recently received more hours at work, and before then I’d been doing well at either waking up early in the morning to write or at night after my son went to bed. With more hours and recovering from recent illness, it has been tough to reach my goal to complete editing my book by May. Thank you for the encouragement! ~ Rebecca

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