I am Pi truncated by forty-nine decimal points
For the past three days, I’ve been on vacation (I hadn’t taken one in three years), and I’ve fallen back into the old rhythm of writing that I’d practiced when I taught five, six, sometimes seven classes at Miami Dade College. I’d get up in the morning, shower, help my wife to fix breakfast for the kids, drive our eldest child to elementary school, and then come home at around nine and write until about noon.
I’d then take a walk around the neighborhood, come back home, pick up the kids from school, fix dinner, wait with the kids until my wife came home, and then go to the college where I’d grade papers, meet with my students, and teach until about nine o’clock. On the drive home, I’d think about what my characters would be doing, what the next poem would be about, would I be able to pay the light bill, afford braces for the kids, or did my wife still love me? I’d come home, shower, watch Johnny Carson with my wife, fall asleep, and begin the day all over again.
I did this for many years and experienced this rhythm most acutely during the year when I was writing hurricane center, which was a response to Derek Walcott’s Midsummer. In order to write hurricane center, I set myself the task of writing at least one poem per week for I was trying to mimic the yearly cycle of those who have chosen to live in the direct path of hurricanes. You see, hurricanes have always fascinated me, and what better place to live than in South Florida where the responses to hurricanes range from fear to morbid curiosity? The hurricane was not only a physical threat, but also became a symbol of the existential crisis that Camus (my favorite philosopher) described in The Myth of Sisyphus.
Those were the good old days. And all things grow and change.
As the family and I grew older and more responsibilities came, the old rhythms were disrupted. I adapted to them, including the most recent—being a chairperson of a department. I’ve had to use a whole new range of skills and discover ways of dealing with colleagues in a unionized environment where roles are delineated by a contract, but the day-to-day tasks rely on human trust and motivations which are not mentioned in the contract.
I had to create a new rhythm that would take into account my family, my creative life, and my role as a supervisor in a department of over 2,500 students and seventy employees.
In many ways, blogging has helped me to find this new rhythm. But sometimes I wonder, how long will this last? Will I be able to adapt to Web 3.0 and all the other changes that are bound to come? Who knows? The task at hand is to find meaning in pushing these words across the page. Some days it’s difficult and some days it’s exhilarating. But writing can't be done while waiting for applause. I’ve learned that the hard way.
And what’s left at the end of the day? Perhaps a good meal with my wife and family, sipping a glass of wine, watching Jeopardy with my wife while the kids watch anime, listen to God Smack, or rail about Dick Cheney, and finally falling asleep on the sofa.
Ah, glorious day!