My husband just lost his job. The company he worked for sold to a competitor, and unless the vice president of the larger company gets hit by a bus, there won’t be a position available under the new ownership. One of the former bosses, who shares in the purchase price of a few hundred-million dollars, called to say a check for a couple months’ salary would arrive in the mail. Somehow management viewed this appropriate compensation for my husband’s ten years of service generating millions in assets as well as adding value to the purchase price. Oh. And as of May 1, COBRA will require $1400 in monthly payments to maintain our Kaiser Health coverage for our family of four.
My initial reaction was to panic. I looked up teaching positions in as many school districts as possible within commuting range, because owning a writing/coaching/editing operation doesn’t include healthcare benefits. Though the idea of reentering the classroom excited me, my stomach knotted, and anxiety dreams woke me up all night long. Don’t get me wrong, I can get behind the National Core Curriculum Standards, but I find it almost impossible to write novels and articles while teaching full time. By the end of a day of working with kids, collaborating with other teachers, assessing student work, and on and on and on, my creativity gets used up. There’s no time to coach other writers or edit their work during the school year either.
Then I remembered one of my favorite writing buddies, a fellow Page-a-Day writer and an award-winning columnist, Claire Fadden’s sing-song voice in my head. “Obstacle or opportunity,” she likes to say with a shrug as she looks for ways to use life’s little setbacks to propel her toward her goals.
So how can our family’s lack of regular income and health benefits transform into a catalyst toward becoming a traditionally published YA novelist? My husband and I decided I would hold off jumping back into the classroom. I’ve got one more school year, this small window, to pour on the energy and get my manuscript published. It’s amazing how a narrow time frame can make the world seem like an entirely different place.
I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out. In the meantime, tell us about your obstacles that have become opportunities. Believe me, a story like that would be really welcome right now.