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Yesterday, I skipped writing.

For nearly five years, I’ve been rising between 4:30 and 5 to write for two hours every workday morning.

Don’t get me wrong: I still got up that early. I still opened my computer. But I worked on syllabi and plans for the school year instead of writing.

By the end of the day, I was sobbing. When I recovered, I lay on the couch, eating jelly bellies and scrolling through Twitter like a zombie. Then I went to bed and cried myself to sleep.

It’s true that things at school are bad right now.

But I think it’s also true that I needed to write. When I write in the morning before teaching, I make a declaration of who I am before anyone else gets to decide. When things go badly in the day, I have built a space, an inner space, in which I am still my own self.

Shakespeare says that love is a star “whose worth’s unknown, although his height” may be measured. It’s true. Stars have–or once had–infinite worth in navigating the ocean. Stars are how we find our way, how we remember land when we are at sea, how we wish. Writing is that star for me.

And this morning? I wrote.

 

 

 

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