Yes, I was an English teacher. So, I was charged with teaching children, both exceedingly clever and oppressively stupid, including every child in between the extremes. how to read and to write in English. Words are my profession. Words are, in fact, my world.
I’m sure you realize that the title is a metaphor, and in no way literal. But now, as a retired senior on Medicare, my parents are both gone, I lost two cousins to Covid this last week, both of whom refused to be vaccinated because they were Republican FOX News watchers in ultra-conservative Iowa; I have six incurable diseases or conditions that I will have until I die. My zombie-skin is all peeling off. My prostate has gone from softball-sized to giant grapefruit. And eating is a diabetic nightmare now. My favorite foods will all kill me with knives of brain pain.
So, my physical life is all about deterioration and decay now. I have no happy days if you have to gauge happiness by lack of pain and surpluses of ease and things to be grateful for.
No, my world now is mostly interior in nature. Memories of the cherished past. Imaginary worlds I have built up all in my head over time. And re-imagining of the events of my past to make them more palatable and less filled with regret.
And so, I am made of words. I live in the stories I write, whether it is a story about my cousin’s recent passing on here, or a story about three-inch-tall fairies who’ve built a castle out of a willow tree with magic in my novel-in-progress.
I define myself and my life with words. And I am fortunate enough to be able to do it with some skill, learned over the decades of telling stories to kids in an English classroom.