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Grayson Wright
I...am a non-stabby human?
Thu May 24, 2018 16:48
71.30.11.59

In his first year at Sonora, Gray had done as much writing as his teaching duties would possibly allow. No small part of it had been letters – attempts to make his life sound more interesting than it was to family and friends, and mostly inquiries to anyone he thought could help him get back in the only real game he knew – but one way or another, he had written something nearly every day.

In his second year, his quantity had decreased, but he had told himself the quality had partially made up for it. He’d had evidence to support this idea – he’d sold several stories and a script he had cowritten had been accepted for production in an episode of someone else’s show. His personal correspondence had assumed a saner quality, dealing with actual events he’d found moderately entertaining.

In his third year, he had slowly realized, he was not really producing much of anything beyond that almost-reasonable personal correspondence at all.

Easy enough to blame the workload itself. Offering actual instruction took up relatively few hours of his week, and there were fairly generous breaks between classes, and most days his classes finished at three o’clock, but he had quickly discovered that it was next to impossible to get his mind settled enough for any writing in class while the students practiced – this year had been worse than others, but one always had to keep an eye on them to make sure they were not presenting a danger to themselves, others, or the building, and to intervene with the ones who seemed to be struggling, and of course to watch for hands raised to call for his attention. Then there were supervisory duties outside of the classroom – these were most prominent when Rory was absent, even alternating them with Daniel, but even when Rory or Daniel was acting as Head of Aladren, Gray was still expected to spend no small part of his time supervising public areas to make sure children were behaving reasonably well. Then there were the hours that went into grading – he had expected handwriting decipheration to be an issue from the start, but had not anticipated the strangeness that was Raine and Kyte Collindale’s background knowledge and spelling, or Tatiana Vorontsov’s combination of creative spelling and irregular handwriting which he supposed resulted from working in a foreign alphabet. And then there was tutoring, and holding office hours, and planning lessons, and…well, it was all too easy to just fall asleep at the end of it all each day.

The longer it went on, however, the more he began to see times he could write – for goodness’ sake, on three days a week his classes were over at three o’clock – but simply didn’t put forth the effort. He found his amusement instead in writing letters, or things like analyzing patterns among students with badges, or within papers written by more difficult students – figuring out what had made them as they were, or had resulted in the specific thing in front of him. He derived considerable satisfaction from coming up with clever lessons and assignments. Oh, he was annoyed enough whenever he did have an idea and was interrupted, or read something by an old rival and reflected on how little he’d even tried to publish this year – but essentially, he didn’t feel he was trying enough.

Holidays, he had told himself – soon enough it would be the holidays. First Christmas, then summer would give him opportunities to write, and that way he could become a Balanced Individual, someone who worked a sensible job and was also a writer. There had been greats who did that – some, in fact, who claimed they couldn’t have done it if they had not had that anchor of a job to add urgency to the times when they could write. The holidays would cure him of this vague restlessness, and this vague sense that he was having all thought and expression drummed out of him by Ordinary Life.

And then Christmas had gotten cancelled. And it turned out that feeling irritable with his duties occasionally was not nearly as bad as feeling imprisoned within them. It was, he supposed, a good thing that he had gotten over his illness before the quarantine came down – he might have burned the school down otherwise. Over the holidays, his sleep had gradually grown more and more irregular, his mood correspondingly lower –

And then, one evening, he had been sitting in his room staring off into space at nothing in particular and a sentence had come to him.

Hours later, he had only stopped writing for two reasons: one, he had hit the bottom of the ink bottle he’d then had in the top of his writing desk, and two, he had realized it was the small hours of the morning. He had gotten a fitful few hours of sleep before his first class. He had been a little distracted during that class, and the next, but had managed well enough. He had done the same the second day. By the third….

By the third, things were beginning to get a bit complicated.

Taking his desk with him to classes and meals was tempting, but he knew it would be foolish – for one thing, it would keep trying to distract him from his duties even more than the characters in his head did, and for another, he didn’t like to risk allowing other people near it. It was cleverly made with secret openings – indeed, to the casual eye, only the top portion, which held slots for inkwells and pens beneath a cover, opened, though it would take only brief inspection to determine that the wooden slope which formed much of the outside of the desk also lifted away to reveal a compartment large enough for paper and envelopes and a little packet of sealing wafers; other openings, however, were more difficult to discover – but its interior was still the most private space he had in this job and the thought of putting it out around children who might or might not lash out magically at any time horrified him. So he left it in his room every morning and instead carried on, in the spare moments he could snatch away from employment during the day, writing on the back of a staff memo with a scrap of pencil. It was these scribbles he was reading over as, his head aching, he walked more or less automatically to the staff table and sat down, only putting his notes away when he realized that there were, in fact, real people there.

He did not think the people in his head appreciated this concession to the supremacy of physicality, but there was no help for it. This – fit, or whatever it was, would pass probably in another day at most – he had had these spells before and knew this – and for a while he’d write nothing at all, and since he did not have time to dedicate to forcing himself to write once it passed the way he had in his previous life, he would have to give the whole story up once he was back in more thorough command of his faculties. For now, however, the rest of the faculty non-verbally commanded that he put up a façade of fairly normal behavior and interests, and other people’s wishes were his commands just now – which was why he did sometimes wonder why students supposedly lusted after adult life.

He was surprised by the librarian, who he hadn’t seen much of since that dramatic display during That Staff Meeting, being the one to specifically require non-writerly behavior of him, but he nodded when greeted. “I still haven’t decided if we should have just kept giving them classes through midterm,” he said, tilting his head toward the student body to indicate who ‘them’ was even though it was doubtless obvious from context. “But things go. You?”

  • I am a reasonable, non-stabby humanTarquin Fox-Reynolds, Sat May 5 13:03
    Tarquin took a seat at the staff table, trying not to stab too moodily at his lasagne. He was spending a lot of time floo calling back home, but his family were insisting that he occasionally needed... more
    • I...am a non-stabby human? — Grayson Wright, Thu May 24 16:48
      • That's probably the most important partTarquin Fox-Reynolds, Fri May 25 21:41
        It was Grayson who had joined him. He wasn’t entirely sure how they felt about each other, given their last encounter… He worried that Grayson felt awkward around him, which made him feel a bit... more
        • Are there many reasonable stabby humans?Grayson Wright, Sun May 27 21:41
          Gray considered the argument for discontinuing lessons for the break. “Hm, fair – though if they’re going to explode things anyway, it might be better to have them where you can watch them instead of ... more
          • We have been forcibly incarcerated with teenagers...Tarquin Fox-Reynolds, Mon May 28 07:57
            “Indeed. I am quite glad that they’re back to being your responsibility,” he nodded, when Grayson mentioned the possibility of explosions in the library. “I do hope anyone who was feeling… that way... more
            • Gray sympathized with the librarian’s position – he truly did – but he had to work to suppress a smile at the indignation roused on the part of the innocent books nevertheless. Could books, then, be... more
              • Which might make our stabbiness seem more reasonableTarquin Fox-Reynolds, Wed May 30 07:47
                “Drawing the line at learning a new alphabet seems a reasonable choice,” he acknowledged, when Grayson commented on Tatiana - it seemed ‘Tatya’ was for her friends, which made sense, but one could... more
                • To us or to the judge?Grayson Wright, Sun Jun 3 12:11
                  Gray preferred not to admit it, but he was secretly glad to hear someone else agree that learning a new alphabet was a reasonable place to draw the line. “I have figured out one thing about it, just... more
                  • I plead reasonable stabbiness on the grounds of diminished..Tarquin Fox-Reynolds, Tue Jun 5 08:28
                    “That’s interesting… Although very confusing,” he commented, as Grayson mentioned the not-quite-crossovers of the two alphabets, If one was going to have a different alphabet, he would have thought... more
                    • Diminished time to ourselves away from teenagers?Grayson Wright, Wed Jun 6 15:20
                      Gray thought about the issue of the connections between alphabets. “My guess would be that they’re related,” he said. “If - sorry, I’m tripping over myself here - if we look at alphabets as... more
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