My Rollercoaster Days

Artist unknown

Artist unknown

I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster, lately.

Students are back, which makes my work days both easier and more difficult. It’s great to be around that enthusiasm and excitement, especially at the start of a new semester, but they come with a set of headaches, too: technical issues, personal issues, conflicts, conundrums, and an air of chaos that’s been missing during the summer months. I know as soon as they settle into classes, the craziness will die down. I just need to make it that far.

Family-wise, I did some traveling over the summer. Mostly up to the old family homestead, which was fun, but the journey is tiring. Especially when work follows the next day. I’m back to Japan again in October, which I’m definitely looking forward to, though I could do without the minutiae involved in planning three different people’s schedules.

My stories are what truly keep me going day to day. Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to be my best days of the week, because I post new chapters on Wednesdays, and the feedback always gives me a jolt. I’m no longer so insecure that no feedback will make me drop a story mid-stream, but I fully admit seeing a new comment appear in my email inbox gives me a short adrenaline rush. Of course, that doesn’t last, but I go back every day or so to re-read some of the more thoughtful comments and questions to restore my confidence.

The other day, on my commute to work, I passed the painting above. It was just sitting there, alone, on the sidewalk by the station. No name on it, and nobody around. I knew it probably wouldn’t be there on my return walk, so I snapped a photo of it. I’m glad I did. That painting reminds me there are other people out there struggling, many in much greater ways than I am, but some in ways very similar to me. It also reminds me that there are really only four things in any person’s existence that truly matter: learning, laughing, loving, and living. We can all do those, no matter where we are in our lives, our careers, or our relationships.

I’ll keep working, naturally. I’ll keep spending time with my family. And, of course, I’ll keep writing. But when the ups and downs of my rollercoaster days start to wear me down, I’ll do my best to remember what I learned from seeing this painting on the street. Will you do, too?


15 thoughts on “My Rollercoaster Days

    • Thanks, Neeks. I’m glad I took the moment to take that snapshot, especially since the painting was not there when I walked that way again after work. I hope the artist knows s/he has inspired me by sharing it, even if only for a little while.

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  1. I’m glad you keep posting your work, no matter what. One thing I learned with those 100-word challenges (seems like ages ago!), was that I was writing them for the wrong reasons. That’s why I stopped doing them (at least publicly). I think we all need to find and understand our rhythm and our reasons for being here, posting our stuff to be read by others. If we aren’t getting the joy or the meaning out of it that we need, then why bother?

    Happy School Days!


    • That comment about the 100 Word Challenges is interesting, Kate. Why we write is almost as important as what we write. In some ways, more so. It took me a long time to understand that not everybody makes art for the same reasons, and everyone’s path to that feeling of fulfillment is different. It took me even longer to get off my high Art horse and see that my way is not the right write way. 🙂


  2. I’m afraid writing’s taken a bit of a backseat again for me, but I keep the stories in mind—and try to convince myself that they’ll flow more easily because of all the thinking when I can get back to them!

    Back in my academic days, late August and September were always a whir, too. So much to do and so many new faces. I hope your trip to Japan will give you both relaxation and inspiration. I’ll soon be away from the blogosphere until the end of the month, so if you don’t see a comment from me about your writing, that’s why!


    • As long as you keep a story close, JM, I think you’ll be able to step back into it. Returning to the routine might take some retraining, but the story will be there. I know my more beloved heroines and antiheroes and antagonists and villains may wander off to find themselves new adventures, but most of them return when I call. I’m sure yours will do, too. 🙂

      I hope you have some great adventures, too! I’ll look forward to reading about them whenever you get the urge to share. 🙂


  3. What a great painting. Perseverance makes anything possible. I now think of rejection as a chance to get better and find the best person for my project. Every rejection takes me one step closer to an acceptance. Emotionally, it’s always a rollercoaster. I retreat and surround my self with friends and family who believe in me and help me weather the dips and flips. 🙂


    • I know, Kourtney. It was right after everything in Ferguson started, and most everyone around me was moving around in this kind of subdued stupor. I was glad to find this little treasure, especially smack-dab in a metro area. I spent four years in the Bronx, where people rarely looked each other in the eyes, even on campus! Here, though, despite the city’s projected roughness, strangers help each other out; they smile and say hello on the street. I like to think this was a way for some anonymous artist to give quiet affirmation to the goodness we can find in each other, as well as to remind some others of us to do the same.

      It’s great you have that support circle, Kourtney. We need those folks when we’re riding the ebb. With them, though, it doesn’t usually last so long. 🙂


  4. Lovely post Mayumi, hope you’re properly settled back into the new school year now 🙂 I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, it’s on my list, one day! You’re a great writer, and always seem very committed to it. I need to think about what kind of writing I want to do now that I’m done with the studies. Love the painting, mostly I like that someone just put it there, presumably for people to see and be inspired as you were, and knowing that somebody would take it.


    • Ha ha – yes, Vanessa, the kids have calmed down into their routines, and we have, too. 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m looking forward to Japan, though I have been many times. I want to do England next year, and not just the west country!

      You deserve a break from writing, I think – a thesis can take a lot out of a person. But I hope to read some more of your lively posts and stories again when you’re ready. I still think about that Motley Goons dragon story you wrote a while back. I’d love to do a little animated version some day. 🙂


  5. I can understand exactly how you feel, (and sadly, my lack of activity for the better part of this year reflects it). Something about all the moving and organizing and sheparding and just supercalifragilisticexpialidouciousness that comes with life can conquer that spark of creation. How you do it so consistently never ceases to amaze.
    But in the end, wht I see in that painting is somewhere, someone has the spark that I have either supressed or let flounder. And I am thnakful to see it put to good use, even if I can’t do it all the time.


    • I sympathize with – but do not envy – that feeling of motion you describe, Shade. Sorry. My “creativity” is, in actuality, little more than self-indulgence. You’re one of the few people who has read a variety of my stuff, so you should know that. They’re really all the same story told over and over again, just in different permutations. 🙂

      I think you’ll feel the spark again before too long. Even if they stay in our heads and hearts, our stories don’t go away. You may find they’ve changed with your new experiences. That’s a good thing. And, you’re *living* out there, not simply imagining or postulating. That’s a world of difference.

      So glad to hear from you again!


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