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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Harris’

Lately, my writing life seems to be floundering. Ideas come to me, but so far into the night that they remain unwritten. During the day, my mind is dizzy with a million different distractions. Thoughts flutter inside my head like butterflies caged in jars. Keep them inside too long and they forget how to fly.

I need to go back to what started this decade of writing. Like so many good things in life, it was born of difficulty. Do we grow at all if our lives are smooth journeys?

My first piece of published writing happened almost by default, like so many things in my life. It was 1998 and Ontario was knee-deep in the “Common Sense Revolution,” Conservative Premier Mike Harris’ brainchild. I was a teacher, and his “revolution” was making me and thousands of other teachers sick. I was also dealing with stressful personal issues, among them the long illness and death of my mother, and when it came time to return to work following my bereavement time, I couldn’t do it.

Five months later, I decided to leave teaching permanently rather than return to the school system that the Common Sense Revolution had created. The decision scared me. I was a forty-eight year old wife and mother, with my share of a household to support. Leaving the teaching profession would leave a huge void in my life. But I was also angry and disillusioned, and I wanted people to know why I felt it necessary to resign. People needed to learn what was going on in Ontario schools.

My campaign started with a letter to the Toronto Star entitled “Time to Quit the Classroom,” and it was published on March 11, 1999. My letter of resignation was sent the same day. I received my first payment for an article and began calling myself a writer. But did I know what that really meant or what I wanted to write? Not a chance. I couldn’t even tell if I had a smigdgen of talent. But leaving the safety of the classroom, it was all I had left to hang onto. I’ve been hanging by my fingertips ever since.

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