monthly updates

All Things Considered

I haven’t been updating lately, because, well, it feels like nothing is happening. The plants grow, the days trickle past, no one goes anywhere, and nothing seems to be getting done under the weight of all of this time. Things are too big and to much is still happening for me to really think about events. I am guilty at times of overusing the word liminal, but it may be the word to apply to our times. We are transitional, oscillating, unsettled. Although it may be possible in theory to observe both our position and our velocity right now, our practical ability to keep track of either one is being tested to the limit.

Today, however, despite all of this, because it’s the end of the month, I sat down automatically to do the April reflections for Unravel Your Year. I generally do this with my bullet journal next to me, because evidently I am one of Those People now, and as I flipped through the month I was forced to admit that all things considered, April wasn’t so bad (for me–I am aware of great good fortune in this).

I added 6,000 words to the novel–still a long way from done, as I stalled out partway into yet another Camp NaNo, but it’s not nothing. I did a lot of yoga, am just a couple of days away from finally finishing one of those 30 Days things on Youtube. I’ve never made it more than halfway into that before. The weather has been too gross to get out much, so this past week, I’ve started using DownDog’s free trial to experiment with HIIT, which is… fun? in a this is amazingly awful wow I am in worse shape than I thought sort of way.

I haven’t finished reading many books, but to be fair one of the books I haven’t finished is David Copperfield, which is on the long side and also hardly anything happens in the first half of it. I have continued drawing my weekly zine doodle/journal out of some vague obligation to chronicle Daily Life in These Times. I’ve had a few nice chats with people. The family is hanging in there, surfing the frustrations and moods of our confined lives. The teen and I have started watching Adventure Time, which I have always meant to get to one day.

I dealt with a lot of crap and work and didn’t scream at anyone, even a little. I finished a big knitting project, and cast on the next one with barely a pause (the yarn is so pretty, you’re going to get lots of pictures).

So… yeah, things could be worse for us. Hope you can say the same, and are staying safe. and healthy.


monthly updates

… And Waiting

Two weeks down. Humans are a famously adaptable species, but this is a unique situation for many of us, albeit nigh-ubiquitous right now. One has good days and not-so-good days, and one is learning. I have spent the past week nailing down an early-morning routine that leaves me in a good spot; after 9:00 a.m. things get a little trickier. It’s not that I don’t have enough to do by any means (although having my oven broken for the past week has put a damper on one of my usual outlets); it’s finding the wherewithal to go and do them.

At least it’s spring, I have often consoled myself, and going outside is a pleasure. The picture on the right is the seeds the kids and I planted earlier this week, in a hurry to get up and doing. The winter has been so mild here, it seems likely that we won’t see frost again until October November.

(It’s hard to remember the climate crisis with this other crisis going on. Hopefully we can apply the lessons of one to the other!)

I can’t say I’ve been getting any writing done lately. I have gotten some knitting done recently while I sit through endless online meetings. In addition to gardening supplies, I have been indulging myself with fountain pens, lots of ink, and one large present, which I hope will be arriving this week. I have written a couple of letters, although doing so makes me feel like a walk-on in a Ken Burns documentary.

As I reflect, it seems that navigating the work situation is the strangest part of this. It feels farcical and wrong-headed, a case of direly misplaced priorities, to pretend that the only thing different is that I’m working from home all the time instead of once or twice a week. There is no virtue attached to sitting in a chair for eight hours a day just because that’s normally what I do on, say, Wednesday. (Not to mention the damage said chair is doing to my butt.) Perhaps some clarity will emerge from this, given time. We do have that right now.

Be well!

monthly updates

Wrapping up February

Good-bye to what has been one of the busiest months I can remember (among ones that didn’t involve adding members to the household, anyway). I was somewhat startled when I sat down this morning to review the calendar and write up my monthly look-back. Events two weeks ago seem much more distant, the lensing effect of many things crammed into a short period of time.

Today, however, things are quietly balanced. All of the chores I intended to do today are done. Dinner is marinating in the fridge. I finished reading Kafka on the Shore this morning, and while I would like very much to talk about it, I also feel like I ought to read it again before I even try. There’s a lot going on in that book, and I don’t think I understood half of it.

I am making a cup of lemon tea, which I will have in the handsomely glazed mug I bought from LJ Cohen at Boskone. While the water heats, I have been dipping in and out of Roger Zelazny’s Isle of the Dead, a book I haven’t visited in a long while. I don’t remember anything about it, though I do remember the short story he wrote in the same world. The younger children are off doing something edifying with their father for the afternoon. Ordinarily this means that silence reigns in the kitchen, but I am in the mood for something to listen to, and the TV is broken, so I have some music on. The weather is indecisive.

Once I hit Publish on this entry, I’ll poke at the novel for a little while — 54,040 words right now. I wrote three whole sentences last week, but I think I know what to do now. I have a volunteer project to work on this evening, and some knitting to do–I had a promising job conversation earlier this week, so with luck I will soon have a deadline for finishing this gift.

Events in the world continue, of course, but this afternoon I am going to be quiet.


monthly updates, writing

The Year in Writing – Numbers

A ballpark of my writing wordcount for the year breaks down as:

  • Draft 2 of the second Round Table book: 89,686
  • Draft 6 of Fairy Hills (so far): 47,283
  • NaNoWriMo: 50,010

Grand total: 186,979 words. Plus morning pages every day starting on September 10.

Not terrible, considering that there were entire months (like this one) in which I wrote virtually nothing. I feel like I am slowly homing in on the approach I want to take next year.

monthly updates

All That Year-End Stuff – 2019

I gave myself the weekend off last week, and next weekend we’ll be traveling, so here is my attempt at a year-end wrap-up.

2019-12-11 13.14.12

I deliberately left some space open as I was planning my 2019, and that paid well. It was a successful year in terms of my very limited writing goals; I finished the draft of Fairy Hills, and I have been reasonably diligent about blogging throughout the year. On top of that, I finished a first draft of another book, put another NaNoWriMo notch on my keyboard, and am halfway through revising the draft of Fairy Hills that started the year. (This book, I swear.)

I found clarity in my job search. I got involved with some volunteer opportunities, which I hope will lead toward a better place in 2020. I started working on a professional certification. I tried some new things in my work, with mixed results.

I spent a lot of time working on habits and lifestyle stuff. I quit Facebook and Candy Crush. I started running again, finished a couch-to-5k program, and bought a bike (and fell off of it a couple of times). I all but eliminated red meat. I signed up for a composting service. I tried growing things in our driveway, and they didn’t die. Diet Coke is now an occasional indulgence rather than a three-cans-a-day habit. I bought a drying rack for the laundry. I started a morning pages practice, and have been diligent about meditating. I’m still finding a place to fit language practice into my routines, but I haven’t given up.

Sometimes I think, “Haven’t given up!” should be my motto.

I read 35 books (still hope to finish a couple more–there it is again) and uncounted blog posts and articles. I did a little bit of knitting. I said goodbye to my grandfather, something I am still getting used to months later. I wrote a few letters. Listened to a lot of music. And of course I cleaned, cooked, shopped, decluttered, ferried children, went to work every day, and so on.

It probably shouldn’t surprise me that I’m ending the year tired, very much looking forward to a break, but I certainly can’t say that it has been a static time. I did a lot, learned a lot, and while I doubt that I will ever be 100% satisfied with myself on any score, I can honestly look at this year and say the time got used.

I will see you again in 2020, and we’ll talk about what might come. Have a wonderful New Year.