Mentioned this on Patreon yesterday and putting it here now. I’m taking November 2 through the 15th off and going to chillax and recuperate a bit. I’ve got that section of time blocked off in my schedule with big letters that say “DO NOT SCHEDULE” and I’ve managed (for the most part) to avoid doing so.
Here’s the anthology update so you don’t have to wade through the rest for it. Yes, the anthology is still happening, but right now I’m working to get it handed off to someone else who has more bandwidth (and organizational skills) but everything should go as planned. But I am gently easing much of it off my plate.
Why? Because I’m tired. So tired. Between teaching and Zoom sessions I haven’t had a single day where I wasn’t working in one form or another in recent months. I’ve been keeping on keeping on unrelentingly since the beginning of 2020 and I need to spend two weeks recharging after 10 months of staying cheerful and finishing two books and a bunch of stories in the face of the pandemic, dealing with the death of two close loved ones, an attempt to move to Portland that fell through, a lot of ongoing online harassment, and the general state of American politics.
There’s a section in the LotR where Bilbo talks about feeling like a pat of butter that’s been scraped over too much toast, and while I have done nothing as noble as being a Ring bearer, I do identify strongly with that physical state. My eyes are scratchy and I’ve got that rubbed-raw, sleepless feeling that comes from being in a mode that has me awake at 2 am wondering about where this world is wandering. Sometimes the urge to go lie down is overwhelming, but it’s so hard to turn the hamster wheels of my thoughts off long enough to nap. I’m more distractible and I can tell I’m missing details sometimes (more than usual, at least). Time to take a breath.
So I won’t be running the daily Zoom calls during that period, but Jennifer Brozek and P.J. Manney have kindly agreed to run some in my absence, and I’m getting a few things set up, such as a Writing Games session run by Evan J. Peterson, and a mid-November NaNoWriMo-checkin workshop. I’m not doing coaching calls and I’ve tried to book as few events as possible (though I am reading with William S. Gibson mid month!) I’ll be checking e-mail only once or twice a day. Posts have been set up and scheduled for here and Patreon. Other preparations include a lot of recent de-cluttering and cleaning; yesterday I got a lot of stuff removed from the kitchen and set up a new plant rack.
I’m going to take the wellsprings that bubble up inside me and turn them on myself for a little while, and I’m tremendously grateful to be able to do so. I have the great good luck of being naturally cheerful and pretty happy on a day to day basis. I also have the luck to be able to take two weeks off to make sure that stays the same, and one of my resolutions is to start doing this every six months, going forward.
What will I do during those couple of weeks?
- Get up when I feel like it, and nap when I want to.
- Lots of walking. I’m feeling out of shape, plus there will be fewer people out and about now that the weather is getting bad.
- Lots of reading. I’ve got a number of books queued up for my enjoyment, and I plan to spend at least a couple hours each day reading.
- Lots of writing. I’m going to try to do at least a flash story each day, but I’m going to be writing for the sake of it, rather than for a particular market or project. I’m going to include some letter writing as well.
- A little bit of art. I like doing paper art and linoleum prints, so I think I’ll try to do a couple linoleum prints that might become holiday cards.
- Tend my cabbages. Well, figuratively. I am a Maryland-certified Master Gardener and one thing I’ve done while staying at home is been around enough to tend my houseplants. I’ve picked up a number of tillandsia, orchides, and some fancy succulents, plus started some bonsai from seed and rescued a pitcher plant that my neglect had nearly killed. (Everyone is fine now.)
- Catching up on adulting stuff, like dentist and doctor’s appointments, without worrying about having to schedule around them.
TLDR: If you don’t hear from me between Nov 2 and 15, I’m taking a break. I’m trying to clear everything away before then, and I will definitely still be checking e-mail at least once a day in case of emergencies, but overall, thanks for your patience.