Revelations, reading, and life

Shortly after my last post here, I hit a revelation with regards to my writing, both the novel and other, shorter WIPs. It’s one of those revelations that seem so very obvious after the fact, but really I wouldn’t have hit upon it without the bouncing ideas off of people that I tend to do, and had not one of the bouncees said, “Well, why don’t you do X instead?” In this instance, I was bemoaning the outlining and how much working exclusively on the novel was sucking the joy out of writing for me, and how there is a trend with this problem, going back years and many novels that have died horrible deaths, and how I really want to get beyond this point. It’s more than just ceasing my belly-aching and getting on with the work of writing; it’s figuring out why the joy goes away. It’s not a matter of hitting parts of the book that are difficult and having to get through it. It’s a matter of starting a novel length work, getting a decent amount of the way into it, and realizing that the joy of writing has been drying up to the point where I end up seriously considering never writing again because the magic is gone, the joy is gone, the desire to explore is gone. I mourn the passing of this phase of my life — because I’ve identified as a writer longer than I’ve identified as anything else — and I spend time reading or knitting or throwing myself into a non-writing spiritual practice. And the I hit upon an idea, a kernal of a story that makes me excited all over again, and the cycle repeats itself. I want to get the novels that I have in my head out into the world, and I want to get to the bottom of this cycle so I can root out the problem and cultivate something that nourishes me. Outlining was not working the way I hoped it might. So, I bounced a bit about it off a sounding board who listened and then said, very matter-of-factly, “You’ve got a backlog of shorter story ideas that are waiting patiently for you to get through with the rough draft of the novel. Why not work on those, as those are your most comfortable pace, and work on the novel as it comes, instead of forcing it and thus squeezing all the joy from the process, for you?”

Hrm.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I haven’t been at liberty to focus on writing this week, but nonetheless I’ve still produced 6 pages of the new story, and am 1/3rd the way through it. And I am utterly in love with it. Things with Brit and Thistle will continue apace as it continues, and i’m not worrying so much about a deadline with them, now. Because, there are these other stories, you see.

So far July has been eventful. Our dog suffered heatstroke on the 2nd, complete with a seizure. Quick action on our part very likely saved his life — there was cold water bathing and ice packs and fans and all sorts of attention of him for a solid five hours before he started to come out of the seizure stupor. Folks who know me know that my life is built around caring for my companions. It worked out nicely that I was able to stay home with him the following day, and then Beth was home with him on her mini-vacation after that, and then it was my weekend, so that he wasn’t alone for a whole week after the seizure. We had long bouts of story time, for he relaxes the most when he hears my voice, the silly dog. And our cats are amazing and wonderful and very concerned, and Neech wouldn’t leave his side once we allowed him to join the dog in the bedroom.

In happier news, Beth has been participating in Tour De Fleece, a spin-along challenge that coincides with the dates of Tour de France, and it’s been exciting to see what she produces and awesome to see her interacting with other fiber artists in a supportive and supporting way. Happiest of all? She’s discovered a way of washing her fleeces that end up with the fleeces *and* our tub being way less gross at the end of it all. YAY!! She’s been madcrazy getting fiber washed, and soon I won’t be able to sing my fleece song . . . until she gets more.

On the reading front we are picking our way through Color: A Natural History of the Pallette, after having picked up and set aside A World Full of Gods, the latter of which was interesting but largely unnecessary for us, at this point. I’ve also read some fiction, but lately it’s been mostly non-fiction.

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