Journal

The Sunday Circle: Monday’s Shadow

So….I’ve been pretty remiss in keeping up with plans (or making plans, or even thinking about plans) this August. Or–let’s be honest–July. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing things! Just not always writing things… Still plowing away on my flexible Atilier program, which I am totally loving, and it’s been a great way to both 1) get out of the house regularly, and 2) focus on something visual that I can actually witness progress being made, and 3) it’s been a nice change of pace.

One of the things I’d been hoping to test this summer was whether or not taking breaks between writing days would help the creative process. Finishing the novel had left me totally creatively drained, and exposed some of the weaknesses in my process. It took pretty much all of July before I even wanted to think about writing again, and that was okay, since I’d built in the month to just let things be (houseguests, etc.). But it wasn’t always a very relaxing month, and starting the drawing program drew my creative attention in other directions, so soon it became almost mid-August and I had neither stuck to my “practice writing” schedule, nor even really considered any new work to play around with. BUT. Last week, I managed to start dabbling with some world-building for a new project. It’s rambling, mostly, almost Wikipedia-style entries on a random assortment of subjects, but I’ve really enjoyed just playing like that. I sorted through a few piles of ancient papers that had been languishing in our basement, and found a handful of stories I actually really love, and might actually want to play with revising at some point. (For context on my life: Bug is currently in the front room with his forklift truck, singing horribly off-key, “I’m A WIIIIIIIGGLE! I’m a WIIIIIIIIIGGLE!” and I’m barely able to keep the giggles in, because it’s hilarious. And distracting. But hilarious.)

And upon the request of a few friends who wanted to sample a few chapters from the novel, I actually forced myself to reread a bit of the draft and came away…not totally distressed. It needs beaucoup work, but there are bones there I do really like, and I find that the time away (with a little light, unstructured dabbling in alternate work) has definitely got the creative energy back. I’m starting to really feel the creative dogs tugging on the leads, ready to run, and I’m still strategically holding them at bay for now. I’ve got some vacation with the family coming up in September, and after that, I’ve told myself, I can start wading into the novel edit. Being forced to wait, rather than jumping in at the first itch, has been an interesting exercise. I’m not 100% sure of the lessons learned yet, but I do feel like I’m hitting on something about how I function creatively at this point in my life that may be important in the years to come.

So after all that blathering:

What am I working on this week? Continuing to sporadically world-build. I recognized that a hesitation to develop much prior to the last novel draft made things squiffy and difficult in the middle rather than being liberating, so for my next project, I want a few pillars to be able to lean on. So far, it’s been an amazingly delightful process, because I’m not using massive lists or anything else to guide me through it: I’m simply writing snippets (with footnotes, because <3 footnotes) of whatever strikes my fancy, and little bits that might be helpful to know in advance. No imminent plans to start writing the draft; I’m just letting it ripen a bit, because I’m pretty sure it’s not where it needs to be conceptually just yet. But it’s getting closer. There’s a hint of ruddiness on the skin, but it’s flesh is still astringent and tart. (#newenglandappleseason)

What’s inspiring me this week? I’ve been particularly obsessed with interior design targeted towards men (you know: distressed leather, dark wood, open beams, minimalist decoration, industrial accents, massive bookshelves–the typical “man cave” searched on Pinterest). I’ve always loved the “club-style” look, with wingback chairs and fireplaces and chess sets and scotch (and probably a whiff of tobacco), but taking time to really think about what I aesthetically like in a room or in clothing has made me pay a lot more attention to the adult gender devisions and assumptions.

Also finally KonMari’d(ish) my kitchen, and oh my word, it’s sooooooo tidy now! It’s a crazy small kitchen with about six square feet of counter space (which is almost always cluttered over), but being able to look into the kitchen and see things neatly labeled and easily accessible has been a delight. (Side note: the kitchen is usually where I write, so having it neat and tidy makes it sooooo much easier to focus on fictional things.) (ZOMG, she has a manga version of that book now?! *makes mental note*)

What action do I need to take? Not writing-wise so much (that’s an action I need to not take, AKA do not buy editing supplies until after September school starts, because there’s no point in paying that much for notebook paper when it’ll be ten cents in two weeks!), but I do need to call the vet (ancient kitty hasn’t been grooming himself too well lately on the back end, and he’s shown some signs of arthritis in the past, so I need to have his pain level checked and do something about it), and I need to get a hair cut. I’m starting to get shaggy and it’s making me crazy, and it’s just very, very much time. But that means I have to call people and talk to people. XP

For those in the US, and like us not on the happy yellow shadow line, Happy (Partial) Eclipse Day!

2 thoughts on “The Sunday Circle: Monday’s Shadow”

  1. Good to hear from you again Maggie. Sounds like the creative juices are working away. Putting drafts aside for a rest before editing is essential, so holding off on the novel edit is a good plan.Sounds like you’ve plenty on your plate anyway.

    1. Thanks Ree! Great to be back! I’ve definitely needed the distance on this one–I think when I finished, I was ready to burn it. But I’m looking forward to chiseling it into shape. ^_^

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