It’s the start of the academic year in the college town I live in. This is one of two weekends where locals tend to hole up in their homes if at all possible as students arrive like a swarm of locusts, devouring everything from all the stores and restaurants. The other weekend is at the end of the year when they leave for the summer, but this time brings the influx of people just learning their way around town. It throws the local bus system out of whack for a couple of weeks. At least one out-of-towner will drive the wrong way down a one way street. And some alum dropping off a legacy student will try to relive their heyday in one of the local bars.
It only now occurs to me that it could be that energy that’s been screwing with my sleep cycle this past week. I’ve been tossing and turning most nights, sleeping either 3-4 hours or 9-10. Last night and the night before, there was just no point being in bed before 4:00 in the morning. But life goes on, with work and writing and such.
This week I’ve been doing some experimenting with how I do copyedits, since I didn’t have a lot of time to bust out the binder I usually carry of printed story MSS. I kinda like where this is going…
— Don Pizarro (@DonP) August 19, 2021
And that’s how I made most of my writing progress this week.
- This week’s writing chain: 4 days
- Total writing days this week: 6 days
- Pieces out on submission: 1
One piece out because I got a rejection yesterday and I haven’t sent it out to the next market yet. Will definitely do that before the end of the day.
But in the meantime, I’m going to sit with the feeling of not being torn up over missing a writing day and how nice it feels. Not just because it’s the start of the academic year, but because fuck it, that’s why. My therapist would be proud! I’ve got several months’ worth of data showing me that my writing life doesn’t have to fall apart after missing a day here and there. Sure, I love it when I’m on a streak. I’ll fight to maintain streaks!
Some days I’ll lose, or decide I don’t need to play that day, and that’s okay!
Over the past couple of months I’ve been researching the PNW writer Tom Spanbauer and his Dangerous Writing workshop which I heard about through his former student Chuck Palahniuk’s book CONSIDER THIS: MOMENTS IN MY WRITING LIFE AFTER WHICH EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT.
Palauhniuk goes into some of the workshop’s concepts in the book. While perusing some old interviews, I stumbled onto this old podcast episode with Spanbauer where he seems to summarize what I understand to be at the core of his concepts.
It’s your own heart. And it’s the fear that you have in your heart, or the sadness that you have in your heart that makes us human, and if you can go to that and look at that and talk about it, you got setting, you got character, you got motivation… you got it all. The story’s here.
I can’t remember exactly how I chanced upon this, but
it occurred to me that part of what I’ve been trying to do lately is figure out for myself What Nourishes Your Writing Ecosystem?
When considering your own ecosystem, dear writer, you need to be aware of the elements that make up your life as well as the elements you’d like to make up your life. While many ecosystems have similarities, there are just as many differences, and so these specific worlds we inhabit are incredibly personal. Remember that you need to be thinking about you at your best and your writing at its best. When you are calm and easefully connected and your creativity is flowing—when your head and heart are in harmony and your breath and body feel spacious and expansive—what else is happening in your life? When you feel like you’ve hit your stride and could go miles without even becoming winded, what is your internal state? Pay attention. Make a list of these details. These are the elements of your ecosystem.
This, on the other hand, is an interview with rock critic Jessica Hopper from a place you all know I read regularly, BELT MAGAZINE.
What does it mean to be a Midwestern critic? For Jessica Hopper, the answer is simple: there’s a lot less room for bullshit, and far more attention paid to just doing the work.
Basically, I have a new book in my TBR queue now, THE FIRST COLLECTION OF CRITICISM BY A LIVING FEMALE ROCK CRITIC.
Caught RUROUNI KENSHIN: THE FINAL and now I feel like I want to go back to the original anime series and OVAs.
IN THE WILD
Since I’ve been actually going out in the world, I haven’t had too many pictures up of the fur children lately, though Asher Mir got the spotlight a few weeks ago. And Mazikeen is definitely the jealous type; I have the scars to prove it.
She’s actually quite content in this picture. I think…