I kind of feel like I should start this with some kind of ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ riff.
November was… a month. You probably could’ve guessed that—I barely posted to the blog at all, and I’m nearly two weeks late with this particular post. It’s not that it was a bad month, but… there was a lot of stuff going on (most of it good), and I’ve been kind of terrible about managing my time.
I’ll start with the ‘worst of times,’ because that’ll make the good stuff even better.
1. falling… behind on just about everything that isn’t directly related to The Black Sun, including my photography, this blog, and reading other blogs. I’ll catch up soon.
2. assembling… the gallery wall I’ve been planning since I moved into the apartment. (Five years ago?) It looks fantastic.
3. dying… my hair purple, completely by accident. It wasn’t too bad—faded to pink in a day or so, and now it’s just a few very pale pink highlights, which I’ve been getting so many compliments on—but it’s renewed that urge to go properly pink again, so… yeah. Might be a problem.
4. breaking… out the big down coat. Already.
5. running… into a roadblock in the Big Scary Photo thing. It’s on hold for at least another month or two, and I’m so annoyed.
6. trying… to figure out what to bake for Christmas. I’m running out of time.
7. hoping… I can make my phone last just a few more weeks. This is a terrible time to need to shop for a replacement, but I can’t put it off much longer.
8. thinking… about my goals and plans for 2020. I’m really looking forward to the new year.
9. wondering… if all the typing and sewing (I’ve been sewing!) I’ve been doing lately might’ve messed up something in my wrist.
10. taking… a big step in the right direction.
Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in November: writing the other, art & politics, creative success, and more.
1. underestimating… the windchill. I’m still figuring out the right combinations of coat+sweater for this weather.
2. trying… an apple from one of the trees that’s gone wild next to the parking lot of my apartment building. (What? I’ve been curious.) The verdict: tart-sweet and very crisp, reminded me of a russet in both taste and texture, but it didn’t have the leathery russet skin. No idea what it was, but it wasn’t just the result of some kid throwing away an apple core thirty years ago. (This was farm/church land 60-100 years ago, and I know that some of the apple trees are from that era.)
3. running… behind on pretty much everything blog-related. I’ll get caught up this week.
4. watching… Dolemite Is My Name. It’s one of those movies that makes me want to make stuff. So much fun.
5. making… some amazing bread.
6. planning… a couple of craft projects. Because I’m not busy enough right now, apparently.
7. panicking… because a technical glitch somehow sent my online pizza order halfway across the country. (I got it sorted—kind of—but it was still a nerve-wracking few minutes… and a late pizza. Also, I feel bad for the delivery guy in Ontario who may have had to go to what streetview suggests is a creepy deserted corner of an industrial park and didn’t even get paid for it.)
8. starting… to think that my running season might be coming to an end. I might have a week or two left before it’s consistently too cold.
9. painting… the living/dining room. Finally. Now I just have one bedroom, the kitchen, and the entrance to do and I’ll be done with this awful beige forever.
10. looking… forward to a (slightly) more normal week.
1. wishing… for a normal week. It’s hard to build a routine lately.
2. getting… inspired. I’ve got a bunch of new ideas for These Modern Things all of a sudden. (Probably because I’ve also got a huge list of revisions to do on The Black Sun.)
3. accepting… that my Lomo’Instant is dying. (It still technically works, but only in full sun, and even then it’s iffy.) It’s such a cute camera, but… yeah. I’m annoyed that it didn’t last longer.
4. trying… not to go overboard on Hallowe’en candy. (And failing.)
5. daydreaming… about converting a school bus into a tiny house. Someday….
6. waking… up at 4:30 in the morning because the cat hates this particular time change with a passion.
7. watching… so many movies.
8. shifting… to a traveler’s notebook for my bullet journal and other day-to-day stuff. (I’ve had it for a while, but I wanted to finish up the book I was using first.) I’m not sure what I think of it yet; I might end up switching back to a Moleskine in January.
9. recycling… another bag of stress-inducing clutter. Such a great feeling.
10. feeling… a bit overwhelmed.
(Getting to this a couple of days late, just because I didn’t want to publish three posts in one day.)
We’re getting into a weird time of year.
On one hand, the leaves have been amazing. I think I mentioned it before, but the last few years, it felt like the trees went from green to brown to bare with no stops in between. That hasn’t been the case this year.
I thought that October was going to be busy, that there were a lot of things that would get in the way of my creative goals.
It turned out to be even busier than I expected: I’ve only had one full week without interruptions (even today they’re testing the fire alarms in my building, which is always a joy—that’s why I’m working on this blog post instead of fiction), I’ve had inconvenient (but not serious) health issues crop up, and it’s just been generally difficult to stay motivated.
But I did it.
I’ll start with Violet Lane. I wanted to reach the midpoint by the end of the month. I’m not quite there, but I’m close. It’s on the horizon. And I like the story. It’s really good (considering it’s still very much a first draft, and ‘really good’ in this context means disjointed and messy and kind of terrible in some places), and more importantly, I’m having fun with it. It’s still not easy to write, and I’ve definitely had days when it just wasn’t working, but overall, writing it is a good experience this time around.
Also, I mentioned it on Twitter, but getting back into a proper mid-writing-session coffee break has done wonders for my writing routine. The caffeine helps, obviously, but mostly it’s the process of actually grinding the beans and heating the water. It gets me away from the work for a few minutes, but in a way that focusses, rather than distracts. It’s fantastic, and I love it.
Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in October: stories that are neither character- nor plot-driven, the good guy/bad guy myth, thoughts on digital privacy, the history of women’s restroom lounges, and more.
Less than one hundred days left to go in this particular project, and I’m starting to wonder what comes next.
I know that this sort of daily project does wonders for my photography. I’m proud of some of the photos I’ve taken over the last ten months, and I know that they wouldn’t have happened without the commitment I made to post something new every single day. I wouldn’t have gotten into the habit of carrying a real camera so often, and probably would gone days or weeks without taking a photo. (Just look at 2018.)
1. putting… off the upgrade to Catalina; it’s going to break too many applications I rely on.
2. reaching… the point where I have to decide whether I’m going to try (again) to grow out my hair, or if I’m going to chop it all off.
3. falling… down a rabbit hole entirely composed of Japanese stationery supplies. I might have a new obsession.
4. planning… the final (for now) round of edits on The Black Sun.
5. emptying… another one of those boxes I’ve been hauling (unopened) from apartment to apartment since at least 2008. The decluttering process is slow, but it’s still moving along.
6. thinking… about making some changes to the newsletter. Is there anything you’d like to see? Writers or photographers who do it particularly well? If you don’t subscribe, is there something in particular that would change your mind? Let me know in the comments, or via the contact form if you’d rather get in touch that way.
7. starting… my Christmas shopping. In early October. There were specific budget-related reasons, but I’m still pretty sure that’s a new record for me.
8. feeling… relieved. I took care of a few chores that were really stressing me out—nothing serious, I’m just terrible at adulting—and I’m so glad to be done with them.
9. realizing… that I’m a little bit out of practice when it comes to grinding coffee by hand. I had a good routine down in the spring, but I’ve been drinking cold brew in the office all summer. It might take a week or two to get the muscle memory back.
10. finding… my way back into a good writing routine.