Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Happy post-holidays! I'm sorry for the long absence, but I was consumed by writing for pretty much all of October, November, and December, putting in long, frustrating days on the word processor and not doing very much else. I even discovered something new about my process: When I get to the last 50 pages of a long project, like a novel, I am physically unable to stop working. It doesn't matter if I'm on the first draft or the last, once I hit those last 50 pages, I am on it. This is great for getting work done, but it is not great for pretty much anything else, including but not limited to: eating, exercising, spending time with friends and family, paying attention to my poor neglected dog, and sleeping. In fact, when I'm working on the last 50 pages, apparently my mind thinks that "Go to bed at 10pm to wake up at 6am and get to work" means "Take a three-hour nap and wake up at 1am, and also 4am, and who needs eight uninterrupted hours of sleep anyway? Not you! Get back to it I don't care how tired you are!"

I'm happy to report that I have a very clean, nearly-final draft on my hands--I need a couple weeks distance from it to reevaluate and revise one last time--and that I have a brand-spankin' new resolution to go with it. And that resolution is:

Play harder.

In the past, I've made (and kept!) resolutions like, "Get into grad school!" and "Get a book published!" but after the events of October, November, and December, I really needed a different take.

See, my holidays--while awesome and enjoyable on the days when I actually didn't work, which were few--were pretty terrible. And I love the holidays. I love the time between Thanksgiving and New Years, when all the Christmas decorations are out and there's that cheery feeling like people are going to make a little more of an effort to be nice to each other, and even if that isn't really true, the feeling is still there. I love Christmas carols. I even love Christmas shopping, which for me starts at the beginning of October and continues all the way up until a week before Christmas. I love feeling like people are thinking of each other more often and loving each other a little more.

But in 2013, instead of getting to enjoy all that, my holidays were spent like this:

Yeah. On New Year's Eve I was sitting alone at my computer frantically trying to put in a last few edits. I did finish (wahoo!) at 11pm, but was so exhausted and mentally dead that I couldn't even stagger across the hall to my neighbor's little NYE shindig. That's right. I couldn't even walk across the hall I was so tired. And when I was awoken an hour later by the sounds of fireworks and people celebrating outside, I made a resolution:

In 2014, I'm going to play harder. I'm going to set less rigorous deadlines. I'm going to give myself more breaks. I'm going to set aside time to do things like read and watch movies and go to museums and to the mountains! I'm going to hang out with friends and play games! I'm going to cook more dinners and make more desserts! (Thanks to a bunch of cooking/baking Christmas gifts, this seems inevitable.) And I'm sure as hell not going to set myself a stupid deadline like, "Finish a novel by the end of December so you can't enjoy the time of year you love most."

Because as much as I love writing--even spending eight hours a day at my desk absorbed in an imaginary world with imaginary people--I want to love my life too. (And yes, writing is a part of that, but so are things like eating and exercising and dog! and people and sleep.) And if that means forcing myself to work a little less and play a little harder this year, so be it.

Happy new year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Myth Makers

    It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand that writers are not marginal to our society, that they, in fact, do all our thinking for us, that we are writing myths and our myths are believed, and that old myths are believed until someone writes a new one.


    I think writers should be more responsible than they are, as we’ve imagined for a long time that it really doesn’t matter what we say. I also often have First-Amendment schizophrenia — there’s a lot that I wish wasn’t popular and in circulation, I think there is a lot of damaging material in circulation. . . I think it’s a beginning for authors to acknowledge that they are myth-makers and that if they are widely read, will have an influence that will last for many years — I don’t think that there’s a strong awareness of that now, and we have such a young culture that there is an opportunity to contribute wonderful new myths to it, which will be accepted.
--Kurt Vonnegut (via

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Support Neighbor's Debut Album

I'm excited to share that the amazing composer for Philia, Nick Rattray, is planning to release a debut album with his band Neighbor. You can help them do it by supporting their Kickstarter campaign. They are already over 60% funded with one week to go.

Check out a live show!