Monday Update: On looking for an easier world, loving poetry, and a progress report

“…don’t waste time
looking for an easier world.”

~ Mary Oliver, Dogfish

In a poem that already spoke to me, to a lot of what I’ve been dealing with over the last couple of years, this line jumped out and hit me square between the eyes.

I’m so guilty of this, of constantly looking for an easier world, and easier life, and it really is such a waste of time, isn’t it? It’s a distraction that keeps me from just getting on with it and living my actual life.

I’m pretty sure this is a 9 thing (that’s my Enneagram number, for those not keeping track). After all, the sloth is our spirit animal, and our besetting deadly sin. We 9s just want to float through life without much challenge, and when we are challenged we get angry and resentful, except anger is too challenging, so we deny it and just get sleepy instead.

But I know the truth, that challenges are good for us, or at least for me. When I’m in a healthy place, the right kind and amount of challenge and hardship pushes me to get up and shake off my complacency and perform like a 3, and this is when I thrive.

But it’s so tempting, always, to embrace my inner sloth and go to sleep and numb myself with entertainment or distract myself with work, to seek out the path of least resistance, to not simply deny but resent the hard work that needs to be done to get where I want to be.

These Monday morning musings are brought to you by the numbers 9 and 3 and the Enneagram and my reignited love of poetry and not enough sleep over the last few nights.

I’ve always had an on-again, off-again love affair with poetry. I wrote a lot of it back in my twenties and early thirties. I even did the occasional live reading. Yes, I, who hates public speaking and am struggling to work up the nerve to start my own podcast because I feel so goshdern awkward, actually stood up in front of a coffee shop full of people on poetry night at Borders and read my poetry aloud. I can’t really believe it, either, but it happened, more than once. A long time ago.

Poetry kind of fell off my radar about a decade ago, when we got hit with a long string of hardships, the kind of challenges that don’t spur you on to greatness but that instead break you and force you to rebuild your whole identity and worldview. Fun times.

But lately I’ve been jonesing for poetry. I feel like my life is better with poetry in it, and it makes me feel a little more like my old self, back before the breakening, when I was full of daydreams and possibilities. I’ve been writing poetry again, too, but I have no plans to get up and read it, or share it anywhere. It’s something I’m doing just for me, and there’s healing in that.

What I’m Working On

Deliverance edits are continuing apace, albeit more slowly than I’d like. With several days of rain in the forecast, we spent most of last week busting our butts to rake and burn as much of the remaining leaves as possible. We’re on a break from yard work thanks to the rain finally arriving this weekend, but when it passes there’ll be more leaves to deal with, because they truly are never ending, and we’re quickly running out of time to get them out of the way before mowing season starts.

At any rate, this weekend I also started the second novella in my upcoming Mae Bishop series, because I felt inspired, despite already having a backlog of stories that need editing. I’m trying to write at least 1,000 words a day on that before switching to editing my novel. At this rate, I’m piling up finished first drafts a lot faster than I can edit them. I might have to stop writing for a while and just focus on getting all of these manuscripts edited and ready to publish, but I want to get at least two more Mae Bishop novellas done as quickly as I can, and also the third and final book of Trilogy of the Damned. I might also need to switch up my methods and stop fast-drafting and start editing as I go.

This would be a lot easier if I could just write full time. As if I’m not the billionth writer to say that.

Newsy Bits & Sharing

If you’re the sort of person who actually leaves book reviews, I’ve got free digital ARCs of both Dominion of the Damned and Women’s Work up for grabs at Booksprout. There are a limited number of copies available of each, so be sure to grab yours quickly if you want one.

And please remember, a book review can be as simple as “I enjoyed this book” or “I didn’t enjoy this book.” Nobody’s asking you to write a book report.

Over on my writing and publishing blog, I shared four ways to hone your story instincts and become a better storyteller.

If you’re a chronic illness sufferer, you might want to check out this blog post series from Kristine Kathryn Rusch about writing with chronic illness. Even if you’re not a writer, I think it has broader applicability for how to manage your life and work around your illness. Here’s part one, part two and part three.

This thirsty squirrel might be the most precious thing you see today.

And now I must get back to work, but I’ll leave you with a photo of my dog Pete sharing my blanket cocoon (which, in my completely unbiased opinion, might give thirsty squirrel a run for his money).

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