How is it June already? I’m still sorting myself out, trying to catch up on a variety of projects and opportunities that all seem to be ready to be tackled right this moment. However, rather than use this as an opportunity to complain about all the things I have not done yet I think that it is a great time to talk about what’s going well.
As I discussed in my previous post about grief I have been reading Anais Nin’s unexpurgated diary published under the title Mirages for 1939-1947. I had started reading this diary in 2014 and I have finally finished it! My reading rate varies a lot but generally there aren’t a lot of books that take me that long to finish. Usually when they do it is because I can’t really binge read them, they aren’t always tedious but they are usually books that are challenging to digest on a normal time scale. I finished the book on Saturday night. Completing it felt like such a satisfying moment. So much of what we do in our lives is a marathon but we generally treat everything like a race with the fixation on the finish line.
Deciding what book to tackle next isn’t even on my radar because I always have several books that I’m reading or listening to at any given time. Most of my reading lately has been in audiobook format because I can work on art while I listen. The other reason I am not too worried about what to start next is that I have a lot of reading to do from my own book.
In December 2018 I got sick, the sickest I have been in my life and I had to spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing because everything made me feel worse. It was a nasty cold and I still don’t know where it came from. It was then that I figured out how to rework my Starchild series. Now that it is June 2019 I have my notes reorganized, the first book in the series is outlined and I am working on all the relevant scenes that haven’t yet been written.
Something I did entirely right when I was originally working on the series was that I kept sections for all the characters, off-page characters and off-page details that would not be featured in the story but were details that helped me understand the motivation of my characters and also the ripple effects of their actions on the world around them. There were a few characters who were simply periphery to my main character who have helped me to really flesh out the primary story in a more compelling way.
What I have been struggling with through May is keeping all the details canon which has involved figuring out how to utilize my notes without becoming bogged down by them in the process. Yesterday, I discovered that one of my characters is younger in a scene than I had remembered her to be and what I found surprising was that this revelation was not only helpful but has been making it more interesting to write and try to express in a way that feels authentic in context (rather than feeling like I’m painting by numbers).
Artistically I have been tackling things that scare me (like drawing people) and finding techniques that allow me to better express what I am searching to translate visually.
I think social media, the internet and the way we use them have a way of making us feel inadequate because everyone else seems so competent and seems to be living their best life while we’re struggling to rub two ideas together that can catch a glance. Along that line I feel like I have hardly completed anything and now that the year is half way over I wonder if I will get enough done by the end of the year to feel like I can say I have accomplished something. But, as I reflect here I realize that every day that I prioritize one small thing over the fear of not being enough is a day I able to add one more thing to my list. Even when it takes five years to finish a book, the moment eventually arrives when it is done and that ending–the sense of completion–is also the promise that now is another beginning. It happens word by word, letter by letter and it fills me with gratitude for how much I have been able to learn and do so far.