Growing Trouble

No life from those seeds. I will need to buy my plants this season.

Things have been trying the past few weeks: our full-time temporary work was cut off suddenly, so we’ve moved into job hunt mode. I had a great interview for a position–I never think so about interviews!–but didn’t even make it to the second round. Loki’s had a rough time since his neutering, and hot spots have landed him in a cone. He’s handling it like a champ, though, staying pretty mellow most of the day.

In good news, I did get two paintings in the Oxford Cultural Arts Commission‘s recent exhibit. These two:

In other good news, a friend introduced me and Ken to The Bugle, my new favorite audio newspaper for a visual world. Andy Zaltzman‘s relentless nihilism has proven a perfect comfort for me when I’m stewing too long in my narcissistic frustrations. At least there’s the meaningless void that undos us all, right?

Maybe better than good news, I’m tucking into the Nag Hammadi library again. After some haphazard writing for the Internet over the previous six months, I’ve realized how much I miss writing about what really matters to me. Apparently what matters to me isn’t geek pop culture or news about space, although who doesn’t like reading about either? No: I need a place to explore paradox, I need to delve into intricate, expansive, unanswerable questions. I need to talk about silly Jesus stories from the 3rd century, so The Apocryphal Devotional shall rise again.

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Planting Seeds

It may be a little late to plant seeds, but there they grow.

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Cherry tomato varieties this year. More to plant when I find more egg cartons.

Ran out of agave nectar this week, but the coffee is still good just with cream.

I’ve been attending a comic art workshop across the river, and working on entries for an art contest. I finally submitted an article long overdue. (Yay!) The spouseman and I have been working overtime in a warehouse with dusty books to pay the bills. I have an editing project to busy me this weekend, and a magnolia tree brightening my window.

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Loki continues to grow up into an awesome dog: quick witted and emotionally intelligent.

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Had been so nostalgic for city life these past few weeks that I forgot the good things about suburban heres and nows that I’d be nostalgic for in another time. It’s been a strange nostalgia, mixed with feelings of helplessness and confusion since Monday. I hope Boston heals.

Reaching Goals and Feeling Blue

I’ve been cranky the past few days–Startler and Waldorf cranky, without the smart zingers.

But I’ve got no excuse for it: I’ve written another piece for EcoGeek (so lucky!), and one for a new website, Dorkjuice, on my silly excitement for PAX East, and I have a few more articles about green tech and geek news on the horizon. Be still my heart: I’m writing. I’m writing about topics I’m interested in, and I’m learning to write in new ways for new audiences.

And I’m buzzing with pitch ideas, excited for these new projects. Most of me is blue, though. Inexplicably blue.

It’s strange how good fortune doesn’t necessarily correlate with an all-encompassing happiness boost. I’m moving along in my goals, but these successes haven’t shaken me from some lingering “why-do-I-exist” crisis that everyone must constantly undergo, right?

Right? At least near constantly? Once a week, maybe, do you, too, face down either 1) the strangeness of your upcoming death or 2) the bigger strangeness of your excessively unlikely presently alive status and what can be done with it?

What to do with one’s life doesn’t have to be couched in terms of work, I know. I know it’s possible for people to have vocations and livelihoods that don’t intersect. But do those who find their dream careers still feel these crises lumped in with thoughts of their livelihoods? Do the crises have a different flavor for you, the ones who made it, the people I admire, who do what they love even when it’s hard? Or maybe there are levels of “what am I doing with my life” that those who’ve found their calling still reach when they’re not wholly consumed by purpose.

I’m lucky to be making strides in writing and learning in action, but I still have this core crisis. I could write about that. Maybe it’s inevitable to write about that when it churns like it has been lately.

From Buzzfeed.

Snowed In

Like much of New England, we’re snowed in today. Spent the morning eating an extravagant brunch with my Gram, the afternoon doing laundry and playing with the puppy, and the evening so far involves catching up with friends and family over shoveling and snow drifts. Ken and I are filled with coffee and will soon continue our Downton Abbey viewings.

In other news, Ken and I saw The Colbert Report live on Wednesday (highly recommended!), and I’ve just started writing for EcoGeek.org! My first article was on a pee-powered generator, and there’re more alternative energy related posts to come next week.

Next week will also likely involve more snow romps for Loki.

3 Personal Writing Triumphs

Yes, that's the Chosen Collection in the background!

Loki enjoying a bully stick in his gigantic new bed.

1) I’ve written a guest blogpost for Hatch*, a new blog about religion, big questions, and the like. My post is personal and ranty; it’s very Millennial of me.

2) Reddit, known for harsh judgments and countless photos of adorable cats, has my first book’s first chapter in its capable, collective hands. Someone posted one critique already; I’m so grateful for the compliment sandwich, and the critical stuff in-between was more helpful than harsh. Bring it on! [Insert metallurgy metaphor here.]

3) Last week, I began a 500 words per week goal for my new adventures in fiction writing–and I exceeded it by a whopping 99 words! It’s such a minor mission, but if I can stick to it, I will have proven to myself that I can increase the difficulty level from Super Easy to Very Easy. Any easy is hard until I make a habit of it.

Anxiety is the Root of Laziness

Too often, when I think of doing something creative, my stomach tenses and my heart races. Without this physical sensation, as I learned from the Radiolab guys, I might not feel this too-familiar fear at all. (Thanks, body, for both permitting and discouraging my artistic attempts.)

Hearts race, stomachs tense, and anxiety sucks. However, knowing that this is the root of my laziness can help alleviate a few cycles of anxiety that start when I acknowledge my laziness. (Yes, Francis Bacon [or Thomas Hobbes?], knowledge is power, but it’s power that can be used by many parts of the mind and for many purposes, and not all of them are fruitful pursuits.) If I’m in an anxiety loop (anxiety–>laziness–>more anxiety) I might say:

“I don’t want to make something enough.”
“I must not be meant to do this.”
“Truly creative people are completely driven to make things; it pours out of them. If I have to fight lethargy to write something, isn’t that a sign I shouldn’t write at all?”

That last thought especially is riddled with false revelations. Just because so many writers and artists might describe a flow they enter when making something (“The words poured out of me,” “It’s as if someone else were painting it,” “I felt like a conduit”), doesn’t mean a feeling of anxiety isn’t present for them at other times. While I have also felt that flow a few times myself, maybe more importantly, why should flow and a sense of ease have a monopoly on creativity?

If flow isn’t there, but fear is, grant me the Opus Contra Naturam (Work Against Nature) of the Renaissance alchemists, and I will find another nature to work for.