The summer is winding down and right now, the girls are asleep in the loft bed of my favorite Seaside, Oregon, hotel. It’s the same one where I wrote “If Dragon’s Mass Eve Be Cold and Clear” and a bunch of other projects.
We’ve had a good summer with a nice balance of short trips, movies, swimming, playing, taekwondo and downtime. It was a nice island in the midst of a lot of change and more change is coming in the weeks ahead. Next Tuesday, they start second grade. And sometime in the weeks to follow, I’ll be going back to work full-time after four years at home, and prior to that, three years of working 3/4 time. I’m interviewing, oddly enough, for the same position that first brought me to Multnomah County in 2005 when I left the nonprofit sector and running orgs for a less complicated career path that made more brain space for writing.
My original plan was to settle into the county, write, and stay put until I had 20 years in. I was writing short stuff and even novels were tricky to make any kind of living with unless lightning struck. Then Lamentation and the Psalms of Isaak happened, taking my writing career down a road that paid better than short stories. And then there was a rush of around eight important deaths and two important births. And then, in the midst of all those changes, my step mom’s passing left a small inheritance and with a working spouse, it suddenly made sense for me to stay home, focus on the writing and kids, and see what could be done to take my career to the next level. It was a five year plan and there were lots of good things that came out of the four years but if a plan isn’t working, you change the plan. Of course, I thought the time was going to build my writing career and I did get to do some awesome things there. But the time really didn’t go as I thought it would.
Instead, it was building me and showing me where more changes needed to happen in my life. Slowly and painfully. And necessary despite how tough it was.
Out of that, I no longer have the working spouse. My life is still stressful but it’s a much more manageable stress now as I keep doing my work in recovery, applying all of the new capacity that Lipov’s treatments have given me by shutting off the PTSD alarm. My boundaries are getting clearer and clearer across the board, especially with my self along with the path to take. I’m learning new tricks in mindfulness and meditation, understanding things in a way that I couldn’t before. And I’m realizing that all of the striving with 19 years pushing the Writing Rock — especially the last decade — have left me tired and bit depleted. I don’t have that Big Drive now to create, create, create, publish, publish, publish. I suspect actually that I’m about two parts burned out and one part worn out. And that flogging Leroy into producing money isn’t my job — and it’s really not Leroy’s job either. Somewhere along the way, expectations got tangled up in things. So I’ve been dialing those down with HYMN off my plate and it’s helping. You’ve already noticed that I’m not coming out to many cons — that will remain the same. I’ve dropped the two I thought I was attending this year. Unless someone else is footing the bill and unless it fits my parenting time and my job schedule, I’ll be bowing out of most of those. My higher priority will be workshops where the focus is teaching craft and business and I’ll not do many of those either for the next little while. One exception is that I’ll try to get out a few times each year to teach my Muse Management and Production in the Story Factory. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people — it just means that folks who want to see me will have to come find me here in Oregon or help me put together a workshop in their area. And I’ll do what I can to see folks that are relatively nearby.
I’ll not be bowing out of the work itself. I want to get back to longer pieces under different expectations. I won’t be forcing it and I won’t be racing into any multi-book contracts any time soon. I’m going to focus on getting back to work in a 40 hour job, re-establishing old routines, and then see what happens. Meanwhile, I’m open for business for anyone who needs essays or short stories. I enjoy writing them and I thrive on the game of finding a story that fits an editor’s need
And I’ll hope to work on something longer — novella or novelette or novel — a little ways down the road when I’m more settled in. I’m letting Leroy go at his own pace after ten year’s on the Psalms of Isaak. And Ken, too. Kids and work, recovery and home are where my heart is. Books will follow once I’ve settled in to the latest round of change.
I have lots of mixed feelings about going back to work, especially giving up my afternoons and summers with the girls. Initially, in the spring, I’d thought the Facilior Solutions concept would get me to a place where I could work part time from home — but that start-up will take more time to get off the ground than I have resources for. So I’m tucking that all away for a time when it makes more sense. I’m confident I’ll get back to it — it’s a sound concept especially with Walking Bear Media — but it’s not quite the right time. I’ll maintain the site, keep developing the Integrated Authenticity model and its tools, and see what the future brings. One thing coming for sure in the future: HYMN will be out November 2017. I wonder what my life will look like by then?
Meanwhile, the girls should be waking up any minute. They played hard yesterday — two trips to the pool, an hour or so on the beach, a walk through town. I’m glad they’re getting lots of sleep. This morning, we have more beach and pool time ahead of us. Then our drive home.
Despite the best laid plans of mice and Ken, life has turned out a certain way and I am full circle back to the words that fell into my head back in 2005 when I first met Rudolfo and Isaak and the gang: “Change is the path life takes.” And…I’m fine with it even when it’s hard. Resisting or controlling the winds of change doesn’t work nearly as well as accepting and leaning into it, learning to fly kites in it, learning to dance and sing despite the weather around us, holding on tight and facing it all straight on.