Discover more from Words on the Page
On not writing
and coming to terms with the lulls
I didn’t write to you last month and for that I’m sorry. I’ll admit I wrote something and didn’t send it. This seems to be a common theme in my writing life right now. Since I had COVID in June I’ve had trouble writing. I blame the lingering brain fog and fatigue, but around the same time I had COVID, my book went out on submission. I had big plans of revising essays and starting a new book-length project, but haven’t done either of those things.
Full confession: My heart and my mind are still very wrapped up with my book that’s trying to find a home with a publisher. It’s hard to move on to another project while I don’t really know what’s happening with my book. Instead of writing I’ve been riding a roller coaster of emotions that are all too common with the creative life. When the ups and downs come, I’m trying not to shame and blame my way through but acknowledge that it’s ok to feel those feelings, and more importantly it’s ok not to write. While I write about all the things that are part of my writing practice that aren’t’ sitting with a pen in my hand or a keyboard at my finger tips, I still feel guilty sometimes for not “producing” work. Damn capitalism, right?
Many writers have said that not writing is as important as writing. That it’s not sustainable (or even reasonable) to write every day, and that how often we write doesn’t define us as writers. Creative people need time to be still, to relax, to refuel and refresh. The words we write are important, but making space for kindness and care because we’re people not machines in a factory is essential, and arguably more important than how many acceptances we get in a year.
So what have I been doing instead of sitting at my computer with the blinking cursor of a word processor staring at me? Here’s some pictures I’ve taken, a bit about the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve watched, and the food I’ve cooked!
What I'm reading: I’ve read more in the last two weeks than I have in months. It seems like this is the way with my post-COVID brain. My recent reads have included Chelene Knight’s gorgeous novel Junie. This is a breathtaking book that left me missing the beautifully complex characters, and completely captivated by the way Chelene brought Hogan’s Alley to life on the page. After Junie, I read Gentrifier: A Memoir by Anne Elizabeth Moore. This thought-provoking and rich nonfiction title brings the personal and political in a way that made me think deeply about neighbourhoods and community, and how we see homes and our houses. Now, I’m reading Xóchitl González’s Olga Dies Dreaming. I’d been hearing about Olga Dies Dreaming for months and months and I can now see why! This book is so engrossing. I am so invested in the characters and their lives. It’s also an important look at the colonization of Puerto Rico.
What’s next on the reading list: Next on the list I’ll be reading Prairie: A Natural History of the Heart of North America by Candace Savage. This is one I’ve been flipping through as I wrap my head around an idea I have for another creative nonfiction book. I finished Savage’s A Geography of Blood and am really looking forward to Prairie.
What I'm watching: I just finished watching the new season of Shetland. I’m a huge fan of this crime drama set on the Shetland Islands, and this season is the last with Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez, the lead character. I was a bit surprised to hear they are going to keep the series going (at least for one more season). But I won’t say anymore in case you’re a fan and are just starting to watch this action packed and very emotional season!
What I'm cooking: I haven’t been cooking as much as usual because I’ve been in Victoria at my parents’. This summer something I really wanted to do was to figure out the perfect pie. I watched many multi-hour YouTube videos on the perfect pie crust and how to get the filling for a fruit pie just right. I definitely got better, but now it’s apple pie and pumpkin pie season, so I can practice some more. I’ve also been cooking lots from our CSA box. Here are some pictures from my food adventures this summer…