I’m reading Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses. It’s a book I wish I’d had years ago. It’s a book I needed to read. And it’s a reminded that no matter how much you think you know or how openminded you think you are, there is always light to shine in the dark, unknown corners of your assumptions or learning.
I’ve reached that point in the novel I’m sharing with Patreon readers where I doubt what I’ve done and want to rewrite the entire plot. The feeling that I’ve gone about it all wrong follows me. I’ve already cut out a lot because it is long enough as it is. But the characters do more. The sister has a story of her own that I removed. Another family member has more to say, but I didn’t give her much space on the page. Stories have so many rabbit holes, and I’d be happy traveling down all of them.
Publishers would frown upon all this understandably. Susanna Clarke may have gotten the brilliant Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell published, but I can’t be Susanna Clarke.
Recently, I’ve been making many handmade journals. What I’ve made so far has been fairly traditional, but I want to make more interesting books. I have ideas for collage and fabric and a large piece of tree bark from Uganda (a wedding present, strangely enough). And my art has been neglected. You know, art with pen and ink and some collage.
It’s a time of change. Quite unexpectedly I went back to teaching in-person. Seriously. I’d planned to spend the entire summer on Zoom, but needs as needs must. I feel a bit of whiplash about the whole thing. I’m doing what? I have to leave the house? I have to lecture in a mask? I have to teach a class I haven’t taught in 18 years? Okay! Sure.
And I’ve got a new job. It is a second job. So I did my first job interview in 20 years. Goodness, I was a bundle of nerves! But I got the job! It will definitely cut into my art and writing time, but the added income will make a difference. Which is needed because of the other change…
Our teen is graduating high school and starting college. What? How can this be? Be still my heart! Be still my debt. Oi.
And my dad sold the house without really warning me. Because of, you know, the time we are living in, I haven’t even been to visit. My brain still hasn’t accepted I can’t go to the lake and that my dad is living somewhere else. Just the other day, looking at a map with a student, I couldn’t point to it and say, “My dad lives here.” I know, I really do know, there are worst changes, but I’m struggling with it nonetheless.
I can’t we’re post-pandemic. Look at the world. The pandemic is there and it is here. But I’m vaccinated and working in person. I’ve been to two restaurants now and gone into stores (always wearing the mask). It would be great if there was a day we could mark on our calendars. Here is The Day It Ended and We Went Back to Things! But there is no day. It’s a slow, meandering morphing of things being this way to things another way. It’s muddled and looping. It’s better in some places and worse in others, and we can’t know what’s in store for the place where we are. Well, okay, we could never know, could we? Most of us learn at one point or another that change can come sudden and blinding, knocking us down hard. But it also comes edging and nudging until we blink and wonder where we are.
I’m here blinking and wondering. And hoping fate isn’t going to knock me flat anytime soon.
I’m also exhausted most of the time. Are you?
Thanks for reading.