I can’t believe we’ve already come to the end of August. Who hit the fast-forward button?
This year I made a conscious attempt to have more fun, take advantage of my office’s summer Friday hours, get more sun and friends. I did a good job, I think. Now the back-to-school mindset is creeping in, as it always does automatically around this time of year. My instincts are turning away from relaxation and back to the question of how to get more done.
I managed to do a good amount of work over the last few months, but still — it’s time to ramp things back up. After Labor Day I expect to be operating at full speed again. There’s something about the air cooling down and taking on that perfect autumn crisp that always inspires me, gets me working harder. I’m antsy now for the weather to change. I want my mugs of hot cider and tall boots and sweaters and fake leather jackets and roasted vegetables and orange leaves and the anticipation of Halloween.
But before all that:
Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary!
It’s crazy that we’ve already been married a year. And at the same time it feels like we’ve been married for a lifetime. Next month we’ll have known each other and been together for seven whole years! I don’t know what I would do without this guy. He’s the kindest, most loving and understanding person. He has this endless passion for learning, which is incredibly inspiring. And he’s the most amazing support system a writer could ask for. I’m grateful to have him.
We celebrated by doing some indoor rock climbing on a double-date with David and Fiona, who just hit their six-month anniversary!
Climbing is my newest addiction, and it pairs so well with yoga. Both involve training the body to train the mind, and training the mind to train the body. And Ashtanga yoga, specifically, seems to be amazing practice and preparation for climbing. Because in Ashtanga all the work is done in the vinyasa — the transition from one pose to the next. That’s what builds strength and stamina, that’s where the breath count is crucial, where most of the growth happens. And all that translates directly — in climbing, what’s most important is the transition as you move from one hold to the next.
I’ve always been terrified of heights, so now I’m tackling that head on. It still blows me away that I’m able to climb to the top of a wall. When I stand back and look at what’s up there it doesn’t seem like something I should be able to do. How is it that I’m holding onto those rocks with just the strength of my own body? There’s this feeling of accomplishment as I hang from the top ledge or ring the bell — Yes! I made it! — that gets slapped right up against some major fear — Shit! Now I’ve got to get down.
I’m so excited to climb more and improve.
Also, I totally forgot to share pictures of the little Arctic dragon I had custom made for me out of wool by this amazing artist in Russia:
This little guy was my reward to myself for rewriting all of USLS from scratch this year. It took a long while for him to be made, and then another while for him to be delivered to me. But now he sits on my piano, reminding me of all that I’ve achieved this year.
It’s crazy to think that on January 2nd I was staring at an empty document in Scrivener with nothing to go on but the story in my head. I’d shoved aside old drafts so that there was nothing to distract me; I wanted to see how much work I could do with a blank slate.
Later, during revisions, I ended up pulling in a few paragraphs from the early drafts of this novel that were written back in 2010 and 2011 — but that’s all. That’s the only echo of the original, literally just those few paragraphs. The rest of this story has a totally new cast of characters, a totally new magical premise (where before it was just straight up contemporary literary), a totally new voice. And now, at the end of August, I’m pretty damn happy with how this novel is going.
There are more revisions ahead, of course. This is where the important work is done — the shifts and changes between drafts. Just like the vinyasa between poses, the movement between holds on a climbing wall. The all-important transitions.
I’m excited to see where I end up.