Updated: Aug 31
There was a kind of turning point more than a week ago. (I burst into a long flood of tears.) And then I just couldn’t go on in exactly the same way as before.
I pushed through and started on a project that has long been set aside for lack of time and energy. It’s setting up a waste segregation practice at source (our home) and participating in a circular economy started by two private establishments where I can bring all the properly segregated waste to be properly recycled or disposed of. It’s something the government should be doing or providing for but it only does so in lip-service.
The project requires a significant shift in habits and also requires real space and flow planning in the house. I have ordered segregation bins — I have identified 9 types of wastes that our household produces on a regular basis — and I need to make the process as hassle-free as possible for it to be sustained by other people in the house.
In the process of fixing spaces I stumbled upon a box of “old” writings, including the draft of a fantasy novel started in 2012 and last edited in 2016. I read through it and got hooked and I realised the story isn’t dead. So I’ve woken my Scrivener app and have started writing and editing it again.
In the process of fixing spaces it became clear to me that some objects should just be thrown out. So I threw out all the just-in-cases and the misplaced sentimentalities. I have further narrowed down my art materials because in the past weeks it has become clear to me which forest path to take. In less than six months I will hit a milestone age and I have that much time to discard what should no longer weigh me down and to close some doors if I want to open certain ones.
Insomnia came back for a few nights but couldn’t stay because I kept moving, inside and outside of myself.
I made a few art shop sales and I received a paycheck I had forgotten about (It was something that had totally slipped my mind from months ago — a task that was buried among a pile of more demanding and stressful jobs. It slipped through the cracks and then surfaced again just when I needed it most before I even realized how much I needed it.) A tribe-sister sent a gift a couple of days ago which allowed me to buy new Japanese paints and new books — both of which I haven’t bought for myself since the pandemic began. Almost all my income go to supporting the household — my sister recently almost lost her job but was one of those kept on a “half” employment with only half the pay. I have two decent paychecks (one severely overdue) coming in within the next four to six weeks. There’s a dayjob project potential that could keep me afloat for the rest of the year once I’ve wrapped my head and heart around the idea and made the final decision to take it.
Today is a Monday and I have gotten good at claiming it.
I still haven’t been called for a vaccination schedule. I belong to the category of “Rest of the Population” which wouldn’t have been so bad if I haven’t been hearing about other people in the same category somehow getting their shots alongside the higher priority groups.
I have started reading again. By this I mean reading like I used to, finishing a book in as few as two days. Reading books more than watching shows on Netflix. Reading books more than scrolling on social media. This happened because when I read the draft of my novel I rediscovered that feeling of why I loved reading in the first place and why I loved it so much that it made me write. It has gotten harder for me to find books I can enjoy and get lost in. I am happy for those whose voices and stories are finally being given their space and recognition but then the more I realised that there’s still none or very few that reflect my voice and story. I read my draft and decided I’ll look harder for books that resonate with me and that will inspire me. In the process I found out that the biggest local book shop has finally (after the many long years) improved their online store (it took a pandemic). So I browsed and checked out samples of available titles in Kindle and the book that got me into the groove again was The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Meanwhile I ordered book 2 of Stiefvater’s The Dreamer Trilogy - Mister Impossible, and Garth Nix’s The Left-Handed Booksellers of London. Both authors have been old favorites. When I get a bit more funds I’ll order V.E. Schwab (her book prices have skyrocketed) and Laini Taylor. Also in line for purchase are book 2 of the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty, and book 2 of Pullman’s Book of Dust. I’m hoping for a restock of Piranesi, and a stock for all of the latest books of Joanne Harris.
I look back and I somehow sort of see how it’s all connected, how one thing leads to another, how one thing is necessary for another thing. The key is to flow and to make soft and slow movements. Rushing does not help, nor does rashness. Things take time, I should take mine as well.
This month, a ghost month for some, marks the first anniversary of when my dad was hospitalized and almost died of the virus. This month, this year, I would like to focus on the fact of our survival, and how far we have come from those very dark days. The next few months will have similar quiet celebrations — of how the way I work now and how I trade my time and energy for money have changed for (fingers crossed) the better, how I learned to trust my art and my heart (even if I still fail occasionally).
When asked what she was hungry for, she laughed and said, “Same thing as you, I bet. Ways-between. Nowheres. Somewheres.” She scoured the Earth, wandering and ravenous, looking for doors.
(The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow)