A thing that is done

“The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable. Avoiding a trial will allow us–and we hope the entire Southern Arizona community–to continue with our recovery.”
–Gabrielle Giffords & Mark Kelly

“Today’s events make me very proud to be an American. It’s not a perfect solution. The perfect solution isn’t one that we can have. What we want is not available. This is the best that can be expected. We can’t bring Christina back, but that shouldn’t stop people from mentoring and participating, to get involved and stay involved.”
–Suzi Hileman

The cat goes on little fog feet

The indoor cat who has had a (brief, unsanctioned) taste of outdoor life spends a day scratching at screens and voicing his discontent beside doors through which he cannot pass, and then, with a sigh as evening falls, returns to the world of food dish and water bowl.

We shall have to watch the doors carefully a while longer, though. Especially that one, which did open for him, just once, when the slightest crack appeared to let a paw through.

Meanwhile … (more email culling)

The first half or so of my backlogged emails took all of an hour to delete, mostly a matter of determining I could have deleted them ages ago and doing so. I suspect the lesson here is to get better at deleting email when it arrives.

I expect the next quarter of them to take more work, because they require writing actual responses.

The last quarter take the longest, though, because those will be the ones that require me to actually do something, or finish something. I fear finding out how many of last quarter have been in my inbox since the last time I cleaned out my inbox.

Onwards!

What strategies do you all use to keep on top of your email?

Honoring your practice, honoring your process

When I first began practicing yoga, I remember wanting to succeed at doing as many poses as possible, in as advanced a form as possible. In a sense, I was more concerned with quantity of my skill than its depth or the smaller details: since I was starting from the point of knowing nothing, I wanted to learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could.

As I kept practicing, though. I actually found myself doing less, rather than more. Say, bending my back less in cobra pose, or not straining to make my heels touch the floor in downward-facing dog, or not worrying about whether my butt touched my heels in child’s pose. My focus shifted from quantity to process and depth and purpose, to why I was in a given pose, where I was going in it, how I felt in it, where my focus was while I was in it, to all sorts of things I just hadn’t even really known how to think about when I started, or that when I did think about them, had only felt like they were slowing me down, in earlier days.

I’ve gone through something of a similar process as a writer. Early on, I wanted desperately just to learn the basics of craft, and then just a little later, my focus shifted to wanting to be as fast as I could. I signed a work-for-hire project with a tight deadline in part to learn how to write faster, because back then, writing faster meant actually finishing stories, something I was also struggling with. I was a little baffled by more experienced writers who wrote more slowly than me, because they were supposed to be better than me at this, and because wasn’t a professional simply someone who wrote as much as she needed to, when she needed to?

Hah! Like it or not, I simply can’t write as fast now as I did 15 years ago. But while I have my moments when I angst over that, I’m not actually sure it’s a bad thing, because I also believe I’m writing better books than I did 15 years ago.

And regardless, processes shift, and worrying about what those around you are doing–or even what you did, last week or last year–will only make a writer crazy, as I know too well. One other thing I’ve learned in yoga is that it’s not only counterproductive to focus on what those around you are doing, but also untrue to one’s practice and one’s self. In yoga, I’ve learned to work to and then a little bit past my own edge–to honor and respect my own practice–rather than getting tied up in knots over what others are doing, or, really, getting attached to any particular result when I go into a class.

This is, of course, harder than it sounds.

I’m still working on it.

“And though the darkness may come our way / We won’t be afraid to be alive anymore”

Patty Griffin’s No Bad News is on the playlist for one of the mixes that’s been getting high play for this book–though not on the specifically book-themed mix–and it’s become my latest go-to feel-good songs. (lnhammer has, of course, rightly been telling me I need to pay more attention to this song for some years now.)

You can’t have my fear
I’ve got nothing to lose
can’t have my fear
I’m not getting out of here alive anyway

Something old, something new, something bloggish, something blue

So if I’ve done everything right, this post should be crossposted from my shiny new wordpress blog to my comfy and well-loved livejournal blog, with comments enabled both places. (One day, if I can figure out how, I may sync comments between the blogs as well.)

My livejournal isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But there seems to be a pretty split mix of people preferring lj and non-lj platforms, so it was time to experiment with crossposting.

For people coming in from wordpress, all my blog posts before late July 2012 (like, almost a decade’s worth) can be found over at livejournal.

So hi! Good to see you, either place!