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I’ve been picking up and putting down a lot of books in the last month or two as well. Or reading short, one-sitting pieces, comics mainly (Margie Stohl’s Captain Marvel, guys, the first issues are so good). Last Friday night, I started a book I’d asked C to bring home from the store, the inimitable Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes. A writer I trust 100 percent on book recs (Kat Howard) had enthusiastically mentioned it on twitter, describing it as murder mystery where clones on a spaceship must solve their own murders. YES, IN. I love Mur’s writing and that is basically a description of my favorite kind of book.
It was like pleasurable lightning to the brain, in the way the right book is–especially when you’ve been in a slump or not reading enough. I realized just how loud it’s been in my mind, or rather, how much the noise from outside intrudes right now. And, boy, is there a lot of noise. And, as previously discussed, it can’t be ignored. The calls must be made, the fight fought.
I purposely structured my year to have big chunks of writing time this winter/spring. Being in fight mode constantly means stress chemicals flooding your brain, means fragmented attention, means your immune system suffers (or is it the bad habits that makes it suffer, or both, she said, blowing her nose). Even my usual downtime staple, television, has been mostly me hitting pause to check twitter of the evening in these past couple of months.
The best moments this month, the moments that remind me why I do this, haven’t been at my desk, feverishly news reading. There have been bright spots there, but all when writing fiction. The better moments have been at events where writers read from or talked about their work, hanging upside down at aerial yoga, at dinners with friends where we laughed over drinks and made random jokes, or on those dog walks. I did love scarfing One Day at a Time on Netflix, a show like a hug, an antidote to the news.
Because the first lesson of being a professional writer, in my opinion, is protecting your writing time. Which can definitely mean from yourself and your bad habits, but also from the world and its many distractions. Your writing time isn’t just the time at the keyboard; it’s the time away from it that brings you back there with things to type. I’m not saying I’m not going to engage with politics, as that’s obviously not an option. But. I’m going to be making an effort to engage the world on my terms, rather than its.
Because trust me, it will steal the words from all of us this year. This next four years. And every moment of joy.
I refuse to let it.
Joy is important; the small moments, littered through a week that are bright bubbles in the sea of ordinary life, and so I’m going to do my best to grab them as they surface.
I’ll let you know how I did next week.
– I’ve got several events coming up in the region in the next few months–the first is tonight, at the InKY Reading Series in Louisville with the delightful Sarah Combs. We have the same cold and everything. Come out and see us!
– Podcasts! I was on two recently. The lovely Rachael Herron does a podcast that’s all the questions writers tend to skip to at the end of interviews, namely just the writing parts, called How Do You Write? We had a blast chatting. And this week a new episode of Speculate! dropped featuring me and Kameron Hurley talking about healthcare and writers with hosts Mike Underwood and Greg Wilson.
– This coming Thursday, I’ll be at Joseph-Beth Lexington chatting with debut author Lara Donnelly about her fabulous Amberlough, which I’m almost done with, and was more brain lightning, following Six Wakes. I’ll sign whatever you want me to sign, and it’s sure to be a fun discussion.
– The Cirque American books are all on sale at Amazon this month! The print editions of Girl on a Wire and Girl in the Shadows are $4.99 and Girl Over Paris’s digital edition of the collected graphic novel is just $1 (yes, ONE BUCK, and it’ll open in your comixology app). You can also preorder the Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Lost Legacy–we’re writing book two now! And I’m working with the publisher on some preorder things for Lois Lane: Triple Threat, about which more soon (the book description has been updated though if you want a little more info on what’s coming in the book itself).
In the meantime, I wish you all moments of joy in the coming week.