Cleaning, Reading, Learning

It takes a while to get over an illness, and I’ve been sick since before the new year. I had a bunch of grand plans, thinking that I’d get over the cold any minute, and I didn’t. I’m still sleeping more than I usually do, and I don’t quite have my usual energy though I can tell it is coming back.

I’ve been catching up this week, mostly, with laundry and dishes – those things that keep piling up unless you’re constantly keeping up with them. I haven’t finished, but it’s a lot closer today, and all of the holiday things have been put away.

Today I got enough of my desk cleared off to manage the manuscript and the tablet at the same time. I’m nowhere near finished organizing my office, but it feels really nice to just sit in here and work on something. Even if it’s only a blog post.

I’ve been reading a lot, and enjoying the transport to other worlds, but it makes me want to come back to my own project. I’ve also been keeping up with the writer’s world, and all the writerly racism and other -isms have made me also want to turn back to my own project and make it better.

That’s the other reason I haven’t worked on it while I’ve been recovering. There’s a buzz in my head about these characters and how to represent them on the page. There’s more than one intelligent species in my world, and the hardest part is making sure they’re not all sounding the same. I want you to know, both implicitly and explicitly, that these characters are something else.

Some places that comes through very well, and other places, it doesn’t. The plethora of articles about racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-trans only lead me to think about things on my pages in different ways. So if I’m following and reading more articles than just what’s on the top page, and some of them are years old but I hadn’t paid enough attention at the time- it’s seeping in now.

All of that has also helped my articulation of what bothered me about other things I’ve read, some of them years ago, back when all of fantasy and science fiction seemed populated by white males. It wasn’t, but it did seem that way.

If you’re curious, right now my nose is stuck in The Grace Year, and I’m not sorry. I mean to read a few pages and it is usually between 30 and 50 before I can put the book down again only because I can no longer keep my eyes open. I’m about halfway through.

I’ve never worked on a novel as long as I’ve worked on this one. I’m setting up goals for the year, because I allowed myself at least a week’s grace time since I wasn’t feeling well. It’s very hard to give myself leeway. One reason I do so many things is because I do not do that – I drive myself to do more, accomplish more, learn more, all the time.

I’m still finishing the Swedish course on Duolingo and I’ve already started trying to figure out Spanish. I still fiddle around with Mandarin, too, because it’s not enough to just learn one language. I’ll talk about wanting to learn another handful if I ever get my brain wrapped around those. Why those? I may know a native speaker of each of them, and they’re amazing people I’d like to communicate with more. There’s also the moment of wanting to know all the words, in all the languages, and remember how my mother said knowing more creates more concepts in the mind. And that’s only going to add more to what I want to write.

What’s driving you into and through this new year?

Image: Sandwiched among many books is a small  hanging decoration that says “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.”


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