This Week.

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Hey, it’s this week’s This Week! I’m on industrial-grade antibiotics! I don’t have an intro!

Occupations

I do this thing where I let myself get Super! Excited! about something, painfully excited, that excitement that is all shiny sparkling hummingbird buzzing with all of the good possibilities that the something may bring. I convince myself that everyone else involved is also Super! Excited! and it is so cool to share that feeling, you know it is.

And then the next day, I realize that I’m the only person that is Super! Excited! about the thing because everyone else has other stuff going on and I get hugely bummed out.

At the beginning of January, I let myself get Super! Excited! about a potential writing group. Then it didn’t seem to pan out the way I thought it would: huge bummer. But a new writer friend and I are forging ahead with a biweekly meeting date at a local café. If no one else shows up, we’ll at least have a few hours of focused writing time. Or chat. 🙂

I had another Super! Excited! moment at work recently when I became the subject selector for my library’s science fiction and fantasy collection. (Just typing the sentence makes my head explode a little.) But nothing can bum me out about that. Nothing.

Diversions

On the Page

On the Screen

FunkyPlaid and I are almost through Season 3 of “Outlander” which has managed to make high-seas pirating boring. Last season made 18th century Paris boring. Paris! It’s not a good trend.

We recently re-watched “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and it was even better than I remembered. I can’t wait to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. I’m also really looking forward to “Black Panther”!

On the (Figurative) Turntable

I hope I am never blasé about Spotify surprising me with gorgeous music I haven’t heard before. “Butterfly” by Snowpoet appeared in my life today and … yep.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/7tZaprB8ovqxkqodPEtlDT

In the (Literal) Game Room

We had friends over and played Love Letter and Jungle Speed. One of these games is calm and methodical and the other involves sprained fingers and hysterical laughter. Both are really, really fun. Play them instead of Monopoly or Risk. They are great games that won’t make you hate your friends.

On the Internet

I lost my social media mojo a while back, but I post wee updates and photos to my microblog, Honk. (Thanks to FunkyPlaid for the name!)

On the Globe

We’ve just started planning our trip to Scotland this April! I cannot wait to see everyone and everything and take a million photos and eat proper curry.

Ink o’ the Week

It is snowing right now (WTF, Portland?) so my TWSBI Eco is loaded with Kaweco Summer Purple. Wishful writing!

Homesick.

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crisper

Over the past two days I’ve had three different conversations about my life in Scotland. By the time I got in my car to drive home, I was deeply homesick for it, mostly the friends and coworkers I miss, but also mundane bits like Christmas Eve in Waitrose, random herds of curious horses, learning how to ride the bus in a foreign land, and frost-covered moss. I was thinking of that moss when I encountered the frost-dusted leaf in this photo.

Homesickness is generally expressed as a one person, one place phenomenon, but I have experienced waves of homesickness for every place I’ve ever lived. I even yearn for Alabama from time to time, especially the late afternoon summer thunderstorms that shake the magnolia trees, all slick green and heavy cream. Does it make me feel fickle sometimes? Sure. Someone once excoriated my use of the word “favorite” because, in his words, “They can’t all be favorites.”

Can’t they?

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Trains” by Poppy Ackroyd.

Bloom off the rose.

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I don’t mean to eavesdrop on the breakup. My earbuds are in but I’ve woken up with a start, and the podcast that I was listening to has ended. I don’t have noise-canceling earbuds, so if there isn’t anything playing I can hear everything going on around me.

She’s telling him a version of “it’s not you; it’s me,” and it is long-winded and involves a mention of her “journey” and I get whiplash from cringing so hard.

He sits there and stares at his trainers on the rubber ridges of the bus floor. (Getting dumped on a bus is pretty bad; getting dumped while sitting in the sideways seats is worse. Every movement of the bus is shoving you into the last person you want to touch.) Occasionally he turns to her with a tearful glare but he cannot look at her for long.

She keeps talking, mostly too soft to hear. She reaches for his hand, and he does not move away, but his hand is prey, playing dead, while she swoops and takes.

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Take On Me – 2017 Acoustic” by a-ha. Sometimes I miss taking the bus to work.

Encyclopedia Brown and Mister Rogers.

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About that writing offline I mentioned yesterday

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with notebooks. The first notebook I remember loving so hard that I wore it down to a floppy nub was spiral-bound with an orange cover. In my notebook I wrote down a lot of facts that I thought Encyclopedia Brown would need to know if he ever needed my help to solve one of his cases.

Now I carry two Traveler’s Notebooks: one for work, and one for creative projects. I like having this separation between the two worlds. When I switch between notebooks, I feel like Mister Rogers trading his jacket and dress shoes for a cardigan and trainers.

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Spotify’s Winter Classical playlist.

Postponing nothing.

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Sometimes when I stroll through the circulation workroom of my library, a book cover catches my eye but because my to-read pile is already unreasonably large, I will merely nod respectfully to it and keep walking.

Yeah, right.

Recently my attention was snagged by “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living” by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. I was really digging November’s meditations on acceptance. This month’s meditations are on mortality, and they are more challenging. Example: December 1st was “Pretend Today Is the End” with this quote from Seneca:

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. . . .The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”

–Seneca, Moral Letters, 101.7b-8a

I expected this year’s Holidailies to be about how horrified I am by American politics. But when I considered the meditation, I didn’t want to write about that anymore. I’m no less horrified, and I will continue to combat the forces of darkness, but writing about it online is not how I want to spend my remaining time on the planet. (Writing it all out offline is a different story, and has kept me sane this year.)

In the interest of postponing nothing, here are things I want to tell you today:

  1. Fallen leaves smell really good. I know this because I got a good whiff when I took this selfie even though I have grown to hate how I look in photographs.
  2. I misheard a friend say “Van Gogh’s Mirror” and started writing that short story in my head but if you beat me to it I won’t be too mad.
  3. Reading this essay made me feel somewhat okay again after that NYT piece on Nazis in Applebee’s. And also canceling my NYT subscription. Oops, politics.
  4. I have been knitting a sweater for FunkyPlaid since before we moved to Scotland but I finally got professional knitting help today and I think this year might be the year I actually finish it! Postponing nothing, right?

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Follow the Leader” by Foxygen.