Every once and awhile I have to stop for a bit and re-orient myself. Figure out what my priorities are, what my writing life should look like, what’s going on in the world that I need to respond to. I follow a creative work practice that divides the year into quarters – where the beginning of each new quarter is a chance to start fresh and either re-commit to my goals, or discard them for new ones. When I take the time to do this with my creative practice, it has a spillover effect into other areas of my life and I find myself thinking about the whole package at once.
October 1st marked the start of the last quarter of the year, and coincidentally, Brian and I planned ages ago to take a week off of work for a writing retreat on Saturna Island. In the end, it turned out that we both had to work our jobs quite a lot, so we didn’t get nearly as much done on the creative front as we would have liked, but we both came away from our time with some new material to work with, and I spent more hours thinking about writing and creative practice overall than I have in a long time. Given that I’ve recently started a new job which is going to be quite demanding for awhile, it was the right time for some re-orienting and rescheduling of my life.
I recently wrote about some issues with attentional focus I had over the summer which I’ve realized were (at least in part) linked to an increase in mid-day sugar/refined carb intake. I’ve started to pay more attention to my eating habits again, and it seems to have helped somewhat. I suspect if I cut refined sugar entirely it would support my focus even more – but I’m not so interested in doing that with the holiday season right in front of us. Instead I’m limiting sugar to a small amount after dinner and just like that I’m not crashing or experiencing nearly as much mind-wandering during the day. This makes me hopeful about turning to some new writing projects this fall and winter, not to mention my ability to churn through the amount of thinking work needed in the new job role.
I have decided to discard the Small Comforts project I embarked on last winter as the pandemic deepened, in order to focus more fully on the monthly writing and editing of Comfort for the Apocalypse in addition to some other writing that explores place, object-based storytelling, and local relationships. I don’t know where this new work is going yet exactly, but I spent quite a bit of time this week working out possible pathways and I’m interested to follow them.
I have also wrapped up the dye studio for the season and narrowed my focus down to three weaving projects that I plan to complete in the next three months. Not that these will be my only projects, but they continue the work of the summer and one of them is a commission I have a deadline to finish (I just got the yarn and will start this project today). I have one significant sewing project that I’m just getting started on, as well as some basics I would like to add to my fall/winter wardrobe. We will see how much progress I make on all of it! I have a bad history with lined coats, having started several only to falter before the finish – so I’m making that one the priority while I still have interest in it.
Besides day trips to Victoria to see my parents, I don’t have any travel plans now that we have returned from Saturna. What I hope for in this interval before Christmas is weekends with time for both restoration (sleep, meditation, exercise) and creativity, and a big step back from the pace of summer. That doesn’t mean no socializing of course! This weekend we have both a house concert (masks required/vaccinated only) and a Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Restoration for me also means people – and I do long for a less isolated winter than last year on the dinner party front.
In some ways my re-orienting each quarter simply returns me to the place from where I’ve started, perhaps only separated by a few degrees each time. And yet it feels like a new course, a chance to move from one foot to the other, to revisit each time the important each day of our lives can be when lived with intention.