I haven’t updated on life or writing circumstances for a long time. I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath and sit down to compose a blog post to tell you about my life.
The winter of 2012 and 2013 sucked all across the prairies. It was a Sinclair Ross winter. It was a winter that rivalled the winter in Alexi Zentner’s brilliant book “Touch”, only with less death and fewer axes. This winter rivalled the winter in Carol Shields’ “The Republic of Love” or the winter in “300 days of night”, without as many vampires.
All of these references are just listed here to tell you that this winter was very, very, very bad (and terrible and horrible and no good.)
There were many of us who were suffering. Many prairie residents felt like people trapped at the bottom of a pit. A number of events and life circumstances left me feeling as though I was trapped in a well and everyone else was very far away. In the weeks before Christmas, I lay on my couch and watched four seasons of “Sons of Anarchy.” There’s nothing that can cheer you up more than a shirtless Charlie Hunnam stabbing someone. (Obviously, I’m being facetious) It was a dark, dark time. I went through a writing crisis and thought about quitting writing because I hit a road block with a book that I’m trying to finish.
After consulting with fantabulous sleep doctor, I started exercising more, and bumped my Vitamin D and Omega 3. I spent time with friends. Things were still dark; there were some major losses, and circumstances that led to disappointment. As always, there were some people who disappointed me. There wasn’t a lot of sun.
Over Christmas, my mom and I watched “Firefly” and she fell in love with the good Captain. I spent time with my good friends, some of whom gave me advice that was life-changing. I watched movies and was inspired by stories. I signed up for Sarah Selecky’s Story is a state of mind teaser, and her first lecture helped me break through my writing block as did a visit withMarina Endicott and Lynn Coady taking the time to work with me on an essay. Linda Goyette also helped me see things clearly, as did many of my writing friends and non-writing friends. I can’t name you all.
I had a lot of help to find my way back to writing. I thought it was lost, but it was not. I thought a lot of things were lost or gone, but they weren’t.
My friends proved themselves to be kind and generous, and their concern, care and attention helped. When I think about my friends lately, I keep on thinking about this Natalie Merchant song
I committed myself to other things; my family, my friends, my books, my writing and my day job. Things got better. My busiest time for work came up and I threw myself into my job, as I always do at this time of year. I met some really amazing people; some more amazing than others. I acquired freelance gigs. I wrote a piece about my insomnia for Eighteen Bridges magazine. It’s not online, but you can see it in the print version of the magazine.
I’ve taken over the teen mentorship group at the library and I’ll be teaching a small group of dedicated teens this spring. Yesterday I did two school visits as part of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. Grade 7 students and I talked about bees, the history of the Chinese in Canada, being 13 years old, and being a writer.
Sometimes I feel very emotional lately. I feel like I was in a dark space, and I was retreating into myself. I started putting good things out into the world, and it came back to me. I keep on getting offers to write and teach, and people keep on responding to me and my work, and it’s really great. I am not my work- but it’s something that I have made, and so it makes me feel good that people appreciate it and want to learn more about it.
As I was saying to someone a while ago, “Yes, I may be lucky, but you know what? I work really, really hard. I may not be the best writer, but I’m willing to do the work and the practice, and do what it takes.”
I think I want my life to be like that too.