When all else fails, there is reading and writing

Last night, after my dreary, not-so-productive day, I settled into my new reading chair with In Your Ear, the Oakland Word anthology.

reading chair

the most cheerful chair in the world!

I didn’t expect to read the whole thing cover to cover, but that’s what I ended up doing. There was so much life and truth and emotion in it, and so many of the authors were previously unpublished, it just gave me a lot of hope. It felt like VONA all over again. I went to bed feeling inspired and buoyant, and while I was drifting off I suddenly thought of my childhood piano teacher (actually she taught me for about a decade, until I graduated high school) and her house and the recitals we used to have there, and I planned to write about her first thing this morning.

But then, this morning, we took Tisha to the vet surgeon for a progress evaluation, and the meeting took all my joy away. I wrote about this in my personal blog, but to sum it up, I really had to face Tisha’s mortality this morning, and it’s left me feeling empty. It will be hard to get anything else done this week, knowing as I do that on Tuesday we take him in for a risky surgery. Getting my emotions out on my blog helped, but of course, it didn’t take the feelings away.

I spent the rest of the day in my reading chair, losing myself in a young adult sci-fi adventure, Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies. Not only was this the best possible way to distract myself from having to think about Tisha (and a nice way to hang out with him, since he purred on my lap for much of the afternoon), it got me back to thinking about writing. At VONA Evelina made me realize that I need to bring more conflict, setting, and movement into my writing — which is so ironic because my regular reading diet consists mostly of mysteries and YA novels, which are extremely plot- and setting- driven. She scolded me for not reading literature, but after examining my writing, I’m convinced I need to also be reading my regular diet more carefully, to learn from it! In November I plan to do NaNoWriMo just to take a stab at writing exactly the kind of book I usually read, to give me practice in writing quickly and with momentum and plot.

Reading and writing have always been constants in my life when things haven’t been as bright and brilliant as I want them to be. I’m counting on them now to get me through till Tuesday’s surgery, and then after, whatever the outcome.

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