The Weekly: A Flash of Summer
The Weekly – 30th January 2017
Last week beat me up. I pulled off my two deadlines, and my editors are pleased with the stories, which is a crushing weight lifted. I never appreciate how heavy the experience is – the looming deadline, pressing ‘send’, waiting to hear feedback – until I’m on the other side of it, lightened, but feeling flat. It always takes me a few days to perk up again after big deadlines.
This past week it took longer than usual, because every morning the news was worse: the wall, the immigration ban, the media as enemy, ‘alternative facts’, the disregarding of science and evidence, our president’s preoccupation with perception, the “with us or against us” front to the rest of the world, at a time when no nation can afford to isolate itself. Our fates, for better or worse, are entwined now.
It’s heartbreaking. Horrifying. I’m heartened by the alt-science sites cropping up, and the immediate reaction of U.S. citizens flooding the airports to welcome unlawfully detained Muslims. I’m proud the media is fighting back in stubborn defiance of a president who deems them “fake news” because he bristles at criticism. But I’ve spent half of the week feeling physically sick and tying myself into knots. I need to learn how to compartmentalize this – I can’t (and won’t) ignore it, but I need to find a way not to let it drag me down.
And then Saturday rolled around. We had to abandon our planned hiking this weekend because Lake Hawea was pummeled with storms. But Saturday dawned still, sunny, and clear. It was a beautiful summer’s day. I did a little writing. I spent most of the day with the windows thrown open, reading one of my favourite books, M.M. Kaye’s Far Pavilions (for the umpteenth time). Chris and I walked to our local shop for an ice cream, which we took to a hillside overlooking the lake, watching water-skiers enjoying the calm. (Three or four boats on this massive lake is considered a crowd.) We stopped by our neighbor’s house for a quick hello. Dean spends most of his time in the mountains (he’s a master climber and mountain guide), so it’s rare to catch him at home.
It was a good day, and I felt re-balanced and renewed.
This morning I’ve embarked on a project I’ve been wanting to sink my teeth into for a long time. I’m so excited about this story, and today I got to start writing. It’s my second book, a biography, and I have months of (unpaid) research before I can dig into the real (and unpaid) writing, but today was an actual beginning, and the story is beginning to take shape in my mind.
It’s alchemy, this kind of writing. It’s such a rush.
This week will be another busy one, but filled with a variety of projects, rather than single-minded deadlines. Hopefully the weather, like January morphing into February, will roll from these unusual and unseasonable storms into the hot, sunny summer we usually have this time of year. I’m ready – for a little warmth, a little more balance, a calm from the storms.
Have a good week!