I have been stupid productive this last couple of weeks. No – really. I’ve made a set of spring scarves and gotten them up on Etsy, I’ve redesigned the Doublebunny store, done a ton of art, written some press releases, finished fundraising* for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival and issued a venue challenge for it, done some writing for a pet project with a good friend, led a collage workshop, put down the bones for a website for another pet project, and did I mention, I’ve made a ton of art? I’ve made a ton of art.

I blame it on Edward James Olmos. Well, the Admiral.

See, I got home from a fantastic retreat feeling energized, and reading Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life, which I had picked up while away. When I hit the part about focus, I sorta lost my shit for a week, and everything started to fall apart as I thought myself into a corner.

There’s a quote from Stephen Covey in there, something like, “Winners focus, losers spray,” and at that point… well… I started to dig inside and got… deeply uncomfortable. See, I do a lot of different things – a LOT of things. And I like most of them quite a bit. The idea of letting go of some of them is akin to the idea of drowning puppies. And while I’ve come to terms with that analogy for editing,** I sorely dislike the idea in terms of the rest of my doings.

But dharma, right? I’m forty-three and I still haven’t got more than a half-assed idea of what I want to be when I grow up. What is the great work of my life? Shortly before I decided to stop reading the book that was giving me the Big Nausea, I came to the tentative conclusion that my dharma has something to do with making beautiful things. I’ll narrow it to that for the time being, and focus on making beautiful things.

And then, in an attmept to quell the overwhelming anxiety that I had cultivated, I decided that it would be a kind and generous thing to do for myself, to go ahead and watch Battlestar Galactica (again). All of it, as much at a time as I want, as long as stuff gets handled.*** And that’s what’s been happening – I’m getting stuff done. And I could kiss Bear McCreary full on the mouth for the soundtrack, because most of the time, I’m just listening to it more than watching it. But I’m concentrating, and in the groove, and making things happen, and feeling pretty ok about being me.

So what is it about the science fiction that has the power to do this for me? For example, a few years ago I was feeling half out of my mind, and the only thing for it was to turn on Serenity on a daily basis while I worked, with the occasional viewing of The Fifth Element  for variety’s sake (and making the Man Cub quit grousing because he was sick to death of Serenity). Maybe it’s the focus to take my mind off the noise in there? Maybe it’s the sheer comfort of escape?† I also put down the Cope book and started in on some rad bedtime reading with Kameron Hurley.†† Maybe it’s the cupped hand of possibility – inside these places there is so much unexplored territory, so much fodder for the imagination, so much room to dream, that it makes the down-to-earth business of getting stuff done that much more pleasurable to handle, and gives the mind that much more room to, well, create. And so much of my business is about creating. So, really – why not allow kindly for inspiration?

So I’m continuing on with my journey of self-kindness and the pouring on of sugar, and I’ll add in the movies to it. Here’s to the good teevee††† to knit by. Here’s to the reruns to pay the bills by. And the previously unknown books to dive into before sleeping. Here’s to the strange dreams, asleep and waking, of drifting in the stars and getting a clearer picture of Earth.‡

 

***

* A collosal feat in and of itself. lordamighty, but I hate fundraising.
**Jebus, but my writing can be wordy in the first draft.
***That’s Rule No. 1 around here, really: handle business first.
†Or maybe the comfort of the familiar? I’ve watched BSG from start to finish and then followed by Caprica at least three times now (four?) and it doesn’t suffer in reruns.
††Riddle me this, exterminator man: what is it with lady sci-fi writers and bugs ? And why don’t I mind it?
†††Have you seen Vikings yet (I know, I know, it’s not sci-fi, but it is totally pretty)? Omg. And I’m a little bit heartbroken that Being Human is down to the last episode on Monday.
‡Of interest: that last line there, about getting a better view of Earth (or, as it was before, about looking for Earth). Is that what the science fiction nut in me is all about? Perspective? Searching? I’ve been trying to home in on this (no pun intended) for a while. For years I looked at my love of science fiction as an escapist thing, a guilty pleasure. But I’ve given up feeling guilty about the things that I love (no, really – I’m giving that stuff up. Yes, it’s hard work, but I’m getting there), and now am engaged more and more in not only welcoming these things, but understanding them as well. I think I just handed myself a clue, hello.

 

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