This month I have done a tiny bit of travel, a medium sized bit of work giving feedback on a friend’s manuscript, been refining some of my time management, digging into where the heck ‘passion’ comes from and what it is, and saw both Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
No spoilers for either, but one unspoilery opinion: Endgame is ambitious. It doesn’t fulfill all its ambitions, but if it’s running 75%, and the 75% is the fate of the planet and characters and relationships we’ve been following for something like a decade and absolutely colossal battles and some major changes… that 75% is pretty damn impressive.
On my side? Earlier this month while visiting family working far from home, I found myself in a chocolate shop which had been founded in the 1880s. (The current premesis are obviously newer, but I get the impression that some of the fittings and window frames may have been taken along from the old premesis.) While enjoying a hot chocolate and musing on my life, I realized two things.
The first is that the amount of forgiveness I have for myself is utterly minimal. It’s not that I tear into myself for mistakes, say, but I get angry with myself and resentful when – for instance – I don’t get as much work done as I’d like to, here at the desk. I have managed to stop actually denigrating myself and, like, thinking abusive things at myself – which is a huge step – but I haven’t yet figured out the trick of treating myself like my own friend and forgiving myself. And I think I really need to work on that.
The second thing was that my sense of passion for writing was really damaged by my mental health problems. It’s not that I was traumatised, it’s that I stopped being able to perceive successes. And that’s a strange, crucial part in passion. Passion can seem innate, but ultimately – like everything in life – it’s intimately tied to our life experiences. If something you have passion for stops feeling rewarding, or feels like a disaster, your passion is going to shrivel pretty quickly. It’s entirely possible to foster passion for something. People talk about ‘following’ passion, but when you learn you can do something and you discover new things every time you do that thing… how can you not, naturally, become passionate about it?
I think realizing this, amidst people ordering custom easter eggs with messages written on them, was really helpful for understanding why I’m having such mixed feelings as I get back into working on a schedule. The challenging things evoke feelings of dismay and distress tied to my bad period, which is a problem, but then the successes feel exciting and rewarding and suddenly I feel driven to try and do really challenging things with prose and… Yeah. I’ve got to learn to pace myself a little more, when it comes to fostering my passion.
Finally, working on my friend’s manuscript – a form of labour-barter writers have practiced from time immemorial – as always helped get my brain firing on all cylinders analytically. One thing I will say is that I am now severely tempted to write AU fanfic about my friend’s work in which the ‘Sanguine Lord Penfold, First Of That Name, Thou Shalt Tremble Beneath His Velvety Footpaw’ takes over the world in the 1800s. I think I have to wait for it to actually be published, but just saying, go read ‘The Tower and the Fox’ if you haven’t already, because the concluding book in the trilogy is going to be dang nice.
Will keep you all posted about how things are going, and, yes, for at least one more month, the Patreon is paused.
As always, appreciate the support from all of you. <3
(Edit: I am corrected. There will be ANOTHER ‘and the fox’ book after the third. This is good news.)