I’ve developed a slight bit of hesitation about writing on here now that the site is created.
I think it partly has to do with trying to discern which things deserve the most of my attention at this present time. I am very disoriented because I have way too much to think about. I have made lists, and re-created mini calendars over and over again on every butcher paper I can get my hands on. The lists supposedly should help me have something to check off, but this function is moot if I don’t actually look at the list. The calendar helps me look ahead, but with so many they only serve to stir up fear and chaos as the hours turn into days and days into a week, and now August 1.
For me, July pretty much began with VONA even though in reality VONA was the last week of June. The energy I took away from VONA kept fueling my enthusiasm. The community I was gifted with, helped restore my belief in the human species. This was further cemented for me with the amazing turn-out of my POC for my reading. July Rocked!
July rocked, in another way. It was also one of my more difficult and indecisive months. I came to VONA after a particularly difficult and frustrating vacation with my partner. The love boat continued to rock precariously throughout July as I tried to focus on the things that were most important in my life. I came face to face with a realization that had been there for a couple months. That I had some changes to make about being more assertive in my relationship and standing up for myself and my interests.
Through all this, I was debating on whether to make a long overdue journey back to the motherland. The wishy-washy nature of this decision was aided by the people surrounding me who could have been more supportive. For their own personal reasons, each family member tried to convince me to postpone my trip so we could travel together. As much as I was nervous about tackling the 24 hour journey and impending three-week stay by myself, I was also cherishing the fact that I would be able to perhaps record stories. Make this more of an “ethnographic researcher’s” trip than a busy, tiring visit as was characteristic of the times when we had made the quintessential family vacation home.
July held my worries about money. My attempts at job searches and endless cover letter revisions which I treated with a wild abandon on some days, and a obsessive task on others. My many visits to my budget even as I tried to consider the implications of a 3 week unpaid vacation, and a ticket to Ghana with a price tag almost twice my rent. A new job meant no vacation. A vacation at the old job meant no pay. In the end, my therapist eased some of the confusion. My explanation of my father’s death helped me deduce that I would rather not eat out for a month than attend another funeral of someone I hadn’t seen in years because money was too tight to make the trip. If anything, money had been tighter when we returned from that impromptu funeral with a total ticket tag price of over $10,000.
July also held all my excitement of being published, and another public reading. It held in it the new friendships and family that VONA had given me. It held all the suggestions various other people had given me about how to move on with my work. The many magazines and websites which were accepting submissions, the various residencies that some of my friends had recommended. Above all, it held Anna, Lisa, Joyce, and Cyndi, my virtual family with whom I checked in almost every day or so. In a sense, July held my new dreams.
It does not hold them captive, gone, never to be retrieved again. Today, I had to come to grips with the ending of such a packed month, and I had to rescue my dreams from within July to carry them forward. This morning when I woke up with a start after a particularly disturbing dream about my work, I knew I had work to do to keep those haters (myself included) at bay. I panicked at how much the task demanded of me, but tried to think positively. It did not help that while I ate breakfast I scanned a book by Ira Wood and Marge Piercy titled, So You Want to Write,.
So I want to write. So I want a new job, another job. So I want to spend time in Ghana with my family. The way I see it, none of these “so”s can happen if they remain a “so” because this will be my excuse for being unproductive. So, I am beginning with my first “so”: I want to write. I will continue to strive for writing everyday and checking in with my VONA peeps, but I will be gentle with myself if I don’t quite make it.
I will have a friend over for dinner tonight, and we will cook together. One of my favorite things to do. Perhaps, we will have a conversation about nothing in general. Perhaps we will have a conversation about my dilemmas, or hers. For now, I will be taking care of myself by doing one of my favorite things.