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Walking Through It

Resolutions? Nah. Goals? Yes.

Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began. It’s solid advice, right, but starting can be tricky as heck. 2019 is very much a blank slate for me. I’m starting over in so many ways, and it’s exciting, but also terrifying, because who knows what’s over that mountain I’m about to climb? (It’s either a chasm or another mountain, right? Maybe it’s a river…maybe there’s a BAKERY. I digress.)

Dearest Lindsay sent me an amazing thing as 2018 wound down; I don’t usually take much stock in astrology, but HOLY HECK, this Leo post from AstroPoets:

If you’ve felt trapped in 2018, you won’t in 2019. Trapped in the sense that you know there’s more you can do, but various personal and professional obligations have held you back from your true ambitions. This new year is a return to those ambitions and to your very healthy Leo resolve. When you decide to do something, you do it. There haven’t been as many yes people as you’ve needed around. This has been difficult for you, as you thrive on encouragement more than any other sign. Learning to say yes to yourself, without applause, is important. It’s small and it’s daily. It’s a very big lesson you’ll learn at the start of this year. Don’t forget that there are people who would risk anything for you, and that to achieve your biggest ambitions, you have to risk everything for yourself, too. There’s a green door. Walk through it.

[stares in Leo]

This really speaks to me — on fronts that I can talk about (Shimmer) and those I don’t really have permission to (oh ho cryptic). Especially the applause part ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Also — the green door? We’ll come back around to that in a minute because yeah. We will.

So, goals! (Goaaaaaaaallllll!) One goal is surely starting to eat like a human person again, and not a mindless beast who is inhaling everything that crosses their path. A related goal is to get back into the gym, because my body and brain are both happier when I move. Gymbrain is a great thing (endorphins??); everything wakes back up.

I want to return to short stories this year: writing them, and (oh my gosh) reading them for pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading for Shimmer, but reading for pleasure is an entirely different thing (which is maybe why I’m enjoying the hell out of Moby Dick). Reading when you’re assembling a specific magazine is not exactly reading for pleasure; you may love the stories, but they may not fit the puzzle you’re building. Reading for pleasure is just allowing the story to take you where it will. I’m reading How Long Til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin to help me with this goal. I want to see how stories work from a craft POV again — not an editorial POV.

I’m also…writing a book? What? It’s the first book I’ve written since I finished writing Folley & Mallory, and well. It sure is a thing. I am filled with doubt and wondering why anyone will care about this book when nothing I’ve written has garnered much attention. Why do I keep on? Why do I do this thing? That’s also a goal: to remember the WHY. I just love writing, right? I’d do it if no one read it and it never sold, so that’s a big answer, and one I need to sit with. (Learning to say yes to yourself, without applause, hello.)

But this new book. I’m kind of pantsing it, y’all. I have some basic ideas, and know my characters, and my setting, and there’s kind of a plot, but there’s certainly nothing as formal as an outline yet. I’m trusting myself (!) to know how this all works; I’m kind of leaping off the top of that mountain and seeing where the descent takes me. Just to remember what it is to fly?? We’ll see.

But that green door.

This is one of the first images I kept when I was poking around with the new book’s aesthetic. It’s an image I painted in ink during Inktober. It’s a green door. I’m walking through it.

I have the key, but what’s inside?
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