Most of my body hurts, and I'm moving pretty slowly. It's because I got a job a few weeks ago as a groom at a horse stable. I adore the job, and I'm so happy to be doing even the crummy chores required of me at the barn, but I won't romanticize what it's doing to my joints and muscles and spine. Going from 500-5,000 steps per day to 18,000-30,000 steps per day is a big change. I've Googled and Googled and yes, this kind of painful adjustment to a job full of physical labor is normal and in a few weeks I will be feeling better. But I'm a little worried. I'm almost 40, after all, and I can't bounce back from major exertion like I did in my 20s.
November was like how you get into the pool if you're skittish about water temperature. I wrote one thing, and then I read a book, and then I did no reading or writing for days, and then I read a little more and wrote a little more...by the end of the month I started feeling more like myself, acclimated to the water, ready to read and write with gusto again. But it won't be like it was.
"Burned out" is not what happened to me w/r/t book reviews this year. I just realized, sometime this fall, that I wanted to do more than one thing in a given day, a given week. As I took on more and more books, I watched fewer films, talked to fewer friends, did hasty work with my other responsibilities. If I had a maid, and didn't have a book of my own to finish, I could've kept it up. (Maybe.) Because I am who I am, though - profoundly scattered among interests and desires - it had to stop.
I'm not shutting down my reviewing work completely, but I'm done pitching reviews for a little while except in the rarest circumstances. I'll keep working for my regular folks, Locus and B&FG and a few others. However, I'm more interested in curating, and working on other parts of my creative life, for the immediate future.
More opportunities for curation will be abundant soon; I've been named the new Reviews & Interviews Editor for the VIDA Review. I'm extremely excited about this, and I feel, as objectively as possible, that it's a great fit for everyone concerned. We haven't had an editorial meeting yet with the new staff, so I'm not ready to talk about volume or strategy or pitches, but I hope you'll put a little bookmark on me in your head if you have something you'd like to pitch in the future.
Some Ceremonials news: I got a Kirkus review (no, I didn't pay for it); the first interview with me about the book has gone up; and I finally found a site that had a graphic template I could use to make a tour date postcard. (Soon to be in paper form; thanks, Moo's Cyber Monday sale.)
|Many more guests will read than can fit on this postcard|
I will likely come to the east coast in July, and depending on how the book does, I might do a Midwest/Deep South leg in the fall of 2020. Ceremonials releases in two months and a week, or thereabouts, and I will have lots more news and info for you as the time passes.
A couple of publications I want to share here, in case you missed them:
- An essay about Black Widow, a movie I love with absolutely no cult following at all, for Bright Wall/Dark Room. This was the fourth or fifth thing I pitched or submitted to them, and I had some heartbreaking near-misses, so it's gratifying to have something accepted.
- This weird short story called "The First Snow," published in a paper volume of Storm Cellar several seasons ago, newly posted on the website this week. My opinion of my own short stories has shifted so much over time that I honestly have no idea anymore if it's a good piece of writing. I'm happy with what I did, so I'm kinda done worrying about it.
Look for a short essay on Pink Floyd's The Wall coming soon, something I thought about for a lot longer than it took me to write it, and rambled endlessly to Matt about, poor fella. Listen for a podcast with me and my NB sibling from another...nibling, Ilana Masad, coming soon. Get ready for multiple angsty social media posts as December, my least favorite month of all, wears on.