"Job" and "life" feel pretty interchangeable at this point, but of course they're not. I can lean on others for help with my life. Last night I called my husband from an event in Santa Monica and asked him to make dinner, so I and my guest would be able to eat almost as soon as we got home, and although I felt bad because there was the briefest pause and I knew he'd been at work all day and I was asking him to work some more and he was clearly not really up for it, he did it, because we are married and that's what the spouse does, they help, even when they don't really want to. But for my job I'm stuck with me. Matt can't review books for me, he can't follow up on pitches for me, and he can't apply for awards and grants for me (regrettably).
I had a houseguest for the past several days who has been doing full-time creative freelancing for a lot longer than I have. She is also naturally more organized than I am. She gave me a whole lot of ideas and pointers, some of which I'm going to implement right away (divide work into three categories) and some of which won't adapt to me (visual project planning) (she is an artist, and I can't draw a decent freehand rectangle). While she was here, we visited a heavenly stationery store in Highland Park, and I bought a huge, beautiful project planner, with all kinds of room for whatever I need to keep track of. I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to use it yet, and I don't want to muck it up with false starts.
In the meantime I'm going back to my old Panda Planner, which I loved for several months, but which doesn't have enough room in its monthly calendar for my purposes. My deadlines are based in months rather than weeks or days (something I learned along the way), and I need the space to plot them out, which little monthly squares don't give me. Since my next three weeks are going to be tightly plotted, though, I'm going to use the Panda unconventionally to set things in order.
The first dramatic step I've taken is to archive everything in my email box before January 1 of 2018. I am a keeper, not a thrower-awayer, so I had 4,000 emails in one mailbox and 5,000 in another. Now that's down to under 1,000 each. I'd like to take it down further, archiving & deleting everything unnecessary, so I can do the "inbox zero" practice that thrower-awayers generally do. The follow-ups are too time-consuming at the moment, and could be much better if I could get a system going.
Yes, I did this to myself. No, I'm not complaining. Not really. I told an editor the other day that I'm running around with my hair on fire, and that's true, but complaining? I love my work. I love my life. I wish there were a bit less of it, is all.
In this week's big news, I will have a review in the Times Literary Supplement this week, and I bought this novelty pillow:
I'll leave it to you to decide which is more impressive.
Out in the world (it's been a minute since I did this):
I extracted a piece of my thesis-project memoir, named it "Boundin'", and reworked it (with editorial help) for Nailed. If you haven't known me for long, or if you happen to have a grumpy opinion about my financial privilege or emotional stability, I recommend you read it. My life was not always so.
I interviewed Carlos Lozada of the Washington Post for sinkhole. We talked through an intermediary, so I didn't get a sense of his personality via email like I usually do, but via his answers he seems like a good, smart, friendly guy.
I interviewed Litsa Dremousis for Books I Hate. She, on the other hand, demonstrated a wealth of personality, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I reviewed a book of short stories from Bolivia, Sleeping Dragons by Magela Baudoin, for Cleaver. I liked the book. Very economic prose.
I reviewed Sybil Baker's novel While You Were Gone for the Heavy Feather Review. Both Sybil's team and HVR were great to work with and I hope to do so again.
I reviewed The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn, a beautiful book, for Locus. This came out in print in the...August? issue, I think, and is just now on the website. It's accompanied by a bitchy little take on a book I really disliked, Moon Brow, by Shahriar Mandanipour.
More to come, including Rain Taxi and, oh, did I mention the TLS?