A Year Ahead; A Year Behind

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If you haven't already done so, I highly encourage you to check out the "Our Greatest Resource" issue just released at Project As[I]Am. It features love letters, poetry, visual and audio art about the world we want to create. You can also hear our editors speak on the issue in our audio letter -- edited and hosted by me!

A quote I saw on the wall of a 5th grade classroom - "It's about progress, not perfection" in a loopy calligraphy script.

It was my 25th birthday yesterday and I had a bad cold (of course). It turned my brain foggy at work; it was a relief when finally I got to my three days off and could sleep in.

In my last post, I talked about creative drought. Somehow, while I was in the middle of it, a few public readings fell into my lap. I performed at Subdrift (a South Asian open mic that has come to Seattle) and read a piece of the novel draft for the first time in a public forum. It was fairly low stakes since it was an open mic, but the positive feedback really enlivened me. I read another draft piece as part of the QTPOC Artists of Color (volume 2!) book launch reading last night.

There's an effect called response-shift bias that I've learned while doing evaluation work. People come into a training feeling relatively confident that they know the material, but by the end they realize how much they don't know. So they rate themselves as having less knowledge than when they walked in the door. That's the place that I've gotten to in my research -- I've been anxious to begin new parts of the draft because it feels like there's a wealth more to do. What kind of bats would be in that tree? What is the archetypal trickster animal in that region? Where can I put in this detail without disrupting the flow? Elena Rose (who also read last night and co-edited the volume), described this process as "cat-vacuuming"-- when you're looking for more things to do to put off the actual project.

The past several years I've spent hopping from thing to thing, collecting experiences and research and deciding where to focus my energies. Years of discovery. I feel like this year, however, is one of depth rather than breadth. Not to say that discovery is over forever, but for now my desires have shifted away from acquiring a bunch of new skills to tunneling deep into the behind-the-scenes work. You may not see me a lot this year -- I'll be poking around at a few invisible behemoths, trying to see how big they are by feel -- but I'm sure that you'll hear a great deal about how it's all going. For now, I'm going back to my ginger tea and ruminating.