Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is optimism cockeyed?


Sometimes you can record life. Other times, when multiple opportunities beckon, you just have to live it.

That pretty much sums it all up for a writer, doesn’t it?

Okay, I’ll admit it: when I first drafted the second sentence, above, I wrote: “when multiple obligations beckon.”

That’s the expected verbiage: I’m too harried, too many people are pulling at me, it’s all about what I can give, give, give, and nobody ever asks me what I need. We Americans do want to feel put out and put upon, don’t we? Maybe overfilling our plates until we explode, whether in McDonald’s or our day planners, is the only way to feel self-important. Anyway, the party line of this modern sorority is so pervasive it even infiltrated my language as I began this post, thereby hijacking the topic I’d planned to write about today.

But that’s okay. I must redirect, because I rejected the party line long ago. That’s just not the way I feel about life.

My obligations are my opportunities; I chose each and every one for what it can bring to my life. I’ve missed blogging for—ack!--two weeks now because the living of my life swelled to the point that my recording of it had to take a back seat.

But I’ve been writing my memoir, which is so meaningful to me. I've been editing steadily, which is work that I love, and provides some income. I’ve been exercising daily. I took a quick road trip with my son to look at a graduate school program, and on the way, introduced a fourth generation of my family to my favorite pizza in the world (and that has been a serious competition): Twin Trees Pizza in Syracuse, New York.

I’ve been preparing for several talks about writing that are coming up (you can see them in the sidebar). I LOVE to talk about writing! I went to my new neighborhood’s book discussion group, attended the Writer’s Coffeehouse and a book launch party, and met with my new Doylestown writing group—the only thing I love more than living here in Doylestown is combining my life here with literature.

Can we tame time? While I can try, by selecting my projects carefully, I can’t really control it any more than I can control my fate. Things come up; things I long to embrace; things that make me feel wonderfully alive. I have surrendered: my life is a constant, free form triage. The activities I choose are nothing less than the expression of me in this world, and for that reason I will get them all in.

Living this way makes me happy to get up every single morning. I’m a glass-is-99%-full kind of gal.

But when the milk starts to spill over the edges, I hope you’ll forgive me an occasional brief absence from this blog. Just picture me in Doylestown, mopping up the spill, with a big smile on my face.

But I don't think it's just me—I believe optimism is in the air. After only spotty editing work since the economy tanked, I suddenly face a 7-week backlog of manuscripts, that I am steadily (and happily!) chipping away at. Maybe others are sensing what I thought from the start: the economy is simply the economy, and we’re all in the same boat. And now my personal economic indicator (my self-employment income) tells me that either 1) the economy is on the upswing, or 2) writers are sick and tired of allowing the economy to dictate their writing dreams.

Either way is a cause for optimism. Fellow writers are even talking less about the "death of the book" and looking for ways to embrace the unknown possibilities of e-books.

What hopeful signs have you been seeing?

5 comments:

Eve said...

Thank you for your optimism. Only this morning I thought how lucky I am. It was dreadfully cold, but the sun shining through the curtains, creating jewels among the leaves of my house plants was wonderful. I'm buy revising my YA mystery novel. It seems better than I thought, and after nearly two month of no photography jobs, I suddenly have three. I found myself writing: Here comes the sun, here comes the sun...

Eve said...

Oops, that was meant to be busy revising.

Kathryn Craft said...

Thans for your comment, Eve. You paint a beautiful picture. I think that rising with the sun is a highly optimistic choice, since obscured by clouds or not, it always does rise. Of course that's just our perception. The sun is really the quintessential optimist--always there, always shining, while we spin round and round.

Thanks for starting my day off by inspiring a little mediation on the nature of point of view and optimism! Good luck with your YA novel AND here's to an upturn in the photography business.

Helen Ginger said...

I love that you are doing many different things. I believe stepping away from the computer is a good thing! I'm trying to do more of it myself.

Kathryn Craft said...

Thanks for stopping by, Helen. I know I'd be more secure financially by now if I could have created one plan and climbed the corporate ladder or something, but I'm made of too many interests and passions. I'm the type of character for whom internal conflict was invented!