He capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth, he writes blogs, he speaks holiday

Hello, good morning, and welcome.  I’m back to my usual schedule at last, so once again it is Thursday, and it is time for the next edition of my weekly blog post.  Huzzah!

I’ve been under the weather this week, fighting a reasonably severe cold (which is still better than a relatively mild case of Covid-19 or a mild flu).  It really took the wind out of my sails.  I think I’m finally at the tail end of the thing, so I feel a surge of physical energy, and that’s always nice.  It helps counteract the melancholy of a holiday season in which long, dark nights exacerbate underlying mood disorders and when merry gatherings among others highlight the fact that one cannot spend any time with one’s loved ones, for about the dozenth year in a row.  Hypothetically.

Speaking of holidays, Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it!  It snuck up on me this year, since it came right on the heels of Thanksgiving, and in fact began before the end of November.  Such are the joys of holidays based upon an ancient, lunar calendar in a society that uses the much more sensible modern update of the Gregorian calendar.  At least it keeps things from being too dull and repetitive.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve had some difficulty writing recently; I worried that I’d gotten too tired of Outlaw’s Mind thanks to numerous interruptions.  Last week my work on it was sparse indeed, and this Monday morning, still reeling from the worst of my upper respiratory infection, I didn’t write anything at all.  In desperation, I decided to try again to revert to handwriting, and I bought some nice quality, loose-leaf notebook paper, with the thought that I would either continue Outlaw’s Mind on it or switch over to Changeling in a Shadow World.  I entertained visions of myself reclining in my narrow bed with clipboard on lap, pen in hand, making real progress on either story.  It was a pleasant notion and helped lift my spirits when I was under the weather.

Then, Tuesday morning, I took a direction that surprised me by working quite well—I switched back over from writing on my desktop, “work” computer* to using my little, portable laptop, originally purchased to use while commuting.  It, or its predecessor, is what I’ve used to write almost all of my recent work, and I was quite surprised to learn that this change made a real difference.  Writing on the little laptop has been so much smoother, so much more natural, that I would not have credited the difference before.

Other factors could be involved.  I’ve been steadily trying to get back into the story fully, and perhaps I simply finally crossed some mental threshold.  I’ve gotten past at least one major, depressing, (formerly) family holiday, and that’s a relief.  I’ve begun to recover from my recent virus, and that can’t hurt.  Also, I’ve been counting my calories rather severely and successfully since last Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and have succeeded so far in keeping to my draconian limitation, which certainly improves my sense of power over myself.  Any or all of these things could contribute to improved outcomes, and most or all of them probably do.  I’m not that interested in knowing the relative contributions of each factor, certainly not enough to try to vary only one thing at a time, to see which is really dispositive.  I just want to be able to write.

And I’ve been so able.  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings combined, in less than 45 minutes each morning**, I’ve written about three thousand words.  That’s not a record for me for two days’ work, probably not even close, but it’s a significant improvement over recent output.  I’ve also been more excited about both Outlaw’s Mind and Changeling in a Shadow World*** than I’ve been for a long time, thinking about things that will happen in both stories, going through dialogue in my mind, or out loud to myself while commuting, and so on.  I’ll finish Outlaw’s Mind first, but as a bit of a bone thrown to myself, I put my new notebook paper on my clipboard and at the top of the first page wrote:  “Changeling in a Shadow World by Robert Elessar”.  It’s readily available and visible in the office, so if I get some down time during the day, and feel so motivated, I can grab it and start writing.

Other than all that, there’s not much worth talking about.  I won’t comment here on new Covid-19 variants, though I made a video more generally about viruses, bacteria, etc.  I might have mentioned that last week; I can’t be bothered to check, nor have I really begun editing it yet.  Ironically, I’ve been too much suffering from the effects of a virus myself.

In any case, welcome to December, welcome back to Thursday, Happy Hanukkah and a happy holiday season in general.  Whether you’re generally a “Joy to the World” type or, like me, an “Oy! to the World” type, I hope you’re doing well, and that you have a wonderful week, month, and remainder of the year.


Hanukkah 2

*That’s the desktop computer associated with my “day job”; I’ve been writing on it recently since I use it every day anyway, saving my daily work on a thumb drive.  I figured, why not?  It’s all the same program.  But it seems my psychology is quirkier than I would have predicted, at least in this realm.

**I’ve had to nap a bit before working each time after getting to the office.  I am still technically sick.

***I’ve pretty much decided that will be the next book I write.  It was the only one for which I got any real requests, and the fact that my sister was the source didn’t hurt, either.

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