I’ve been distracted a lot with work recently. A lot of new projects are lining up in the pipeline and all of them are really interesting to me. I’m also very excited about my pet cancer-fighting gut bacterium project, which I work on here and there in my spare time- I’ve reworked some analyses and the results are even better the second time around! I need to do some more actual in-lab wet bench work, though, so I’m waiting to see if my UCLA collaborators get funding or if they want to write a Broad Institute SPARC grant for a bit of money.
So yes, this has taken up a lot of my time and energy recently. However, I found myself in a coffee shop yesterday and wound up writing a very short story- 925 words. It was for a writer’s workshop group I’m part of, and the theme for our stories was “The Secret Lives of Ghosts”. Given the recent death of my father and subsequent ghost story, I decided to write about that- so the story won’t be shared, but at least I wrote something.
I may try to write something a bit more lighthearted and silly soon- I need to cheer myself up sometimes! Luckily spring is coming, or rather, trying to get here since the weather report says it may snow in the next few days. Where there are daffodils, there is still hope.
Yesterday was my father’s memorial service. I’ve been struggling this past month with his death as well as my own illness, which after a lull in February has come back full force. On top of all this, I’m trying to teach myself more about the Linux operating system and basic commands, as well as learn about structural equation modelling. I need to know this kind of stuff to stay competive in my line of work.
I am aware that I’m not really making enough time for my creative writing, and this bothers me. I realize the problem with putting off writing projects forever is that life spans are finite- my writing projects may never finish at this rate. I have a lot of newish ideas bubbling in my brain for how to improve Anagama (the major criticism was poor pacing and too many cliches) and for new things to write as well, but when I sit down to write I’m distracted by the ideas coming forward for my paid work, or I don’t do the best job I can do because I’m rushing to finish a chapter or a scene. I’ve started to realize the futility of making myself stick to a writing schedule when I have so many other things in my life which, as they pay my bills, must take priority. Unfortunately, I have to take things slowly and not push myself too much, so when I do write, I write as well as I can. Lesson learned.
I’ve had commentary on the first draft of Anagama for three months now. I had thought I could polish up and have a good manuscript ready by Easter, and of course that seems ridiculous in hindsight! I simply haven’t had both creative energy and heart to really delve into it. That orange cat of life I wrote of last year has come back and is sitting on my chest this time, breathing in my face, preventing me from doing too much.
Today’s a lovely day, sunny and while there’s snow on the ground, it isn’t too cold. After some time outside I plan to spend time on Igor, my bioinformatics computer, analyzing some important data for a cancer-fighting gut bacterium project I started in 2014. This will probably occupy my spare time for a week. Next weekend I’ll be alone still (my husband is in Ohio, for work), so I hope by then I’ve gotten my head back on straight and can spend a solid day becoming familiar with my manuscript again and making cuts/edits to it. It’s been pointed out to me that editing a finished manuscript is easier than writing a new one- this is true to an extent. We will see how this process goes with a manuscript written in various stages, like Anagama.
If I manage a vacation this year, I will certainly spend time relaxing and, hopefully, create something that’s worth reading, even if only a short piece.