May 12th, 2006

thoughtful

Juggling too many hamsters

Hamsters hamsters everywhere!

Between canadiansuzanne's son's hamster, snarkydork_jodi's hamster, cmpriest's posting of this adorable hamster-cupcake video, and my offhand comment likening writing fiction to washing dishes while juggling hamsters, I think the cosmos is trying to convey a hamster-illustrated message upon me. (I guess birds was too subtle.) And this metaphysical hamster-dispatch, I believe, is that I've got too many hamsters in the air.

Guess now would be a good time to revisit the whole "reinvention" thing. I've had friends who've "reinvented" themselves. Some have done it multiple times and afterwards they seem pretty much the same to me--maybe with a new wardrobe or new job or some-such, but fundamentally still them.

I've never properly understood the underlying motivation that prompts these episodes of self-overhaul. Even after major life changes--like our relocation to Georgia and the loss of my old day job--I didn't feel like I was reinventing anything. It was the same old me, but in a new place doing different things.

I still don't get it with regard to the nature of people and personalities, but I think I do understand the mindset and mood that drives it. Sort of. It's a profound sense of discontent with the grounded and fundamental beliefs or assumptions about yourself, a dissatisfaction with deep underpinnings that require more than a few tweaks or a change in venue.

I've been feeling that way about my writing of late. With my frustration about obtaining the "next level," and my desperation at ever breaking into the Big 3, I'm left with an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction--and dropped hamsters. Add onto that the glaring inability to make anything remotely like a decent living on short stories (who can survive on $.05/word??), and my failure at maintaining progress on my novels, and I'm left floundering in a big ole morass of reproachful hamsters at my feet.

After wrestling with that for a bit, I think I've come up with a solution: I need to put down some hamsters.

What does this mean on a non-abstract, "am I putting down this Siberian hamster or that Roborovskii hamster" level? I dunno, I'm still working on that. But I do know I'm feeling pretty fragmented and way over-stressed these days.

I want to make a living doing what I love, which is writing. That hasn't changed, nor will it. But what I write, what I focus on, and where I concentrate my efforts, I think that needs a realign. I need to reorganize my priorities or I'm going to burn out. And if I burn out on writing, well, I may as well burn out on life.
   

Writing Stuff

New Words/Editing:
- 1600 on a freelance project. Several editing passes, polished, and sent off to the client. Payment received in less than 24 hours.
- 100 on the Swan Lake story. I shouldn't have put it down the other day. I was on the verge of hitting flow, and now I seem to have lost my place. And there's another hamster on the rug, dammit.


Published:
- basletum's interview of me for his "Give it Meaning" column.


Received:
- 9-day no grabbie from JJA at F&SF.

I think that might've been a dwarf hamster. Tossed him too high and now he's quivering on top of a bookshelf.


Club 100 For Writers
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500/day
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