Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

(Here’s this week’s Patreon post and cat.)

The last few months have been draining for me, based on a catalog of things that have been depressing, stressful, uncertain, and/or lonely. Is there a reason to list them all? Many years ago, when I was so assiduous about LiveJournal posts, I talked about EVERYTHING, big and small, personal and professional, productive and pointless. That was a challenging time and I was desperate for contact, and you could argue that LJ kept me alive; but afterward I felt as though I had shared too much. This became a problem when I started to feel better: people knew things about my life I didn’t feel safe about; some people were Friends because I was broken, and they didn’t believe (or want to believe) I could get better. As a result, for years and years after that, I didn’t say much personal or challenging online. It’s only been the last few that I have opened up more, and that was mostly because I was feeling great and didn’t need to worry about the consequences of what I said.

But this semester has been rocky. I have a lot of skills now that I didn’t have, and I don’t see that things could get that bad ever again. I can see the reasons for these negative feelings — that catalogue I mentioned a paragraph ago — and I know a lot of ways to feel better, workarounds and tactical strategies as well as systemic solutions. And yet, here we are.

The underlying problem for all of this is uncertainty. Why am I having trouble writing a new story? Finishing the American Tour rewrite? Announcing the next wave of workshops? Looking forward to summer? Catching up on schoolwork? Remembering to pay the bills? Reaching out to friends? All the same answer: all the things I don’t control, which is all the things.

When a part of your life is dissatisfying or miserable, you have basically three options for dealing: try to change it, leave it as it is and try to find a way to be comfortable with it, or leave it as it is and be miserable about it. The first two are the preferred solutions; but you can’t actually do both at once. If you want change, you have to work toward that change — but you’re not usually in entire control of whether that change happens. If it’s a job or a relationship or environmental change or global peace, you may work your ass off and still not get a solution you want.

Is there a way to simultaneously work for change and be at peace with the status quo? This is the question I am chewing on right now.

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