Such a good question! Actually all is well, and there is a lot of happening — but there were also a few major shifts in my thinking which are changing how I get things done, and when, and why.
First, the stuff. Semester has wrapped up…with one final dissertation defense this week. At the undergraduate level, these were the best classes I have ever had: delightful, hardworking, brave writers trying new things. I started teaching at KU in 2012, and every year I have liked the teaching part of it more. I am also delighted that I received the Congers-Gabel Teaching Professorship for the next three years: this comes with a pleasant little stipend attached to my normal salary.
The summer is looming! Ad Astra will be hosting a benefit auction this weekend at Conquest, and my basement is filled with crates and bags that will need to get over to Kansas City on Thursday and Friday. We missed a couple of years, of course, so this is the first time in a while. Proceeds will go to Ad Astra for our Fall 2022 talks/classes. The in-person short story developmental workshop June 13-18 is a Go, as is the Novel Architects Master Class August 1-5 (and we are still accepting people for that one). In the middle somewhere, I’ll be driving across country with Elizabeth; finishing the revision of American Tour, finishing a short story for my second short story collection (which is due), and making some art! (Which I am sure I’ll talk about in another post).
None of which explains why I didn’t post anything this last while. I have been feeling fine, though there are a few things I was stalling or avoiding. (But doesn’t everyone avoid work once in a while?) Therapy has been great (as in, everything you ever hope for from therapy: life-changing and exciting and all the rest) and my never-ending anxiety and my underlying sense of being unsafe just…eased. Nothing changed: I just finally realized I was fine; I could handle anything I needed to. Anxiety was a stale response to a problem that didn’t exist any more. It’s a little scary saying this here — what if I wake up tomorrow, back in the trenches of anxiety or even depression? — but that’s the point, isn’t it? The anxiety would be just as irrelevant and stale tomorrow as it is today.
So: assume that the lion’s share of the dread and anxiety that shaped my life is gone. Hurrah! Except it turns out that the anxiety was a powerful driver to get things done. I have to be ready; I have to fix this; what else might go wrong? Better clear the decks. I did ALL THE THINGS PLEASE DON’T KILL ME UNIVERSE. Take away the underlying sense of unsafeness that led to all that anxiety, and wow, it’s been really easy to think,That’ll wait. No problem, I’m gonna go over here and do this cool collage project — not from procrastination or any attempt to distract myself from the things that make me anxious, but because collage is cool, right? Right.
I’m still thinking about how to redefine what makes a thing urgent — panic and guilt aren’t going to work as my regulators anymore. What’s important, when my decisions aren’t based on whatever I need to do to easy my discomfort? And how cool is it that this is a thing to think about in my life. I never thought I would get here.