We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Circles. Wheels. In Indigenous spirituality, in Pagan spirituality worldwide, as well as in mystical forms of all major religions, this form has a particular meaning. Seasons of earth, of time, of nations, of self.
As those of you who know me understand… I am a woman of Winter. Born in the autumn I become increasingly more alive as we move into the dark time when the world is born again and the light returns in late December.
However… It is 103 Fahrenheit or 37 Celcius today, air quality alerts are out and everything, including me, is a big bag of droop. Happens most every year.
Another circle: I’m working on a new novel, and usually, when I’m getting that first draft down, I make sure the manuscript goes forward by 1,000 words a day. Right now, though, given the aforementioned droop, I can only manage about 500 words forward a day, keeping the rest of day for effort-consuming tasks like breathing.
(I’m not really complaining. I don’t have to deal with the horror that is Penn Station this summer, and I have air conditioning, unlike many people, including many incarcerated people. I can’t imagine.)
The other thing I’m doing is mentoring. If you’re not a Canadian writer you probably aren’t aware of the awful in-fighting among Canadian writers this past year. One of the accusations younger writers made against older writers (like me, I assume) is that we don’t care about young writers, and worse, that we want to keep the gates locked against them. So, although I’ve always mentored beginning writers privately, most of them haven’t been in Canada. The Canadian writers I’ve mentored have been through programs like the one offered by Humber College. So this year I asked my friends in Canadian academia to recommend some writers who might be interested, and was delighted to find someone to work with.
As all mentorships are, it’s a great gift and privilege to watch a writer develop, to watch her find her voice, her themes, her point of view. And this, too, is a circle, reminding me and returning me to the delight of pre-publishing writing. Seeing it through someone else’s eyes, witnessing their process, is a marvel.
One of the joys of being a writer is the life-long process of learning who you are, what really matters to you, what feeds your soul, and how you can contribute… to life. Publishing is a business. Writing is a way of life. Publishing is external, demanding, and often entails disappointment, criticism, heartlessness, as well as a rollercoaster ride of ups, downs, and unexpected twists and turns. For me, even though it can be fun, and rewarding — hearing from readers for whom your work has mattered is such a blessing — it’s also exhausting.
I am, like most writers, an introvert and accepting that and giving myself permission to simply live the writer’s life, moment to moment, is a balm, especially as I grow into my own new circle of aging. In this period of my life, I turn down social invitations I know will drain me, I am grateful for the people who understand and support me, and I live each day in relationship with the written word, and to the world around me, right here, right now.
Seasons of the year, of relationships, of work, of life. … I’d love to hear where you are these days.