You know that video – the one with the two red foxes screaming at each other, at arm’s (foreleg’s) length away? Just staring and screaming, occasionally looking around to see if anyone has commentary or choral aspirations for their love/antagonism? February was a bit like that. In the last month, since a whirlwind Jeopardy! appearance and an incredible outpouring of affection and support, the air became thick.
Peer reviews, illness, professional quirks, insanity on the television. Bullish weather, armed teachers, book selection challenges, advice from the uninformed.
At least there was chocolate. I’m lucky to have a lighthouse at home – in fact:
There’s no time in which I feel more at peace than in the winking daylight when I pull up on the curb. In a car now, and sometimes by foot, but hopefully on a bike soon. The lighthouse in my home is a port in the storm and a part of my form. Mental health days were taken, if only to make you breakfast and stick lavender incense in every cranny.
At times, I pursue reading above all physical concerns or obligations. In preparation for potential panels in the summer and reimaginings (forced and unforced) of the texts for next year’s classes, it’s been heavy on graphic novels and comic collections. These days I dream and breathe sequential art – it’s in every fiber and thread of the tenuous classroom strings. Despondency over the pre-spring doldrums hit hard this year, and my reading has been similarly contemplative. I’ve been checking out graphic memoirs, with varying lenses of trauma and redemption (eating disorders, abuse, neurological/mental illness, etc.), investing deeply in the Mignolaverse (splatty bug creatures and fun with ectoplasm), and revisiting Sandman with the collection of Death (Gaiman always rights the perspective-ship). Amid monsters and shadows, it’s life on every page.
The spring cleaning I need to do (besides the actual mountains of housework, writ in lists that, laid out on the floor, not only circumnavigate the whole domicile but also define the safe pathways that won’t result in stubbed toes or “TIMBER!” of assorted organized chaos piles) is of the mind. Minimize the day to day, focus on the big picture. Get back to one of those three writing projects. Beat back the block and decorate my world with a mantra splashed on the wall space, as Neil would have it:
The first step out.