Summer Comes to a Close

Hey-o Bloggos.

I’m just popping in to talk about a few things as I gear up for a return to work. This has been a very bizarre summer, for all of us. I haven’t worked an 8-hour day since March, and next week I go back to my usual 40 hours a week schedule. That’s gonna be what we call an adjustment. I’m tired just thinking about it. But I’m excited too.

For those who don’t know or can’t remember, I’m a Library Media Assistant at a nearby public high school. The title is a bit of a misnomer, seeing as I’m the ONLY library staff in the school, so I’m basically a librarian, I just don’t formally teach any classes. Luckily, I’m in Oregon and we’re taking COVID-19 pretty seriously. Students will be distance learning until at least November, until our counties (both of them) are beneath 3% infection rate. Seeing as they’re both over 6% right now, I don’t see that really changing anytime soon.

Huckleberry Trail 2020
Huckleberry Trail, Molalla, OR

So, I have to figure out ways to keep the library engaging and essential during distance learning education. A pretty big task, if you ask me. But I have a lot of ideas and I know my admin team has my back. So, that’s good. We’ll work together and get through this.

The… weird news is that all staff are expected to work in the building, despite no students being there. I have mixed feelings about this, mainly because I have a better set-up here at home to work on digital programming and content than I do in my library. But, I’m also happy to be back in the space because there is a ton of housekeeping work I can do to basically make the library feel brand new by the time students are allowed back inside. Scheduling out my days to be efficient and creative is going to be the key to success this school year. And I’m feeling ready for the challenge!

Beyond the day job, I wanted to talk a little bit about how my writing is going since we last talked in… July? Yikes.

July was a bad bad bad month for writing. I think I wrote like, 600 some-odd words. Even my reading screeched to a halt. I was unmotivated, constantly doom-scrolling on twitter and facebook, and watching WAY too much news. The only bright spots were all the hikes, a getaway to the coast, and a trip to swim in the river. The outdoors really saved me this summer.

Cape Falcon 2020
Cape Falcon, Manzanita, OR

Another bright point was volunteering for the Willamette Writers Conference this year. I’ve never attended it or volunteered for it before, but with it being 100% digital this year I saw a new opportunity. I’d been going to twice weekly Coffee at Your Kitchen Table meetings, which were these wonderful informal Zoom meetings where writers could shoot the shit and just sort of talk about anything, writing related or not. I’ve made some friends and that led to the volunteering opportunity. Which in turn led to attending the conference for free. Whenever I wasn’t actively volunteering, I could attend panels/workshops and meet and mingle with other attendees. The keynote speakers were all amazing and I left the weekend feeling completely inspired and rejuvenated.

Since then, I’ve been doing yoga first thing in the morning then writing a poem over breakfast. Then I read, answer emails, and do some chores. The afternoons have a social media and news break, then I read some more and work on some short story revisions. Then Trevor comes home, we make dinner, and then I spend the evening either reading some more or working on a writing project.

It’s August 10th and I’ve written over 3k words this month, so I’d say it’s working!

Neakhanie beach 2020 2
Neahkahnie Beach, Manzanita, OR

But, now work is being reintroduced and I need to make some decisions. Do I want to continue my yoga and poetry ritual? If so, I need to get up at 5:30am every day. That would also cut into my evenings because I’d be going to bed earlier. And evenings are when I tend to do the most writing. I am most productive, writing-wise between 7 and 10pm. So, I’m really not sure. I think I’ll play it by ear next week and see how I feel.

Right now I’m working on the morning poetry, revising A Lullaby for Mattie Barker to ready it for submission, and a new short story(?) about twins and a haunted house. I have no idea what it is or where it’s going, but 2000 words of it dumped out of me last night, so I’ll ride that wave. I have 3 short stories out on submission, a microfiction (under 300 words) piece out, and a poem out. There’s a lot going on writing-wise, it’s just a lot of slow things, so it doesn’t feel that exciting.

Sanitam Wagon Road 2020
Santiam Wagon Road, Cascadia, OR

Beyond that, I’ve applied to be a member of the Salem Public Library Advisory Board. I had an informal 1-on-1 with the library director, and I’ll hear back about my application in late September. I’m also waiting to hear if I’ve been selected for the SFWA’s Mentorship program. That news should be coming soon, so fingers crossed.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. I feel like I’ve woken up these past couple weeks and am just now getting into the groove to get some good work done. As much as I love summer, I should just get used to the fact that they are not creative months for me. All the free time leaves me too unregimented and nothing gets done. But now, with a routine looming on the horizon, I’m excited to get back to business.

I’m not 100% sure when I’ll be back, but I do intend to catch up on some Quarantine Reads videos this week, so hopefully you’ll see a lot of me on the blog soon.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ