Were We Meant to Hibernate?
Are we supposed to hibernate? Is there a long restful piece of my soul waiting to be abated? Does it attack my head and make me snap because I do not answer it? The leaves are sleeping, my chickens are fat--nestling close and clucking less. Should I grow fat and hide in the folds of my blankets? I'm half-way there.
I raked the leaves and cleaned the last of summer from my lawn in the soon to be fading sun. I saw all I did not do laid out in the empty spaces of thicket. I meant to clear that brush and make a fenced area, for a reason my brain does not yet know. I meant to. I did not. Summer was time for moving and grieving and playing and growing and gathering and walking until I ached.
I could make and create and clear all autumn and winter, through the death and decay and dismal dripping rain. But my mind won't want to. It will want to stay. Drink tea. Eat scones. Write, edit, write, edit, write. So I guess that's it. That's my hibernation. The time for work of the soul and mind.
But we who can take the time are lucky. Many persons never rest, either their body or mind work through the fog of chilled days and frigid nights. They duck under the rain on the way to that office or to fix that drain. They wonder, through and past and under the gloom, if they were meant to hibernate. And their bones and brains ache to stop and stare and warm next to a roaring blaze.
And I think...yes we are meant to hibernate. Sort of. You were meant to rest. Mind, body and soul need a deep sleep, uninterrupted by the race we put ourselves through. Rats in an never ending maze. We have become too busy to be well. And everyone wants to tell us what we should be doing.
Here's my advice for you: take this autumn, this bleak and chilled winter: rest. Watch snow fall out your window. Sit with a steaming cup in gloved hands under the turning trees. And don't worry, for a time, about what others want you to be.
I've been writing, lately, but it's been a lot less blogging/marketing oriented and more short stories/poetry. My writing moods vary depending on my life situation, as is the case with most writers. And lately, I've been extremely uninterested in blogging. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike writing blogs, but I often do it as a "reach out" exercise. I am reaching out to potential readers, geeks and friends when I blog. And that drive has somewhat diminished lately.
I know why. It's not a mystery why the untimely and too early death of my brother-in-law would remind me of the early death of my father when I was still a young adult and the importance of appreciating the little moments. The moments that are easy to dismiss because of their ordinariness...the moments that I sometimes push away, attempting to make a name for me. But what's a name worth? I'm not sure.
I've been taking time, lately, to walk with friends, talk with family, and be with my kids. I've been writing, too, because I love to write. I've been writing shorts and portions of my novel, things that tap into my creativity and intense feelings more than the non-fictional writing I do when I blog. My blogging taps into these things, too, but it's more intentional, I suppose.
This week I interviewed for a job. "But H.M.," you say, "your job is writing!" Writing can be a full-time job and is sometimes lucrative. However, I'm learning that is less and less the case for so many writers, even ones signing with big companies and agents. That might make some writers angry. At best, I'm apathetic. I don't want to be famous, a household name. I love writing when I write. I enjoy interacting with a small fan base. I won't mind if people start buying my work more often and I make more money, but I don't depend on it, and I'm feeling the need to exercise my other skills and do something that actually makes money.
I know, at one time, I had big aspirations of signing with this and that company, but I'm finding that the reality is that any job has problems. The downfall of full-time writing is a span of time when you make nothing and hear "no" more often than "yes." That's fine. I'm not giving up. I am just less concerned about it happening right away or even at all. I enjoy writing. I enjoy my readers and my fellow writers. I am concentrating on enjoying the process and practicing it as often as I can. I hope it pays off tangibly. It does not do so right now, and, alas, I want a job that does.
We all know that story. So, I'm applying for jobs, and I think I'll be offered one. My kids are back to school and I'm looking to have a resume of experience working jobs with moving people and not characters in my brain. Mostly, I'm missing my children. I'm longing for the end of school at the beginning of the school year like most parents are longing for the end of the summer and celebrating with pumpkin lattes.
But I'm not. The more people I lose in life, the less I think life is about what I'm doing, the recognition I get from it and the paycheck that comes in. I'm realistic. I need to make money. But I'm not eager for the time away from my kids. I thought I would be. I never wanted to be a mother until I was, and then I wasn't great at it right away. But I am good at it now. And I'm aware, more every day, with every wrinkle and ache that sneaks up on my still young body, that I have a very limited time with them, with everyone.
All this makes me cast my net closer to home. Accepting a job makes me nervous and worried, though I think it's the right choice to try something new, something that will lend itself to personal advancement. But it makes me sad, like I'm sad when my kids want to hang out for just an hour more, but we have to get them to school and I'm left too saddened by the reality of their aging to even want to write. I'm in one of those writing moods that makes it difficult to write lucratively. I am writing for me. Not for an audience. It's selfish, sure, but sometimes necessary.
I am seeing the span of my life in years and it seems so short. I am watching my children get taller every day and the "jobs" I do feel so much less fulfilling. I used to think that my life would not be as full if I didn't achieve this or that position. Now...I'm not so sure. My revelations aren't new, they're just where I'm at.
I'm not offering advice or asking people unlike me to find solace in the same things I find solace in. This is a selfish post. And perhaps an explanation for my lack of geeky gusto in writing. I am taking some time to experience the life I have and not worry about what I don't have. I hope my readers will excuse this contemplative and perhaps sad little post. I hope they will be patient with me when my writing lags. If they aren't, I have other things that bring me joy.
H.M Jones is the author of B.R.A.G Medallion Honor and NIEA finalist book Monochrome, its prequel Fade to Blue, the Adela Darken Graphic Novellas, Al Ravien's Night, The Immortals series, and several short stories.