Not Dead Yet. Not Even Mostly Dead (+Writer Unboxed Redirect)

tired poochSo I disappeared without explanation, and I’m sorry about that — the lack of explanation, not the retreat. After years of faking extroversion online, I hit my limit and entered a seven-week Franzen moment. I wanted to roll ย myself in bubble wrap, don noise-canceling headphones, and fill my Internet connection with epoxy glue.

The awesome and world-shattering things I did instead:

1. Read

2. Slept

3. Made solid headway on a story which I quite love and haven’t managed to totally screw up yet. It’s about love and loss, and how public spaces and strangers can shape our perception of both. (As I searched for a way to describe it, this last sentence just poured out of me. While you’re free to ignore it, it’s so eerily accurate I have goosebumps.)

4.ย Grew a shaggy mane of hair, which my hairdresser is turning into Farrah-locks at the time of this posting.

5. Learned that my hips don’t lie, as I continued to play with dancing.

6. Became transfixed, like most of you, with the cases of sexual assault and cyber-bullying in Canada and California, and then the events of West, Texas and Boston.

7. Celebrated that Writer Unboxed is a 2013 Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website yet again. (Thank you, WD!)

8. ย Worked through being unsettled by online conflict, then decided to turn it into a positive. I culled a list of resources for this Writer Unboxed post: 4 Horseman of the Relationship Apocalypse: Want Them for Members of Your Writing Community?

It looks like a tiny list, doesn’t it? Yet I feel both renewed and trimmer, like I shed a skin during that time. (Literally and metaphorically.)

What have you been up to in the gap? If you write, tell me about your fiction. If you read, tell me about your favorite book or blog post. If you’ve followed on online story, which one? Did it help you learn anything about human nature?ย 






15 thoughts on “Not Dead Yet. Not Even Mostly Dead (+Writer Unboxed Redirect)

  1. So nice to see you back, Miz Jan. I have to confess, I’m looking forward to my own social media recess this summer. The napping and dancing sounds awesome!

    I’m still slowly reading Wolf Hall — I love it so much I don’t want it to end.

    1. Are you going to take the summer off, Liz? Sounds fab and self-preserving.

      I haven’t read any Mantel yet, despite Deborah’s and your urging. She’s on my TBR list, though.

  2. Great to see your post pop up in my inbox again, and I have to say, that does not remotely look like a tiny list. It looks productive and healthy and happy-making.

    I wish that comment about faking extroversion online didn’t resonate so strongly for me. Every few weeks (or sometimes days) I take mini breaks, but once in a while I just slide right off the radar. It’s the only way I’ve found to maintain sanity.

    1. Lovely to be missed, Kern. Thank you!

      You know, beyond a few days of silence, I haven’t taken a complete break…ever. If I didn’t have something pending here, then I did for WU or for other writing communities. Do you find the times you don’t want to leave are precisely when you need it most? That’s true for me. I didn’t know how wound up I was until I wasn’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Hey you, welcome back. I missed your tart humor. ๐Ÿ™‚ You always have a lot a great wisdom to share, Jan, and today is no exception. Not to pun, but you embodied the biblical “Physician, heal thyself” –something we all should heed. In the midst of so much tragedy this week, it’s human nature to want to assign blame, affect external change, or wallow. But what we should do is be the best version of ourselves, to rise each day and make a positive impact in the space around us.

    This is the first time I’ve heard you mention your story and that made me smile. I’d love to know more about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I think I’ve mentioned I’m a control freak? Don’t you know I’m not supposed to be in need of healing? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Point taken, D. I’m getting smarter about being kinder to myself. It’s only taken a half-century!

      Re the story: No, I haven’t discussed it. I thought it would be a short story and planned to enter it for a contest in between writing on my novels. (Yes, you read that right. Plural. *sigh*) Now that I’ve blown through the word count that plan has been trashed. If/when it’s ready for public consumption, I’ll say more.

  4. Echoing Kern’s comment – glad to see a link to your post in my inbox. And suddenly realized how long it had been. Glad to see you back in the saddle, and still stretching yourself, but no longer (hopefully) stretching yourself thin.

    I’ve learned a lot in the past few months too. It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks (speaking for myself!) In the work/writing arena I learned I can only do so much and when what I want to do isn’t a priority, I have to learn to put it on the back burner. Yes, still working on that delayed gratification thing!

    In my personal and online community life, I’ve learned that people can fend for themselves and I don’t always (or even hardly ever) have to leap in and save them. Just because I always want to champion the underdog, doesn’t mean they necessarily are (the underdog!)

    In stepping waaaay outside my comfort zone and area of expertise, I’ve discovered that I love teaching! Who knew? In this process, I’ve learned that although I’m inherently a pantser, I’m feeling so good about being well prepared with a guideline for each class.

    Thank you for this post and the one over at WU. I always learn so much from you…and about you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Re the desire to look after the underdog: I’m built that way too, and I’m trying to learn similar restraint. Don’t you think teaching helps with that, because the goal is for students to surpass the teacher? Hard for them to do if we see them or anyone as feeble.

      I’m not surprised that you’re enjoying the teaching, nor that you’re excelling at it. You’re so warm and bright, it would be hard for students not to be pulled in. Bet you’re charismatic, too.

      1. Thank you, Jan. I’m not sure how charismatic I am, truly. I do make them laugh on occasion, which is always my goal. And yes, you’re right about wanting them to succeed and surpass. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

  5. Glad to see you back. I was hoping you were okay. It’s like the old saying, rest if you must but don’t quit.

    I’m working on a self-imposed screenplay deadline so I can get a bit of feedback before submitting it to my publisher.

    Meanwhile I’ve received a request to address a local grade ten class (in May) about writing, publishing, screenwriting and film production. They’re giving me the whole hour. ๐Ÿ™‚ Teens are cool. (It’s the wee ones that freak me out.)

    1. Thank you, Phyllis! I missed you guys. Really wonderful to know it wasn’t one-sided.

      Good luck on the deadline. I could say the same of your school visit, but I’m confident you’ll be a hit. You’ve got a vibe that would mesh well with teens. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I like all age of kids, actually, though I don’t think the junior-high students care for *me.*

  6. So cool that you got the “spooky feeling” even as you wrote this post! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the log line! I do miss you, but I’m so glad that you’re taking care of yourself like this. Wishing you success with your writing and more peaceful and contented times to come, Jan!

    1. I thought you’d be interested in the timing of a spooky moment. ๐Ÿ™‚ As for the logline, who can fight the lure of The Princess Bride?

      Thanks, V. Having taken a break, I suspect I’ll do it more often but for shorter periods.

  7. Do you think a man can tell when a woman is faking extroversion?

    I’m a faker, too. And something has happened to me in the last month . . . I have NO desire to talk to people, to be on FB, to see friends. Of course, when I do, I’m really happy about it. I just forget how I NEED time alone, and when I don’t get it, I have to go into my bunker of isolation. I wish I weren’t that way. People don’t really understand. But YOU do! Thank you, dear.

    1. “Do you think a man can tell when a woman is faking extroversion?”

      The more important question is whether he’ll care. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Sarah, I’m fairly sensitive to atmosphere, and it seems like there’s been a change in the last six months. I’m seeing people hunker down more and express a desire to be with their RL peeps or have some personal time. Maybe it’s not just we two!

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