This morning I woke up to a familiar feeling: that first September morning that feels comparatively cold, my body heat cocooned under the comforter, the dog serving as a fuzzy makeshift foot-warmer.
The Fall season is upon us, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I know about science and weather and seasons, but every year at this time, it feels like a gift just for me.
The other day I read something about September being “an alternative New Year’s Day” as a time for reflection and transformation, personal promises and fresh starts. This resonates so deeply with me. A month ago we had a week of chillier, end-of-summer temperatures and I swapped my summer dresses out of my closet, trading them for cardigans and boots. I’ve sorted my book collection so the creepy, haunting novels are on the top shelf, Shirley Jackson and Thomas Tryon ready for consumption. (Surely I’m not the only one to read fiction according to season?). I sleep in short sleeves knowing that on gloriously loungey mornings like this one, I will wake up just a bit cold and get to burrow inside the bed a little deeper.
Let me tell you about a few things:
Bethlehem Vegfest is tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 7th) from 11am-6pm. Has it really been a year? This year, raise your hands to the sky and rejoice because it is (finally! FINALLY!) all vegan, just as it should be. It’s been rebuilt a bit on the inside, making the festival a little smaller but more… Vegfesty. I wish for all the speakers, vendors and patrons to have a truly wonderful time and to continue to keep the festival a positive, friendly, and inspiring event for all. Go here to view all the details. (And I was quoted for a little newspaper article, thanks Express Times.)
Later that night, I’m heading to Philly for the Emmys! Very excited about my beautiful dress, though competitions make me sick to my stomach and I’ll feel better when it’s over. Hopefully Matt will tell tales of new fatherhood and we can talk about how his one year old daughter and I get same-level excited about Ikea selling giant plush vegetables with faces, or something.
And then! It’s off to a Solo Writer’s Retreat.
Sunday morning, I’m smooching Ryan goodbye as he heads to Canada for work (he’s going to the Toronto International Film Festival, poor thing, what grueling work) and I head to northeast Pennsylvania to drop off Chubby dog at my Mom’s house, then continue on to a small cabin in the woods.
“Writers have long known that the most reliable cure [for writer's block] is to get away from regular life and in a different and undemanding environment, simply allow the words to come. They can be awful. They will be awful. But out of awful comes literature — or, in my case, self-help books that, if I do my job right, read as well as literature.” – Victoria Moran
You see, for months I’ve been talking about secluding myself in a cabin so I can get away from obligations (and, um, the internet) and just write. I got the kick-in-the-butt I needed after reading this blog series from Victoria Moran about going on her own writing retreat to work on a new book proposal. Maybe it’s the romance of the idea, or that I know I tend to get distracted at home, but I’ve found a perfect little cabin just for me and whatever woodland creatures I meet and befriend.
It’s on a lake. It has a fireplace. And electricity to keep the computer charged. Beyond that, I’m just taking some reference books, good campfire food, and my coffee pot. Maybe some rations for vegan s’mores.
I’m turning 30 at the end of the month, and that milestone birthday is deserving of it’s own reflection. I don’t have a lot of the things our culture has determined you are “supposed to” have to mark adulthood: marriage, “normal job”, home ownership, a child. Though, I’ve learned so much about myself and if I want, or will ever want, those things. What does it mean when society places so much value and credible experience on things that may not be a part of someone’s life? What do I want my life to look like?
What do you want your life to look like? Have you ever thought about it? Really?
I hadn’t. A few years ago I was in my therapist’s office and he said, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and it was like a boulder was thrown at my head as I realized I actually hadn’t thought about it before. At that time, in the middle of deep depression, living day-to-day was enough. I’d wake up every morning with paralyzing anxiety because I didn’t know how to fill the hours of the day, painfully aware that I didn’t have a sense of purpose, and desperately wanting to find one.
The novel idea that in five years time I could potentially have any life/lifestyle I’d want (theoretically, within the realm of reality and not “Become Queen of the Jungle”, or invent the new Facebook) was impossible to wrap my head around. It may have sounded simple, but in that hour I found I’d be very content and truly happy if my life involved: an inspiring apartment, a loving relationship based on honesty and respect in which we maintained separate identities while supporting each other’s dreams, a small circle of friends you call when your world falls apart/when your world explodes with joy, a dog (absolutely), to do work that leaves the world better than I found it and goes beyond “me”, and… to write.
Off I go to get out of my head… or perhaps, into my head. I’ve always thought it easier to figure things out with a blanket across my shoulders and a campfire flickering through the trees.
xo Jaime K