Sometimes I get things done

Lots of stuff going on these days—or it feels that way, at least…

Today, the e-book editions (ePub and Kindle) of Journalism, my second collection of poetry, become available on Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. On October 8th, I’ll be reading from both of my poetry collections at an open house at Shift Massage in Seattle.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to publish a second edition of the first collection, Separation Anxiety, after learning that the arrangement under which I produced the first edition is about to get more expensive. (Fortunately, this unexpected development means I’ll finally get a print edition of Separation Anxiety on Amazon.) I’m also making the appropriate updates to my web site, which I finally got around to making some sixteen years after I shut down my last site. Doing the web site also got me to finally dig more into WordPress and its features, since I opted to use WordPress instead of trying to work directly with code.

Of course, I saw none of this coming at the start of the year—or even in February, when I typed all the poems from my journals (going back to 1987) into a Word document. In October 2013, inspired by the storytelling workshop I had recently participated in, I had put together a rough plan to have a book published by October 2014—but other things started happening, and that project is on a burner so far back that it may as well be on a stove in somebody else’s house.

February 2014 seems to have been the month that I decided I needed a project—something to re-engage me in doing things I enjoy, and to get me back into a creative work mindset again after about a year and a half of turmoil and stagnation.

I started by revisiting the Tinty Music archives, remastering and reissuing most of the old cassette material in digital form through Bandcamp. That took me through the end of April.

It was the combination of the end of a friendship which had grown toxic and the first anniversary of my divorce in late April that really started to change things. Freed from having to constantly worry about the state of that friendship, I suddenly had both the desire and the energy to focus on a new project.

That new project became Separation Anxiety. I had been going through my poems since February to choose the ones that I might want to share with people, but everything was now moving much faster, and I found myself working with a clarity that I had previously lacked. I realized that many of the poems dealt with the emotions that accompany loss and separation, so I made that the focus of the collection. Within four weeks, I was ready to go to print.

Unfortunately, my new-found accelerated progress was slowed by logistical obstacles. What I had expected to take two or three weeks was now going to take at least three times that long. I didn’t really mind that much, as  this gave me a chance to work on related stuff in the interim. I began looking into doing something with the collection of premium WordPress themes I had purchased at the end of 2012, but had yet to do anything with.

I also began working on what became Journalism.

As I have no doubt mentioned before, working with a narrowly defined theme for Separation Anxiety meant that I had to leave out a lot of poems that I really liked simply because they did not fit the theme. Also, I kept writing somewhat regularly after NaPoWriMo 2014 ended, so I already had more than enough material for a second collection. Using my files for Separation Anxiety as a template, I began assembling that second collection.

Because of the greater variety of subject matter and poetic forms, I did not initially see a theme at work. Then it occurred to me that the thing that unified everything was that most of the poems came from my journals (I tend to write them in my journals before adding them to my Word document and deciding whether or not to post here); that became my theme. For the visual element, I went back through my journals (which I had yet to put away again), and scanned some of the sketches and doodles I had done over the years.

I held back on moving to the publishing phase, however. I was planning on having some kind of launch event for Separation Anxiety, and didn’t want to even pretend to ‘multitask’. When it became clear that the event would not happen until several weeks after I had hoped it could take place, I made the decision to finish Journalism—and then I would have two books available by the designated launch date. I scheduled the release of the e-book editions accordingly, and went ahead with the print edition.

Now everything is falling more-or-less neatly into place. Getting Journalism printed has been a remarkably trouble-free experience (and, with most of the work having already been done months ago, the second edition of Separation Anxiety came together quickly, and is now at the proofing stage)—so now I do have two books available. I have a functioning web site again—and learned a few things while building it. Finally, I managed to get much of this in place before Mercury goes retrograde again later this week…

So, while not everything in my life is necessarily where I want it to be, it seems I am capable of getting things done.

(30 September 2014)