My life is a blur

There’s so much going on that it’s hard to keep track of everything!

Actually that’s not true. I have lists, and spreadsheets, and lists of spreadsheets, and spreadsheets of lists—all very colorful, of course! The hard part right now is that I’m doing a lot of organizing at work and while wearing my writing/publishing hats. I’m on top of everything—even when I’m behind, I’ll have a list of what I’m behind on. 🙂 But I have found that even I have a limit to how many things I can comfortably stay on top of. I’m not at my limit, but I’m closer than I’d like to be.

Fortunately I’m pretty close to getting caught up on a number of things. I’m working on four anthologies right now, two of which should be published in the next few weeks, and one more should follow in November or December. I have three short stories to write by the end of the year, a number of interviews to put together, and need to put together—and start implementing—a marketing plan for a brand new anthology series. Easy peasy! 🙂

Here’s my update on new things I’ve learned and experienced in the past week. I’ve added a new category to cover things I’m reading. I’m debating the format I’m using—while I really like the emphasis on learning/experiencing new things, and have found this to be a great reminder for myself during the week, it feels a little too structured. Yes, I do love spreadsheets, and realize my commenting on “too much structure” is a bit amusing. But I’m considering modifying how I present this type of thing in these posts.

Learnings

I learned that mole doesn’t always involve chocolate!

In my quest to use the vast number of tomatillos I unintentionally grew, I found a recipe for mole verde (thanks to my sister Michaele). My initial excitement at making a recipe involving tomatillos and chocolate was dampened when I realized chocolate wasn’t involved at all. But I persevered, and found I quite like mole verde.

I only followed part of the recipe…I left out the garlic (which I’m allergic to) and onions (which I’ve come to not care for, in spite of the fact that I loved onions for most of my life). I only measured a few ingredients, used probably three times the number of tomatillos the recipe called for (hey, I have a lot of tomatillos…), and didn’t use cilantro because I, incorrectly, thought there was some in our fridge and so I didn’t buy any. The result was a very tasty dish which I will happily make again—and, since there are now a lot of tomatillos taking up space in my freezer, I am sure I’ll be making it again soon!

For the record, Wikipedia says mole sauce generally contains a fruit, chili pepper, nut, and spices.

Experiencings

There’s a group of writers at work who are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—which is actually November, not October, but they’re getting a head start!). One of them organized an hour-long writing session on Fridays, and I joined them for half an hour last week. Only a few of us were able to make it, and it was funny because we’re all in different cities. We showed up on the video conference, said hi, and then ignored each other and wrote for the rest of the time. I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo—I have way too many projects in progress right now to even think about writing a novel in thirty days! But I liked the idea of the joint session, and found it surprisingly productive.

Readings

I’m reading many books right now, as is my wont. I generally read multiple books at a time. Sometimes I’m in the middle of a serious book, and am busy at work or something, so I’ll add in a cozy because I want to read but need something lighthearted to balance everything else out.

Because I’m not reading enough books already 🙂 I’ve recently started two new ones: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, and On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder.

Sing, Unburied, Sing is the November book for the book club that’s just started up at my day job. I didn’t vote for any of the selections, mostly because I was really curious to see what the other people in the club picked. We’ll have our inaugural meeting in a few weeks, so while I know a few of the people already, I don’t yet know what the dynamic of the group will be. I decided I wasn’t opinionated enough to vote, and by not voting I’d learn something about the other members. So far I’m really enjoying this book, although I am avoiding reading it before bedtime because the one time I did that I found myself thinking about it when I woke up in the middle of the night, and I really need to get more sleep. 🙂

I don’t remember why I added On Tyranny to my to-read list. I think it came up in an article I read or something—I added it back in July. The premise of the book is that we should learn from other democracies who yielded to fascism, Nazism, or communism, and not repeat the same mistakes. Here’s a quote from Chapter 19: Be a patriot.

The president is a nationalist, which is not at all the same thing as a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, “although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge,” wrote Orwell, tends to be “uninterested in what happens in the real world.” Nationalism is relativist, since the only truth is the resentment we feel when we contemplate others. As the novelist Danilo Kiš put it, nationalism “has no universal values, aesthetic or ethical.”

A patriot, by contrast, wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well— and wishing that it would do better.

Democracy failed in Europe in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, and it is failing not only in much of Europe but in many parts of the world today. It is that history and experience that reveals to us the dark range of our possible futures. A nationalist will say that “it can’t happen here,” which is the first step toward disaster. A patriot says that it could happen here, but that we will stop it.

—Snyder, Timothy. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

 
 

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