I have some focus problems.
Forgive me, dear readers, I know it’s been weeks since I’ve had a decent week of real news, commentary or updates. It’s the season. Fall always slows me down and throws me off balance. October and November are always crazy, hectic, chaotic months for me. Set aside the fact that everything seems to be family oriented, which serves as a reminder that it was August of 2005 when my divorce was final, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2004 when The Queen of the Damned hopped on her broomstick and flew off cackling, leaving me quite effectively without family right before the holidays.
No, set that aside, because, clearly, it doesn’t effect me at all.
Forget, too, that it was the Fall of 2006 when I started coming down with pneumonia that turned into a football sized tumor. Or that it was August of 2007 when I finished chemotherapy and looked, for all intents and purposes, like a walking corpse, a living ghost.
Because, as much as I’d like to blame the slump on all that, it really has little to do with it. What’s more true is that I get endlessly, uselessly busy in October, getting ready for the social obligations of November. Oddly, December has far fewer social obligations than November and I look forward to the relative peace of December, even without snow, and the joy of Christmas, the rebirth of light into the world.
Sadly, I’ve done far too little so far to prepare for November’s fun and games, and I’ve been a little paralyzed with the Herculean task of clearing the clutter in my house. That, along with an impending visit from my parents, and my usual Thanksgiving party, which is being a little displaced this year, is why I’m not even going to pretend to try my hand at NaNoWriMo this year. It’s also partly why I’ve been so long between any real updates.
I have been working quite a bit the last two weeks, often working late, sometimes far too late, to try and get things accomplished at work. Also, I’ve been working out. Yes, I know, I was doing that before, some, but now I’m doing it more. Not only in the morning, but, when I can manage it, a second, lighter, workout in the evening. I’ve been using those iPhone apps I reviewed not too long ago, FoodScan and DailyBurn, to track my inputs and outputs and discovered that I hadn’t been working enough to burn off breakfast! So, I stepped it up a bit. I think the results are showing, too. I’ve dropped a little over 10 pounds in two months, which seems pretty sustainable to me. More importantly, I feel better physically and, I think, look better, too.
But, that takes time, dear readers, and, while the extra exercise has been helping me sleep, it’s also been putting me out earlier, which means less writing time!
But, it’s not all grim!
I’ve also been busy because I’ve been reading more. Some fiction, but a little bit more non-fiction, like The Dip and Think And Grow Rich. I’ve also started to work my way through the backlog of photography books I’ve been accumulating. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Moment It Clicks by Joe McNally, and I’ll read his other book on photography, The Hot Shoe Diaries, next in my non-fiction queue. (Who knew that the advice of not bothering to light your subject’s feet would produce a visibly better photo for me?) Also, I got these two books because this coming weekend, November 7th and 8th, I have signed up for a two-day lighting and portraiture seminar taught by Mr. McNally. And, to say that I am looking forward to it is beyond understatement. I recognize that the only way to improve my photography is to take some kind of instruction, and, of course, get out shooting more, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to work on those meager skills. The class shouldn’t be more than 200 people, so I’m not sure how “hands on” this will be, but, from everything I’ve heard, McNally is a fantastic teacher, so I’m sure I’ll learn something that makes the more than reasonable $150 fee money well spent. After all, just reading a few pages of The Moment It Clicks has visibly improved my self-portraits, I think.
It may be that I’ve been pouring all my creative energy out either via photography or solving problems at work, but I sure don’t feel like I’ve had anything left to write at all, much less well. Or, it may be that I’ve just gotten out of the habit of writing every chance I get and not worrying about the quality of the work.
In any case, you’ve just gotten a bit of an update on what I’ve been up to lately, so, I guess, that’s good enough.