We had another beautiful weekend in western Pennsylvania, and my family and I took the time to attend another history/craft festival. Unlike some of the other festivals we visit, Penn's Colony festival has multiple, small shacks which hold individual vendors in between the typical canvas tents commonly seen at other regional craft shows. These shacks range between 100 and 200 square feet of floor space and will have either shelves or hooks for displaying crafters' goods. Some of the larger shacks host food vendors as well. They're built of rough-cut boards nailed together vertically in the traditional American barn-style and are tall enough to hold a loft under their A-frame roofs.
Much of this weekend threatened rain, keeping me inside where I spent most of my time editing my novel manuscript. I'm hoping to pitch or query it this winter, but putting the final polish on it is difficult for me, perfectionist that I am. I realize some other writers have the same problem, but such knowledge is not enough to silence my inner critic.
Over the weekend, I joined my parents in attending a gun show. Normally I find these events to be a waste of my time. Most of the vendors display modern weapons with composite stocks, overly-priced shotguns, antiques from WWI and WWII, or handguns with slides and clips. But none of these guns interest me. I'm not into shooting sports (although I was an archery instructor for a summer camp), and hunting in my little neck of the woods is not good enough to justify spending more than $300-$450 on a shotgun.
Today I am sore. Over the past few days, I started a new exercise routine in order to try to regain the muscle I lost in the past year. I don't like being sore. I know some people who love exercise enjoy the pull and protest of muscles that have been pushed to their limits, but for me, I find the sensations restrictive and depressing. But if I want to be able to take on certain hobbies without this type of pain in the future, then I need to retrain my body for those tasks.
I've had trouble finding motivation or inspiration to create much of anything this past week or so. And if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I've been fairly quiet there as well. I've fallen into a nihilistic mood that is often hard for me to shake. Being halfway through February, I am only a handful of weeks away from my busiest time of year, when my work schedule encroaches on my free time, and it becomes increasingly difficult to make progress on any of my personal projects. This is a very disheartening time for me, and I question the worth of working on any major projects as I know I'll end up interrupted during critical stages by a variety of obligations.
For me, New Year's Eve is a night to stay in and relax. I may watch one of the First Night countdowns on TV, but chances are better that you'll find me tuning in to some educational marathon or a good movie. Many of my friends and relatives do the same. We're not late-night party people. (Most of us prefer caffeine to alcohol!) But with 2019 starting in just a few hours, we are trying to set some goals and make plans for the new year.
Coming near the end of another year brings many people to reflect back on what they've done since the prior holiday season. I had plenty of goals that I wanted to accomplish in 2018, but few of them materialized. Last December, I was already a month into having mono without knowing it.
So with the start of November on Thursday, we will once again see the start of NaNoWriMo. I have yet to decide if I'm participating formally or not, but I do see a number of writers on social media gearing up for their projects. I love the encouragement and community that NaNoWriMo and its additional camps creates for writers both new and old, but the writing process itself, pushing to hit daily word count goals, doesn't work well for me.
This past week, I began editing the abandoned novel manuscript I mentioned in last Monday's post, and for the first time in several months, I feel like I am making progress on a worthwhile project. While this feels amazing after so many weeks of struggle and frustration, I also want to keep in mind the other goals I set while on vacation. It's easy to get distracted by my old habits and to fall back into my routines, but these won't allow me to move forward.
Regardless of what political views or moral codes you subscribe to, most people hold an idealized concept of how they think the world would work if everyone held the same beliefs and lived by the same rules. Some people strive to make those ideals a reality. They engage in protests. They participate in letter-writing campaigns. They attempt to teach as many people as they can about their philosophies. These can be good things that bring about positive changes in our world, and yet we often see in the media how these actions polarize people into "us v them."