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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    camp—it’s
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...
    Readmore...

Parentheticals

A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.
Tags >> identity work

(Hmm, what kind of excuse can I start a blog post with this time? Let’s see, how about the time-honored “I’ve been busy?” Or the classic “I’ve been distracted by other events and creative projects?” Or perhaps the generally pathetic “I’ve been juggling too many things?” Yeah, all true, but why haven’t I blogged? Ummm...okay, I got nothin’. I will just have to remain parenthetically unrepentant and soldier on, as always.)

So yeah, it’s been awhile since I said anything here on Parentheticals. Re-entry from Burning Man took me most of September, and then there was a child starting middle school to get used to, Jewish High Holidays to celebrate, a “big number” birthday party for the husband to plan and execute, a house guest to hang out with, a Kickstarter campaign to create and market, a big Fly Your Freak Flag High event to prep and staff, Halloween to get ready for, and final edits to do on my book. This on top of all the “normal” life admin and parenting stuff that inevitably comes up. I’m exhausted just remembering it.

What I want to set down for the record though, is my experience earlier this month at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto. It was not only awesome in a general way, it was also a major manifested moment in my “becoming an author” trajectory. Let me explain, by way of a brief detour through my recent history with going to science fiction and fantasy cons.


Becoming an Introvert

Posted by: julia

You know what’s weird (besides Leap Day)? I think I’m becoming an introvert. I know, I know...those of you who have known me for more than, let’s see, 30 seconds are probably snorting liquid out your noses right now at the suggestion. Believe me, it’s tripping me out too. Me, an introvert? Me, the one who loves all kinds of people and their stories, who is perfectly comfortable in a crowd, throws big parties, loves a good gabfest with friends and will happily start chatting with complete strangers? The one who’s trying to create a social movement around claiming one’s authentic, true freakiness and broadcasting it to the world? Please to explain, I hear you saying (or perhaps sputtering, if you haven’t gotten the nose-liquid thing under control). Ok, let me present the evidence for my outrageous claim:

1) I spend a lot of time at home, by myself, doing solitary things like staring into my computer or iPad, or puttering around the house in a never-ending effort to control the clutter that threatens to invade every surface. Ever since we downsized (and finally let go of) our entrepreneurial efforts at running a small business last year, I don’t go to an office anymore, and I don’t go out to client meetings or networking events. Especially since the beginning of the year, I’ve been increasingly serious about the pursuit of my creative dreams, including devoting large chunks of daily time to my writing (though apparently not blogging, I hear you say. Ok, fine, you got me there. Now stop poking and pay attention.) Writing, as I’m sure is stunningly obvious, is generally a solitary activity. It requires dedicated chunks of time, quiet (or at least no un-chosen audio distractions), focus and lots of checking Twitter and Facebook staring off into space. If it wasn’t for my kids and their activities, my occasional volunteer activities or the need for groceries and self-care appointments, I might spend days in a row here in the same couple of rooms, just me and the computer (and now, the cat, because every writer needs a cat). Ok, yeah, Josh is often here too, but he’s usually staring at his own computer. And I’ve grown accustomed to that. I like it. I like my house (unless it’s especially messy) and my computer and my writing time. Sometimes I get irritated when I have to leave and go do other things, even the ones that are fun.

2) I’m having an increasingly hard time with communication, e.g. using the phone or responding to even the relatively reduced amount of email I get. I used to be really good about proactively reaching out to friends and family, checking in and making plans, but these days, I often put it off or at least don’t prioritize it. Relationship management is overwhelming now in a way that it didn’t use to be, or at best it’s a lot less attractive to me. Even Facebook interactions (which used to be a great “quick hit” of connection and catch-up with my various networks) are sometimes so overwhelming that I ignore social media for days at a time.


Today is my birthday (yay!), but for those of you who've been around for awhile, you know it's also the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis (Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma). Of particular note today, however, is that it's also a Big Number anniversary: 20 years. 20 years! That's a damn big number. 20 years since I heard a new doctor in a new town say to me, "well, I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is...it's cancer. The good news is, if you had to get any kind of cancer, this is the kind to get." 20 years have passed since that big-fat-pushpin-on-the-map-of-life moment, and boy howdy am I a different, more evolved, more experienced person now. I feel both pleased and disquieted that so much time has gone by: pleased because, yeah, I kicked cancer's ass and lived to tell the tale, and disquieted because woah, how'd I get old enough to be able to so easily and clearly recall something that happened 20 years ago? 

Because it feels like only yesterday, in some ways. I can so easily call up the anxiety, fear, physical pain, and grief; the courage I had to summon and sustain; the love I was surrounded with; and the sense of vertiginous change touching and transforming everything I thought I had or knew. It was a potent, transformative cocktail whose hangover will probably last my whole life, though it certainly is fading with time and with the addition of other pushpin moments to the mix. I'll always have that "cancer survivor" identity with me, even though it's not a central one to me anymore except in particular times and places.

One thing is for certain, I'm still glad that I have this personally defining moment to come back to every year, something to really remind me that life is short and uncertain and beautiful and kind (yes, kind) in its random assignation of growth-inducing suffering. I didn't enjoy the suffering, but damn I appreciate having suffered, grown, and moved on. Here's to the next 20 years--may they go by as juicy and full as the last 20, and give me as many opportunities to keep evolving as these last 20 have. 


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