Schedule shifting

This weekend brings one of (if not the absolute) my favorite events of the year: the University District Street Fair. So of course I’ve been mostly anticipating that instead of doing anything very productive. In my defense, I ALSO spent spent most of this week writing out to-do lists and game plans for myself, to try and get back on track with that. I find the practice very soothing, even if I don’t necessarily follow through on it. There’s something nice about laying things out in actual words, even if, again, putting them into practice doesn’t always work out exactly the way as originally planned.

But of course the fair itself has dominated most of my excitement this weekend, and we ended up spending nearly the entire day out — I was gone longer than I am during the week for the day job, but I came home much more excited and interested to work on things than I have in… a while, really.

Of course a lot of that energy is directed towards other art projects, rather than my writing, but I have also gotten some ideas for writing, and some experiences I’d like to be able to fold in, at some point.

I love open-air markets, and I’m glad that I live close to such a large permanent one (Pike Place Market, in downtown Seattle); I’ve loved them in fiction since I was a child growing up in the suburbs. I’d always wanted to experience them, and a more cynical adult might worry that I was romanticizing them, the magic hasn’t yet worn off for me. I’m perfectly content to wander around for hours even when I have no spending money, just to see what’s there. Yesterday we hit up multiple jewelry stands, some clothing stalls, various candle sellers, (of course) lots of food, wood-carvers and wood-turners, face painters and chariacture artists, street performers, leather workers… and there were a few more esoteric artists whose stuff I couldn’t rightly put into a single bucket, but I know parts of the internet would love.

An excellent Saturday, all in all. I don’t feel reset, exactly, in where I am mentally — the world keeps turning and things are still incredibly stressful and scary — but I do feel a swing towards the optimistic. At least for now. Surely that too will pass. But it’ll also swing back again, and I want to learn to be better prepared for those moments.

For writing, there are definitely projects I am interested in picking up. Some of it is more of “picking it BACK up” and some of it is brand new, but I am hoping, at least, for better progress. Last week’s exercise in writing out my game plans, and laying for myself the things I want to do, was a nice one.

I used to resent the idea of trying to schedule my free time — it’s free time, after all! If I want to take a day to gallivant around the local market, or go to a special event, then I should be able to! Who cares about all the rest!

Except that’s not always how things work out. I’ve become more aware of it as I’ve gotten older. If I define “free time” as “the time when I am not at the office,” there’s still a lot of things that have to get done, one way or another. I still have to make dinner (and with the lifestyle changes I’ve been working on, it’s far better and healthier for me to cook more than it is to eat out — less expensive too, haha), I still have to do my part of cleaning, I still have to take care of the cat… once all that is rolled into the picture, having a schedule is more of a relief than anything else.

And it doesn’t have to be a brutal one. Myself, personally, I think I have a habit of going too hard when I try to set up something new. The harder the regiment, the easier it is to fail, so for now I’ve got myself on something gentle. I can ease up into something harder. I’ve heard writing creativity as compared to a muscle group: of course, the more one exercises it, the easier it is to use it as it should be. I was there once, and I’d like to be there again.

On the other hand, next week is Folk Life, which is another open air market with lots of artisan vendors, so we’re already talking about going to that, too. Life still has to happen, the good fun things as well as the mundane ordinary grind and the bad.

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