Hiatus – After the Fact

I have started this post a few times now — at the beginning of May, the beginning of June, the beginning of July –only to be interrupted by other obligations. Now it is the beginning of August…

The post I began in early July was adapted and updated from the draft I began in June:

With the July beginning, summer is truly under way… school is out for my friends who teach, the Writers’ Strike continues for my friends who are in the guild, my social media feeds are full of travel reports, and my office-worker friends are enjoying summer Fridays.

Conversely, I am heading into what will be a busy and intense couple months of production that will not end until September, when schools will be resuming, and hopefully the strike will be ending.

I’ve just had a break from Mattel producing through May and most of June — during which I’ve tried to do some writing, some adulting, and some projects — to differing degrees of success.

The early May post talked about the then-upcoming 10-day-Vipassana course I was about to embark on. But talked about it in such a detailed, in-the-moment way that I didn’t get to the meat of it before I stopped writing, so I’ve moved the text into notes for a long essay I may or may never write.

Where does that leave us?

In the heat-dome heat of August — with memories of mid-April -mid-June fast fading. The daily details are already dots in the rearview, but for my own continuity, I’ll try to record the bigger items here — before they too have faded completely.

In late April, I worked on my first non-Mattel events producing gig since I veered from that path to begin writing. It was four days working with a video crew at the LA Convention Center, and I was reminded of both the pleasures and pitfalls of intense, long days making something in a short period of time. Small crises come and go hour by hour — the morning’s concerns are eclipsed by those at noon, and all of it’s a blur by the end of the day. You meet strangers on day one, and imagine being fast ongoing friends with them by day three, but everyone goes their separate ways in the end.

In May I went to my first 10-day-meditation course in 29 Palms — which is a place very close to Joshua Tree in the desert. It is a “silent retreat” meaning one doesn’t talk to your fellow student from Day 1 until the last part of day 10, and one is meant to meditate roughly 9 1/2 hours per day. There’s no books or notebooks or phones or computers — one is left with the company of one’s own thoughts and the daily mental tasks put before one. It was both challenging and rewarding, and I’d recommend it to almost anyone who thinks it might be interesting for them. One comes back from the experience wanting everyone she knows to have the experience too, but I’ve tried not to proselytize too much. (I am attempting to bully Paul into going “before the end of the year”. He’s chosen November, in hopes that something else will intervene—which it very well might.)

By the time I returned home, I had five weeks before production work began again, which seemed like plenty of time to do some adulting, see a list of friends, finish and submit a short story, finish and turn in a writing assignment.

In the end, I did part of all these things — I made it to half a dozen doctors’ appointments, but haven’t accomplished a last few scans and tests that came from those. The short story took a much larger chunk of time than allocated — it is only this last weekend that I felt I had a draft ready to send out. The writing assignment has a draft but it’s still not ready to send out and it hangs over every weekend it’s hanging over me at this moment). I connected with some friends but not others.

But… I

  • hosted a new friend from Brazil for three days,
  • helped one housemate move out and another move in
  • did some solidarity picketing with the striking writers
  • did some yoga
  • meditated more
  • gave away many items on “buy nothing”
  • created some video “content”
  • built a shelf for my office closet
  • saw some friends
  • saw some movies
  • enjoyed some beautiful weather.

At the end of June, hiatus ended before I was ready, and now I’m hip-deep in it at Mattel, and letting that be an excuse to put my life into minimum-maintenance mode. Opening only the mail that it looks dangerous not to, keeping up weekly with family but pushing most social invitations, healthy diet plans and writing goals into September.

Maybe then I’ll get to the end of my list!

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