Last year I re-defined this post as: It's my annual holiday to celebrate my badass self, doing the work I want to do.
When I think of my badass self, doing the work I want to do, I think of:
- writing a lot
- having a positive impact on the world
- being a good, happy person.
This year I mostly want to talk about writing. I've had a big year in my professional life, but I'm on the downhill slope of a job search and I want to let things settle.
I've been writing a lot this year, more productively than any other year (even if it's fewer words). Here are some things that come up over and over again:
1. Share your work.
Sharing poems daily on instagram changed my life. It changed how I think about poetry and community, and it changed my own image of myself. Instead of being a person with an ever-growing backlog of notebooks and files filled with scraps of poems, I became a person who Wrote. Finished. Poems. And shared them. People read them! I should have known from dancing that sharing is the best part, but I was too scared.
2. Never go it alone.
I hated group work in school, and would generally contrive a way to either do nothing or do everything. Anything in between was unbearable. This year I won't take on any projects unless I have other people involved. That might mean finding a class, submitting work for for publication, asking for help, joining writing groups, asking people if they want to come with me...and a lot of the time, it means saying no to a project until other folks are interested as well. I'm not longer Heroic Tara, Working Her Ass Off For the General Good. I'm Helpful Tara the Gatherer of People. It's the exact opposite of every normal impulse I have, and my life is better because of it.
3. ZINES ARE AMAZING.
I went to LA Zine Fest this year and it was like getting struck my lightning. I was so enamored of the zine fest that I badly twisted my ankle, which precipitated a whole "quit your job and move to a new state in the next three weeks" thing.
It was full of women, and genderqueer folks, and people of color, and young people, and immigrants, and artists, and damn! It was a wonderland of magical offerings, glimpses into lives that resonate with my own or give me new perspectives. I expected a half-dead remnant of the 90s, and I am so glad I was wrong. Almost everything was under $10 and you just feel So Good giving your money to the artist themselves. I came home with a giant pile of zines and a burning fire in my heart that I wanted to join in this chaotic beautiful self-publishing world.
4. Always simplify, say no, streamline.
The eternal lesson, the one I learn over and over again. Get rid of things. Cut projects. Work less. Don't try so hard. Do the easy thing. I will forever be learning this lesson.
5. Balance is overrated; balance is everything.
I'm learning to focus on specific areas, and to calm my tits about all the stuff I'm ignoring for the time being. It's hard. It makes me panic, sometimes. The last few months were focused on job searching; writing suffered. Now I'm focused on socializing and learning about Albuquerque; writing is still suffering. I'm starting to get itchy and manic, but I'm getting through it. I'm building a solid foundation here, keeping the writing flame on low, and getting through it. Soon enough I'll unleash the writing kraken and other things will suffer....but it's okay.
Thanks for following along. To six more years!