This week's lessons: Energy is energy is energy. It must be channeled. Also, it's far easier to meditate when you're already in a stoic mood.
Man, I've been restless. My restlessness is positive, and I think the result of the fact that I feel great. Since I got sick before the holidays, I've been really (perhaps annoyingly) healthy with a very-little-dairy, no-soy, super veggie-packed diet. My exercise is the same as before (though now with the addition of weekend walks with the husband), and I have energy to burn. Go figure!
The point here is that I need my mediation more than ever. It is important because I tend toward being a bit restless in general (i.e. high strung), which is even easier when I'm healthy and have nothing weighty to distract the mind. Here's my mediation practice, in case you're curious or restless yourself and not good with mediation either: I begin with a breathing exercise in which I take 20 seconds to inhale, 20 seconds to hold my breath, and 20 seconds to exhale (this is the hard part, and it took me a few days to work up to the full minute breath). I do this until my mind slows enough that I can concentrate on my regular breath. I usually can't just dive right into mediation, so this is what has (mostly) worked for me. Then my ten minutes or so begins. It's a mediation trick I've kept around for years, knowing I'd use it regularly one day. Right now, it's coming in handy.
What else? Well, I saw two movies (very peculiar since I rarely go to the movies): Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained. I enjoyed them both. Django Unchained was a cartoon-violent, quick-witted, well-acted, difficult-to-watch, only-Quinton Terantino-could-pull-this-off type of movie. Recommendations for going to this movie: 1. Do not go to a theater that serves beer or other alcoholic beverages. Much of my co-audience was loud and stupid. 2. Do not bring your children. Really, people. 3. Go expecting a movie that treats violence and inhumanity like a piece of surreal (Western-themed) art.
Yesterday, I saw Silver Linings Playbook, which was pretty great. I loved that it was about mental illness but still well done. I found the characters of the policeman and the psychologist wholly unbelievable. I found Robert De Niro perfect, and the rest of it... yeah, pretty great. It was just the right mix of funny and sad and slow and fast. Solid pacing, solid acting.
Writing news: I got a solicitation for my short story collection, which I am preparing to submit this weekend. This is good news, but like all good news in my life, a little unnerving because now I want to re-re-review everything before submitting. I really want this next book to be exactly as it should be. I will not allow myself to hurry to publication anymore. But if you love a thing, let it go, right? We'll see what happens.
Also in writing news, I have been working on the Wallace story (Absurd Hunger) in anticipation of my residency in Vermont. I'm excited about it again and had the realization that integrating some of my favorite short story characters will serve the story well. It's coming together like a puzzle in my mind. A years-in-the-making puzzle. I wonder if this is how it's supposed to go with the long works.
Have a beautiful weekend, all. Be healthy; be well; read a book. Or these: FICTION My husband did all the black and white drawings. I'm trying to get him to do one for each of my stories, though I suppose that's keep him busy a while.