I am in the grips of projects nearing a) completion or b) going public. It’s made for a sort of carnival-of-the-damned atmosphere in my inbox. Thankfully, there are still things I can talk about.
I left for the weekend at a ridiculously early hour that involved terrible tea the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day. The view on the train was lovely, however.
For an early morning train ride, and in all honesty, my first train ride, it was wonderful. I was lucky enough to have a seating area to myself, and left to tweet, check my e-mail, and listen to music to my heart’s content.
The view about ten minutes before pulling into my destination’s Amtrak station, also pretty awesome. Grey and rainy, which the entirety of Western Washington has a rep for.
It was a work weekend. The trip including my travel time took about 33 hours flat. There was a lot of trains, taking multiple buses, a cab, and kneeling in mud and rain water to get that elusive Decent Shot for the photo-shoot accompanying an interview I did over the weekend. This week will be devoted to transcribing that interview, and a dozen other plates I have spinning. Life as a freelancer.
Still, I stole some time to have lunch today with one of my best friends in college, J. We haven’t seen each other in years.
We drove around in her Mustang, talked about her new dashboard bobble, and caught up over Thai food; we talked about what life was like for us now versus when we were younger. The parts of our lives nobody else understands but us, because they weren’t there for it. She stopped in mid-sip of her tea to look up at me during lunch, and said something I don’t think I’d ever registered before.
“We did a lot of stuff back then that didn’t work out. We tried a lot of things, and not all of them worked. Like, we failed at stuff. But we failed bravely.”
We were talking about the work we’d done as activists, but I think it works for more than memories of marches.
I’ve got a lot of work to do this week, but for the next stretch, I’m going to reach as high as we did then. I’m going to go see about failing bravely for awhile.
Tomorrow I’m packing up to take off again, this time by train for a whirlwind trip to go interview a band. I depart Saturday, return Sunday. Thank goodness for in-state travel! I’ve never interviewed an entire band before, so I’m hoping the experience is formative in a positive way, and not a cavalcade of calamity. So, we’ll see.
Things that have seen the light of day this month include my thoughts on romance in RPGs, interviews with Jason L. Blair and Tiara Lynn Agresta, and over at the other outlet I do staff writing for, interviews with jewelry designer/silversmith Lyndsay Brown and artist Anita Arora. I survived the seasonal production grind of the Broadsheet, where I continue to be ridiculously blessed with a great staff to be Editor-in-Chief of. In May, I’ve been the Editor-in-Chief there for a year.
I signed on to edit two different projects. Don’t worry, I’ll be gleefully shouting to high Heaven when they come out. The romance in RPGs article will see translation later this year, into French, which will be my first foreign translation. I’m working on a number of articles and interviews (as always) and some pitches as well. Which is to say, doing what any good freelancer does and juggling as many projects as I can at once. I’ve been transcribing for one client and I just sent some edits off to another.
I’ll have a busy week in April when I cover Norwescon 35 as press. Like most years, the coming of NWC herald Pesach coming up. So, I’ve been more religiously thoughtful lately than I usually have time for. I’m in my fourth dedicated month of living on the road with no lease to tie me to any city, squeaking by on freelance contracts and doing a lot of taking stock of my life on planes. And that travel tangles with religion tangles with familial history, tangles with the history of the tribe.
The longer the travel I’m doing goes on, the more I’ve become accepting of it. But it’s increased a very real want for a place to call home. I miss Seattle like crazy, and have a number of personal reasons for wanting to settle in the Emerald City permanently, or at least for the foreseeable future. Yet at the same time, I’m afraid the wish to not live out of a suitcase will cause me to depart the road too early, and damage the lessons I’m internalizing while I’m out here. This place in time is liminal, even if it’s lasted months already. I’m doing things that terrified me when this time first started. That’s a silver lining to continuing a life where I have lived in 18 houses, 9 cities, and 2 states.
I have been learning to live consciously with a lack of surety; where I cannot be offered promises or assurance, and am aware of a bone-penetrating loneliness alleviated in bursts by the company of my colleagues. I have more in common with my refugee great-grandfather now more than ever; a traveling journalist who died with both feet firmly on the road, a resident of the Diaspora in permanence, dwelling only in liminal places, never for long in the concrete ones. His Eretz Yisrael was contained in the moment it took for him to cover his eyes and bless the candles.
His die goldene medina was contained in no physical place. I don’t think it was ever possible for it to be.
I am hoping, and working, towards a happier ending than he had. To words that will endure.
In the meantime, the poem I have read nearly daily since this all started: Maggid, by marge piercy.
Now, back to working, so I can make time to pack.