Here is the stuff I've been pondering of late, as I realized that six months of 2011 have gone by, and began thinking: where am I today in relation to where I was on January 1? And this time last year? And etc.
In no particular order; and, even though I've just started typing, I have the feeling this is going to get long. Sorry for that!WORK
I continue to be in the extraordinarily fortunate (and rare) position of not needing a job to meet my day-to-day living expenses. But this situation is temporary, and I've been exploring several possibilities for income, both for now and for when my spousal support runs out. (Plus, I don't think I could enjoy being idle--it's just not in me.)
One is my writing (about which see below for more). Another is an incredibly delightful freelance gig, proofreading for an independent publisher--like, the world's perfect job: being paid to read books!
But the largest one is something I've not blogged about before, because I wasn't sure, when I embarked upon it, that it was going to take, and I didn't want to be embarrassed publicly at giving it up halfway through. So better not to say anything at all. Well, I'm rather past that point now, because I've gone through the entire training and signed up to take the state exam on July 25, and if I pass it, I'll be licensed as a real estate broker in the state of Oregon.
I know! Crazy, isn't it? Out of left field! But it also makes a certain deep sense. I've always loved houses, land, real estate, both for their "home" value and also (from a wishful distance) as an investment. I spent a lot of time thinking about this; I took my realtor to lunch last fall and pumped him for information and advice; I've talked to other realtors; I think this could be something I'd really enjoy.
Assuming I pass the darn test! I'm studying now, going back over my coursework material. It's VERY detailed and complex. Fascinating, but not lightweight. So, I'll do the best I can, in the time I have...two weeks! Wish me luck. :-)WRITING
My writing is undergoing an interesting shift. I've written about this recently here: I'm beginning to see an uptick in my awareness of craft, of telling a story concisely and clearly, while still being (hopefully!) enjoyable to read, entertaining. markferrari
is helping me a great deal with this. I've never had such a close and careful reader, such an insightful editor. It makes for slower going--under my old system, I'd have been done with editing Hobgoblin by now, and getting ready to send it out to market--but I think I'm going to end up with a much stronger book at the end of it.
All this means I'm writing less--fewer words. Fewer stories. That's okay, I think. I've got lots of trunked stories, trunked novels. If I write less, but better, and more finds its way out into the world and gets sold: I'm good with that.HOME
My garden, as you well know, is a delight. Strawberries!
I'm furiously pulling weeds and pruning things these days, as my folks are visiting later this week, and everything must be perfect for their arrival! :-)
I've been in this house just over a year. Last year, by the time I moved in and got even sort of unpacked and organized, the yard was so overgrown and terrifying, I just basically ignored it, until it all died in the winter. So this is the first growing-and-blooming season I'm really involved with--and what a joy! Time gets all unhinged when I'm working in the yard. I'll think twenty minutes have gone by, and I'll look at my watch and it's been two hours. Very few things in life are that way with me...
But more than just the garden: this is the first home I've owned, just me, by myself. I get to make all the decisions here. I get to pay all the bills (oh joy). I got to decide to put new windows upstairs (and that I couldn't afford to put new windows throughout). I get to decorate it just how I like. I get to not have a TV. :-) Inside these walls, it's my domain, utterly. And that's COOL.
Which provides a nice segue into:RELATIONSHIP
What a difference six months makes--even moreso a year. And this is the part I've been chewing on how exactly to write about here, because so many of the details are just private. You know? But I think some important things can be said. (And it's not like you can't find out much if not all of this stuff elsewhere...)
Mark and I are not a new relationship. When J introduced us, almost two years ago, J strongly encouraged us to become poly partners--J and I were already poly, had been from the start, and he thought Mark and I would be good together. After a few months, we did start seeing each other, long-distance, between Seattle and first San Francisco, then Portland.
And it was good. The whole situation was good, for a while. And how it became not-so-good is the part I'm not going to write about; I think that stuff belongs to the parties involved. But, it got so not-good that last October, Mark and I decided, mutually, that we should separate. We'd remain good friends, but would cease being romantically involved.
That did not solve the larger issues. In December, I told J I needed to separate from him.
Then I spent three months being alone, and wow, that was good for me. I've really never been single, like, ever. It was very interesting, very rich and fulfilling, very good.
And I missed Mark, and he missed me, and after those few months went by, we decided to try again. Without being poly. Just the two of us.
And it's blissful. It's VERY different, being in an exclusive relationship with him, than it was having him as what amounted to a strong secondary, though we didn't really use those terms. Just our level of presence with and devotion to one another--I don't want to say "commitment," because that word is fraught--but we are both showing up to the relationship in ways that were simply impossible before.
Where is it going to go? We don't know. We cannot live together for another few years; we still don't even live in the same city. And that's really quite okay. I'm still very appreciative of my alone time, my space, my solitude. And Mark has spent his life alone; he is only very slowly getting used to the idea of sharing his mental and physical space. To the idea that someone is out there caring what he did all day, who really wants to hear about it. There is really no rush to figure it all out.
Do I miss poly? Actually, I mostly don't. I miss the few nice connections I had that I've decided to put aside to explore this with Mark; but I certainly don't miss the stress, the drama, the dysfunction that came along with my particular poly situation. And this is NOT me saying that I think poly is wrong, or doesn't work, or was a bad idea--or even that I'm sorry I tried it. Not at all! I know many people (some of you reading this right now!) who are in longterm, healthy, happy poly relationships. I think a lot of it worked really well for me; I'd be willing to try it again, absolutely, under other circumstances. All I'm prepared to say here is that it ultimately did not work under the particular circumstances, with the particular people, at the particular time, that I did it.
And that's probably all I need to say about that. :-)IN CONCLUSION
My life is darned good. I am more in control of myself and my situation than I ever have been in the past. I am learning and growing, and at a slow enough pace that I can actually pay attention and appreciate and process what's happening, rather than rushing blindly on to the next thing. I have good friends, a close and loving family, a peaceful home, a rich and rewarding relationship with a remarkable man. There are a few things that I wish were different: J and I are still not at a comfortable place, a situation which was greatly exacerbated by his recent medical diagnosis and treatment. But all in all, I can't complain.
And so I just wanted to say that. And if you've read this long nattering: thank YOU, my friend! :-)