On Permission to Do Nothing

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On Permission to Do Nothing

Week two of sabbatical – and I’ve done nothing but read. Nothing! And I must say that it’s delightful, and a bit alarming, how quickly, how easily, I have slipped into self-awarded, self-induced indolence – if you call lying on the sofa reading indolence. (At one time I had hoped that it would be named an Olympic sport.) And, surely, there must have been a time where I did not have a book in my hand, though I don’t remember it.

I read with the World Series playing in the distance. These games make me nervous, so sad always am I  for the losers. And, as happy as this former Chicagoan is for the Cubs, my heart goes out to Indian fans, and Cleveland, a city that could certainly use a break.

I’m staying away from TV as much as I can these days – no news and no talking heads – and I will not deign to comment on the political ads polluting the airways. How many millions of dollars wasted, flying into the pockets of media outlets and political opportunists, while bridges and schools crumble, and ordinary people worry about the future of our country.

There must be a better way. Can we not look to Europe, where politics, though as vicious, plays for less cost, in so many ways? Norway, now my ideal of campaign reason, has banned TV and radio political ads. Can you imagine such a return to sanity here? And their voter turnout is 81%.

I voted early this election. I had always relished going to the polls on election day, loved that sense of this one day that was set aside to play our role in maintaining our democracy. But this year, the stakes are too high to take a risk – a flat tire, a broken toe, who knows?

We’ll have a new president when I post my next blog. Would that our wounds could heal.

www.cynthiastrauff.com  Another Sunday

 

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On Sabbaticals

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On Sabbaticals

An extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills 

My last sabbatical, now more than ten years ago, resulted in my leaving the world of paid employment, a decision that freed and fed my soul, if not my bank account. Every morning since I’ve given thanks for those gifts.

Now, my novel-in-progress progressed, newly birthed, has been sent to the inboxes of literary agents, waiting to be loved, rejected or deleted without being read by a junior unpaid intern.  I’ve taken this labor of love as far as I can, and, for the next few months at least, it is in the hands of the universe. I’ve released it with love and hope.

But I’m feeling more than a bit untethered without the focus, and burden, of the world of 1913 that I’ve inhabited for so long. So I’m stepping back, trying a self-declared sabbatical. Not from all writing- I’m still committed to my morning pages, and this blog- but I am withdrawing from the world of writing fiction for a while, and I hope that when I return, it will be with a rekindled energy. Another historical novel? Well, yes. Just not now. And maybe a return to poetry.

For the last two weeks, I’ve read and read and read, and semi-compulsively pruned and organized files. But I’ve also watched the birds at the feeder and followed leaves as they fell to the ground. Many books wait on that to-be-read pile, some poetry to savor, to ponder, by poets once loved and those newly discovered. And genealogical research, and Zentangle, and watercolors, and a trip to the beach, a visit to the mountains. And, most of all, lots of time for thinking, for renewal.

Time and freedom – I’ve had both for several years now. But somehow this interlude, this sabbatical, seems especially precious. I’ll keep you posted on my journey. And I wonder if I can go three months without writing. I’ll admit characters for the next book are forming in my head.