First of all, I should say that I did eventually finish the bird puzzle. It took me almost a month, sometimes only a couple of pieces a day. What finally pushed it over the edge (ha — remember how I said I should have done the edge first?) was a combination of factors: 1) A friend posted on Facebook that it was National Puzzle Day. 2) I was getting ready to go out of town, and my husband said the puzzle could not remain sprawled all over a giant corkboard on top of our coffee table while I was gone. 3) When I made a motion to take the puzzle apart, since the whole thing was ridiculous and also not fun anymore, my daughter told me very firmly that I just needed to “believe in myself” and then I’d be able to finish it. Also that she knew I could do it. #$@^ the adorable optimism of the young! Of course I had to finish it then. J was kind enough to help me. We stayed up until 2 or so — more like National Puzzle Morning After, then. This actually felt much better than just taking it apart.
Around that same time, I was also working on a giant editing project — a history of an alternative high school here in Chicago. I actually just finished it tonight, after a couple of rounds, both before and after my trip. I had wanted to really push hard and finish the whole thing before I left, but it became clear really wouldn’t serve the project well. Some things demand a little pause in between, and New Orleans certainly provided that. The heyday for this high school was in the ’70s, and it turns out that though I am much (much!) younger than those who graduated in that era, I actually know two of them. It was fun to get a glimpse of their high school experiences — and because I spent a lot of time with their stories, I feel like I came to know many of the other students, too. There’s a copy of the school newspaper from “back in the day” online, and I might spend a little time with it to ease my withdrawal.
My next project is much shorter — proofing an article for an academic journal. I have been very fortunate so far, in that just as one thing wraps up, another one presents itself. Here’s hoping that continues.
With the full press of a big project plus travel plus work plus family (and my birthday, and two colds — book-ending my trip — and and and), it’s been somewhat hard to prioritize my own writing. Not so much the actual writing, which I compel myself to do on most days (though I did lapse while in NOLA), but the revising and submitting. It requires a different frame of mind, and I feel like I’m clicking among so many different frames already, and super super fast.
Speaking of super fast, though, February is flying, and there’s a deadline I’d hate to miss. Alimentum arrived just in time to remind me that it feels really, really good to be published. If that’s not enough of a spur, maybe I can call on my daughter for a pep talk. And after that, maybe I’ll start another puzzle.