more discipline

My days now involve a predictable set of pitched battles for power, almost all internal.

Mornings bring the usual pleasure to be waking up alive, a rustle around the bed to see if there is someone next to me to kiss and snuggle and pet. Usually there is at least a cat; in the best of circumstances there is Bill: tall, clever, kind, dreamy. Full of love.

Bill and Kate at Ricardo Cat

With waking also comes a suite of other feelings, more confusing. My body is weary from two years of sitting intently over bead board, computer and camera setup, and my hands and arms are starting to show the strain. I stretch, I swim, I get acupuncture, I ice, I get massage, I drink water, I eat good food and too much ibuprofen. But still, I am drastically overusing the system. A standing desk is absurd to me, I cannot even contemplate writing at one and it would not help my hands.

Freezer packs rest on either side of my laptop and bead board, so I can ice my wrists while I read, or think. I am proactive; I have an appointment with a hand specialist this afternoon to talk to her about how to make it through the next month intact.

Temptation is equally overwhelming to cut to print and also to slow down; my problem, if it can actually be called one, is that every day of extra work now brings another layer of clarity that seems as profound as opening a curtain and letting more sunlight in. Who knew there were so many layers still to reveal? New pieces are created every day; many of them are genius.

Brenda Day Spring Helix

I probably don’t have to even tell you that Brenda Day was channelling Spring in this one; you can see the purple crocus, the pink and purple tulips, the ferns, the grass, the new leaves on the evergreens.

I’ve given up my summer break to keep working, because I cannot finish and I also cannot seem to cut the cord and say “good enough”.  I’m both proud of and disgusted at myself for this, I laugh. What the hell? But I am this close to being able to bring tens of thousands more people off of the architectural launchpad with me, all I have to do is speak clearly. It’s thrilling, exhausting, it makes me Feel Things. Mostly gratitude. It’s work that I love, work of my choice.

I am, however, also longing to seriously begin my next project, Love Letters, which has been bubbling on the side burner for over a year now. Technically I am already criminally late delivering, without even properly starting. I marvel at that. My interview subjects are actually starting to call ME, which is unheard of. Every single one of them is a person who would never dream of doing less than their best; each of them is devoted to doing original work. How can I do less than what I admire in them? How could I look them in the eye? I must keep moving forward. Surely, any week now, it will be done.

I console myself with the reminder that none of us in the next project have died. We are all only getting better, which will by definition make a better book.

I dance around to Editions Of You, testing this post, and briefly gloat over the luscious FAN of orchestra seats Doriot and I scored from TicketMonster this morning, for Ferry shows in Boston and Philly, Oct 2 and 4. Please let me know fairly immediately if you are planning on joining our party in either city, so we can make sure you get a ticket.

Just in case you wonder if he’s still got it….the answer is yes. My panties just threw THEMSELVES at the screen.

14 thoughts on “more discipline

  1. Kate, I hope your hand situation improves. If your hand Doc has some tips, I sure could use them. My hands are plagued with tingling, cold, numbness…especially the left hand, which has carpel tunnel going on as well as being affected by tendonitis in that wrist, on which I had surgery several years ago, but managed to injure again!

    • We must use them less, that’s really the only answer. I can pull it off when I’m not on deadline. I will report back! Your situation sounds pretty serious….are you enforcing time off of beading on yourself?

  2. I hope all goes well with the hand doctor! I can’t imagine slowing down and I’m not even that prolific. So I can only somewhat fathom your angst; I’m sure it’s far worse than what I can imagine. But I think there is also a certain loveliness to using up oneself, working for love. That’s my hope for how I feel when I find myself kicking the final bucket. I want to feel all used up; all the paint tubes empty, words spent and love loved.

  3. your spirit shining through “I console myself with the reminder that none of us in the next project have died. We are all only getting better, which will by definition make a better book.” is why I read you with so muhc pleasure. Please take care of your hands and shoulders, if you are icing, you are already too far beyond the limits. Can you activate the voice writing option? I highly recommend that you spare your arms with that.

  4. i was lucky…my hand problem was carpel tunnel….I had laser surgery on one wrist for this… it was easy peasy and the best thing I’ve ever done. no more pain…hand works great. glad to hear your hand will be o.k….if it is arthritis, then only using it will help.

  5. I’ve had two bouts with “Trigger Finger” where the bands around a tendon mal function and cause the affected finger to lock in a contracted position. I was able to delay the surgeries for long periods of time when the hand surgeon gave me injections in the affected tendon. He is the greatest and if you want to come to Minneapolis to see him, just let me know. Also, the left hand gave me a heads up, but he solved that one with the needle about 10 months ago. Dr.Van Beek is a practicing and teaching surgeon. Good luck, y’all.

  6. Surgery? Bah!!! The only way I would consider having someone cut on me would be if it were life threatening. My chiropractor can fix any structural problem I have and the acupuncturist takes care of any pain in between. I’m glad your hands will be okay.

    • I went to see a surgeon not because I want surgery, but because she is the best hand specialist in St. Louis. Unexpectedly, she was also fierce and thrilling.

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