1) As an addendum to my last post about being a fan, I snuck in a few more IFOA readings, the highlight being Leanne Shapton reading and then being interviewed by Seth. I read Swimming Studies this summer, and there was something about it that was so comforting – it demands little of you, it ebbs and flows, it’s all about memory and practice and a quiet kind of ambition. I mean, on top of being about swimming. It’s very zine-y too, meandering and tangential, with accompanying photos and watercolours. And there were other things I related to, like how Shapton is half-Filipino! Also, my childhood best friend swam for the very swim team described in the book, and so even though I wasn’t a swimmer, I knew the rhythms of a competitive swimmer. I remember going with my friend to a swim meet once, and being surprised at what it was like. Surprised and kind of awed. I remember, after she had quit swimming, towards the end of high school, we would go for walks around the neighborhood at night, and on cold nights I would sometimes borrow her swimming parka, the coziest, grizzly bear of a coat. Leanne Shapton describes that same parka in her book, and I hadn’t thought about it since those high school years. So, I was excited to see her read, and then waited patiently at the end of the reading to get my book signed. I was with Samantha, who is also half-Filipino, and we shared a moment of half-Filipino bonding. Is it a silly thing to bond over? It’s an important thing to me, though, this part of my identity. Anyway. That was nice.
2) That same night Tavi Gevinson was in Toronto doing an event for the Rookie Yearbook, and Soraya and I headed over. We are not the Rookie target audience, but coming of age is one of my things, and Tavi is such a smart cookie. The main event was a costume/Halloween dance party, with an epic candy and cake table, but we got there at the beginning before the dance party really began. Magic Pony was already quite full, but there was barely a crowd around Tavi, who was sitting at a table to sign books, and I realized that, of course, so many of the people there were teenagers, still at that phase where they’re a little shy, afraid of seeming overeager around someone they admire. Soraya and I chatted with her a little – she truly was the sweetest – and then we left and ate Italian food. When we dropped in a little later (to get more candy because you are never too old for more candy), the crowd had visibly relaxed.
3) We have a functioning record player again, and in some ways this was the last thing we needed for our new place to really feel like home. So much music in the house now, and I like the deliberateness that goes into playing a record – picking one off the shelf, carefully dropping the needle, flipping from Side A to Side B. I know this is the record fetish-y stuff that’s kind of eye-roll-y, but, honestly, I appreciate being purposefully slowed down, being physically prevented from clicking to the next song or listening to something on a never-ending loop.
4) After many revisions and edits and all those times I was all, “last draft of my novel!!!”, I think I’ve truly finished the last draft of my novel at this stage in its life. Fingers crossed that the next time I have to work on edits is when it has a home, but who knows how long that will take. In the end, I’m proud of the little book I wrote, that I wove together some storylines, came up with these characters whom I love and will miss writing about. I wrote the kind of book I want to read, and only now do I feel nervous about that, like, whoops, maybe I should’ve thought a little bit about what others, including um, publishers, want to read? Isn’t there something grossly indulgent about writing a book for yourself? Either way, I did what I set out to do, and that’s something, I think.
5) I don’t blog as much when I’m writing, and I’m writing these days. I’m in those early stages of a first draft, so in a way it’s nice because I still feel like I have freedom to experiment and test things out, but it’s also daunting because, after the work that went into my first novel, I’m aware of how much work I have ahead of me, even after I’ve figured out the arc and the characters. So I’m trying not to psych myself out, and once again just write something that I would want to read.
6) Mostly life feels full these days, and I’m grateful for it. There are times when it’s overwhelming, but a little overwhelming can sometimes be a good thing. But, I still need to impose some kind of order, and so, that’s why this entry is a numbered list because I couldn’t think of how else to write this evening, to get things in order.
7) Keep warm. I saw some flurries today from my office window.