Weekly word count: 12 204
Boom. <mic drop>
Of course, 9516 of those words were written on Friday and Saturday, during my mini writer's retreat, a.k.a. me cashing in my points for a 4 day weekend at a hotel.
I try to do 2-3 writing retreats every year because they make a huge difference in my productivity. Without the distractions of life (family and paid work), it turns out that I can be amazingly productive in writing. I wouldn't want to choose to live without my family and I rather like being able to pay my mortgage and buy groceries, so I don't think I'll be saying good-bye to the day job any time soon (plus, I actually like my coworkers and my office). But it would be pretty cool if I could devote 6 hours a day to writing most weekdays.
I think sometimes parents (especially moms) are put in a difficult position. There can be a lot of judgment and there's an expectation that the role of parent supersedes any personal dreams or goals. I actually agree with that. I think that if someone chooses to be a parent, then that is a verb, not a noun and they need to consider their children as well as themselves. (This doesn't mean giving everything up for them, or sticking with conventional gender roles.) However, I don't agree that expressing a desire to fulfill a personal dream is the same as saying that a parent wishes they hadn't had children or that their children are holding them back. It's expressing a part of themselves that is separate from their obligations to their family.
Someone can be both grateful for having children in their lives and express wistful wishes about paths not taken. They can love their kids and still need time away.
Going home after a writing retreat is like being plunged back in the deep end of the pool. There's no bottom and the work to stay afloat begins immediately. I can get used to it and find time to carve out for myself, but it's not the same as lounging in the shallows and enjoying the sun. (I may need to take a vacation somewhere warm to counteract the Canadian winter.)
Last week's Tarot cards were the page of Coins, reversed (missed clause), the five of wands reversed (setbacks), and the Fool reversed (unprepared). Thus far, no overlooked paragraphs in legal documents have come forward to trip me up (knocking on wood because I'm superstitious that way). Maybe I'll find out later, but for now, I'll hope that I avoided unpleasantness by being careful. Frankly, it's always good advice to make sure you truly understand the implications of any contract that you sign.
This week's past card was a major arcana, the Devil. It's usually depicted as a treasure anchored in place with people trying to haul it to an exit. If they let go, they could walk away at any time and be free, but because the insist on holding on, they are trapped. (I've seen decks where this card was depicted as an anchor, which I think might be more symbolically appropriate.) The present card is the four of wands, a time of refuge and recharging. The four wands hold up the corners of a structure, providing safety and sanctuary for those within. The future card is the seven of wands, usually showing someone defending the high ground against attack. The message is to stand firm, that while the individual is under siege, they actually hold the advantage.
So I have one card telling me to let go and one telling me to stand my ground, with a pause in between. More accurately, they are saying that I have failed to let go when it would have been helpful in the past, but that I should be prepared to defend my position in the future. That's probably fair, since I have trouble with change and tend to believe I can fix things rather than discarding them. So I'll be on the lookout for any high ground that I happen to be standing on.