distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Oh, January

January has not been treating me so well. And not just me—the world. When I’m silent for an entire week you can be sure the reason is the usual: I’m feeling low. I’ve spent the past week sitting in my ditch. From here, I can see people passing in their cars, on foot, whizzing by on bikes. I can hear them talking. I can hear them pointing out my mistakes. You get dirty down in a ditch—breathing in the exhaust fumes, dodging the litter thrown at your head. And it’s lonely, and it’s pathetic, and you berate yourself because hopelessness is all the worse when there’s no real reason for it. Try to write a novel when you’re in a ditch. Just try. It’s hard to even hold a pencil.

So I’m getting up. As of this morning.

Think of the good: Next week we get a new president. Monday is a holiday and my office is closed. The plane landed, everyone survived. The cards say I’m heading in the right direction. E’s hair is growing slowly and is still at the perfect length, especially the bangs, and if I hide the scissors it can stay that way for days.

And last night I finished a beautiful book. I’d been lamenting on Twitter how we’re broke right now and I couldn’t buy this book I wanted, Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun, and—not days later—an amazing person sent it to me in the mail. Unprompted. Asking nothing in return. Just as a surprise. I couldn’t believe it, truly couldn’t. The book came at the right time. I started reading, savoring every paragraph. But I was barely surviving work that week, so I didn’t really dive in until last night. And finished it in one swallow. And closed it, and held it against my ribs, and just didn’t even know what to say after finishing it. To put to words how, why I loved this book. This book about a runaway girl in New York City. I just… loved this book.

Coincidentally, I’ve been looking back at a short story (stolen from what was once a novel) about a girl who wants to run away. I’ll be reading excerpts from it in front of people on January 25. I’m so thrilled I was asked to take part! (Thank you, you-know-who.) So if you are in New York City that evening, please come.

I’m rolling out of my ditch now and am trying to make it to the road. See you there?

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5 responses to “Oh, January”

  1. If I were still living in NYC, I’d attend! And about the blues…my friends and I were talking about how often we feel down or sluggish or blah every January. Never really figured it out. But I know one thing: Tuesday will be a happy day!

    Happy New Year, Nova! warmest wishes, m
    (please note my blog has a new URL. sorry for the inconvenience).

  2. I hear you on January! I was thinking about writing a similar blog post lamenting this month…sigh…but halfway over. Yay! February comes with noticeably longer days, thank goodness.

  3. Good luck with your reading Nova, I’d come and see you if I could. And the mean reds will hopefully vanish soon. Possibly a comedown from all the hard work over xmas break. Hang in there — take a deep breath — and remember you finished a novel that will be published soon. 🙂

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