I feel like a tortoise at the moment, inching my way through life but not seeming to ever get very far. It feels like it’s taking me a million minutes to read each book I start. I’m still reading everyday, but not very fast. With some books I’ve picked up lately, this can be put down to engagement. The story and/or the characters have just not grabbed me. Or the opposite: I’m loving what I’m reading so much that I’m lingering over it and taking far longer than I normally would to get to the end. And while neither of these things should really be an issue, as a blogger, and more importantly, a book reviewer, I feel a pressure mounting, one that’s very much in keeping with my mounting #tbr. The books keep arriving, and so many look SO GOOD. More concerning, the emails are flooding in, polite enquiries from publicists who are quite rightly wondering where the review I promised them is. Don’t worry, I’m wondering the same thing myself. I fell behind in the lead up to Easter, house guests for a week followed by a week away and then Easter and straight back to work. Life is busy, I work everyday, I have three teenagers, five pets, a husband, a large house that has far too much white in it and never seems to stay clean, a laundry pile that refuses to shrink in size. And then there’s sleep – always craving it and never seeming to get near enough of it. I keep thinking: nothing’s changed from before Easter to now…what is my problem?
Last week, for three days, I had the pleasure of being a ‘Writer in Residence’ for the high school I work for, but with the junior year 7 to 9 students (my regular work is exclusively with year 10 to 12). This was the most terrifying, exhilarating, rewarding, and inspirational teaching experience of my working life. The creativity these young minds were filled with! I have come away feeling lighter, inspired, and filled with a renewed confidence about our younger generation. I was certainly tired after each of these days, but it was a good tired, as opposed to a dragging myself through the motions tired. I also feel incredibly lucky to work for a school that allows its employees to step out of one role and into another for three days, especially a creative one like being a writer in residence. I feel confident too, that my son is attending a school that values creativity and learning enrichment alongside the curriculum.
Last night, I attended the ‘Teachers Ball’, a social event reserved for Education Queensland employees in this town. I had a fantastic night with colleagues and meeting new people who work at other schools in our town who I would not normally have come across. Why is this even worth mentioning? Because normally I avoid events like this. I regretted buying the ticket 30 seconds after I’d paid for it, but I began telling myself I was looking forward to it, buying myself a new dress and matching earrings, further deepening my financial commitment to the event. I’m so glad I did. The food was delicious, the live music fantastic, and we danced the night away, singing 80s and 90s hits at the top of lungs on the dancefloor. If they hold another one next year, I’ll be purchasing my ticket without regret.
So maybe this tortoise is beginning to make some progress, but just at a different pace from before. Maybe, I just need to cut myself some slack. I read because I love to get lost in other worlds and other lives. I review because I love to write and share books with others. When did this become a race? A quest to post a review everyday? I used to post an author interview every Wednesday, but you will have noticed that dropped off towards the end of last year. I still love to interview authors, but I’m more selective now, only interviewing the ones I’m truly interested in learning more about, as opposed to every author that requests one. My reviews are so far away from being posted everyday. And you know what? I’m beginning to make peace with that. To write the type of long reviews that typify this blog requires close reading, and that type of reading takes time. If you are an author waiting on a review from me, please be patient. I will get there. If you are a publicist beginning to wonder if you’ve wasted a book on me, I assure you that you haven’t. And if you are a reader of this blog, I thank you for your readership and comments. I love this community of book bloggers and readers and value the contribution it makes to my life.
Slowly, slowly…the tortoise always gets there in the end. Perhaps it’s not about the pace but more about achieving balance and satisfaction. Maybe…