In caregiver support group, someone says “I would like to sit longer with joy,” and my body responds with an instantaneous shower of chills.
There is an urgency to life right now. It feels like nothing can wait.
At dinner immediately after, I catch myself leaping out of my seat at soon as the last forkful of food has entered my mouth. I stop, sit back down, close my eyes, take a deep breath. More chills. I feel my gut unclench.
I did it again this morning at breakfast, jumping up like there’s a fire in the kitchen and I have to rush to put it out. But there’s no visible fire, just the slow, underground burn of his decline. Miles and miles of it stretching under everything.
It felt as if everyone else had already read Priestdaddy and I was last person to arrive at the Priestdaddy Party and yet when I scream at anyone in earshot about how this is the funniest book I’ve read in years, many of them haven’t heard of it at all. A reminder, then, to holler about the things we love, never assuming they’re old hat to those around us. We can always be the catalyst for someone’s next foray into joy.
The Kickstarter for Tell the Turning has come and gone. It funded with joyous speed, which helped me lean into treating it as an exercise in enoughness over the course of its lifespan, but I still experienced the odd pang of guilt that I wasn’t saturating the digital airwaves with more promotion. It helped that I was undergoing a massive slate of complex life things during those three weeks: second vaccine doses, unexpected deaths, preparations to return to Oregon and pack the rest of my life into boxes for a more permanent move. It was good to remember that we already had enough, and that I had two amazing collaborators doing their part as well. (If you haven’t read any of Stefan’s project updates, I recommend them wholeheartedly.)
Now we get to make a book, arguably the meat of the thing, but a Kickstarter leaves one with some delightful side products.
Volunteering to make the video for the campaign was a chance for me to practice editing (something I’ve been wanting to work on), and a challenge to capture the eccentric flavor of our little fellowship. It was also an exercise in embracing imperfection, since I’d started adhering to absurdly high standards on my own campaigns and needed to shake some of that loose.1
With the campaign over, I find myself wondering: where will that video live now? Does it still serve a purpose? I don’t know. But it’s funny how sometimes the parts of a project I’m most proud of are those adjacent to the work itself.
Once (and only once) I got my shit together for a talk far enough in advance to craft a deck of custom-illustrated slides that came out better than I could’ve hoped.
I organized my year-long tour for 100 Demon Dialogues via an Airtable database that can soothe even my darkest moments of self doubt.
I love these bits and pieces, even if they don’t go in my portfolio or grace the front of my site. Even if they’re for projects in hibernation, or enjoying their final rest. They’re still out there: not the whole thing, but part of the thing.
1. Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled with the animated demon Patrick and Chris helped me pull off for the 100 Demon DialoguesKickstarter video. I watched it the other day and grinned thinking about the day we spent filming in Patrick’s apartment, me staring at a chopstick with a post-it note demon stuck to the top to try and line up eyesights correctly. It has been extremely worth it to pay friends to help make my work better—hell, Chris is responsible for helping me line up those three long-distanced waving shots for the Tell the Turning video—but there’s something to be said for doing it less well myself sometimes. It’s good to remember that I can. ↩