Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. – Vera Nazarian
I sent my completed copy edits back to my publisher last week. It was time; I was on the brink of mental fatigue. "The hardest part is over now," she texted me. "Let us take Alice from you now, and you have a break."
I've since done something that feels like a first: I've allowed myself to rest, without feeling guilty. Without feeling like I should be 'doing' something. Without being swallowed by anxiety. I've been careful to keep a structure to my days, rather than what I've done in the past after working intensely and coming to a sudden stop, which is fall headfirst into self-destructive thoughts and emotions. I've continued to show up but rather than for my novel, it's been for self-care and self-compassion. And it's been whatever I've been able to manage. Like mediating, for 10 minutes every day, because my mind is worn out and that amount of time feels right. I've run for 7 days in a row, for 20-25 minutes a time, because that feels like the length my body can do and benefit from. I've taken Epsom salt baths. I've bought my groceries online (delivery!). I've started catching up on life admin and emails. I've ordered take away dinners from my favourite vegan Indian restaurant. I've been to see my osteo because she holds me together. I've watched The Perks of Being A Wallflower. And Magic Mike XXL. I've kept very close to gratitude. And, I've started reading again for pure pleasure. Which has been gilded by what's pictured here: hot coconut oil hair treatment, a bucket of tea, and Sam's pjs, because they're so comfy, but mostly because, Super(wo)man.
Also, if Vera is right, which I think she is, and good books being read opens doors in the world to allow in more light, I don't plan on culling my To Be Read pile any time soon.
I hope you get every chance to soothe your worried, wearied edges this weekend, wildflowers. I hope you can go lightly.
HOLLY RINGLAND grew up barefoot and wild in her mother's tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. Her interest in cultures and stories was sparked by a two-year journey her family took in North America when she was nine years old, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Moving to England in 2009, Holly obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. Her essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. She now lives between the UK and Australia. To any question ever asked of Holly about growing up, writing has always been the answer.