Crying in a Country… or Something Like That

Y’all! So, I’m reading this book, right? And, while I am interested to find out how the story plays out, I can’t help but think I totally understand why this was only $4 at Books-A-Million. Actually, it was $3.97. Cheapest book I’ve ever purchased from a big book store.

First of all, it can be difficult to keep up with the dialogue. Spoken words are preceded by a hyphen rather than cradled within quotation marks, and sometimes they are just tucked within the line of text. It gets really confusing at times.

Also, the flow of the conversation is often ragged and seemingly unnatural. To be fair, the book is set in South Africa (at least the beginning is), and the characters speak various languages. Even though the text is in English, the author could be translating or trying to account for a particular cadence of speech or maybe I’m just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I’m reading this one a bit slowly—a little before bed each night. I’m curious to know if (and where) Kumalo finds his son.

I’ll be sure to let you know how it plays out.

Oh, by the way, the book is Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.


Creating Space for Writing

I was exhausted after I self-published my first book last year. At the time, I didn’t think it was taking a lot out of me, but there was a lot of other intense things happening in my personal life and all of it just kind of wore me out.

I thought I would spend a lot of time working on my second book this year, but I just haven’t been able to make space for writing in that way. First, I was tired, then I was distracted, then I got busy, and my short stories got placed on the shelf while I dealt with the constantly changing emotions.

For a little while, I did work on chopping up a novel I started in 2016 and turning it into a short story. I’ve read it so many times in so many different versions that I don’t even know if it makes sense anymore. I hope it does, and I will eventually give it to someone else to read through.

There are a lot of things I want to write about. More importantly, there is still a lot of healing that needs to take place in me, and I feel very strongly that some of this healing can only take place through writing this second book. I was getting ready for bed last night and thought I should just check out during December and do nothing but write. Of course, I have some obligations I can’t neglect completely, and I won’t be writing 24/7, but I’m noticing this internal ache that requires disconnection.

Social media breaks are not foreign to me. I usually take a long break from socials around my birthday (September) and return around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sometimes I take a long break during the summer and return around my birthday. This year, however, I’ve only taken short breaks from socials, and I’ve recently found myself starting a lot of conversations with “So, I saw this video the other day” and it’s bugging me now.

So, I’ve decided a writing break is incredibly necessary and I will be putting business-related things on hold and spending the month of December focused on writing.

This break is also for reading and sitting by the pool and enjoying the weather once it cools down enough to enjoy and maybe even going back to church. This break is for me to disconnect from false interactions and a constant barrage of content and other people’s voices. This break is for tuning in and reconnecting with me. For remembering what my voice sounds like outside of the influence of other people—louder people—around me.

I breathe deeper just thinking about this break.

And I really wish I could completely ditch socials during this month, but I am solely responsible for posting to the podcast’s IG page because it’s not a business page yet and we can’t auto schedule those posts until it is. I also have a client with whom I’m testing my VA services and that is important to me as well. So, these things will remain.

I don’t know if this writing break will result in me being in your inbox more. But maybe it will. I kinda hope it will.

Please send me positive writing vibes!

Some Books Need to Be Read in Print and Are We Over Newsletters Yet?

If you look at my reading list, you’ll notice I’ve been “reading” Pleasure Activism for months. I put “reading” in quotes because I stopped actively reading the book months ago (clearly, because it’s the end of October and I haven’t finished it yet). Unlike some other books I have struggled to get through, Pleasure Activism is actually a good read—it’s just not a good digital read.

Pleasure Activism is one of those books (for me) that needs to be held in your hands and given all of your attention. It’s a book you gotta pay attention to, not one you just skim through. Something about my brain refuses to absorb the information in this book through my phone, which means I have to buy it and I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. I just keep borrowing the digital version on Hoopla through my local library and trying to make my brain do the thing I know is not working.

On another note…

I’ve been trying to start a newsletter. And… I stopped trying to start a newsletter. Let’s be honest, we all have enough things coming into our inbox, and you’re already getting these blog posts, so what’s the point? No, seriously, if you can tell me the point of getting a newsletter from the same blog you’re already subscribed to receive posts from, please, somebody, enlighten me!

I’ll just continue to share all the things here until someone can convince me otherwise.

Speaking of new things…

I will be offering select Virtual Assistant services starting in January. Right now, the focus of my services will be around writing—blogs, newsletters (ha!), internal business documents (training sheets, polices & procedures, email scripts), etc.—and design—social media graphics, flyers, announcements, invitations, Holiday cards, and the like. Basically, doing all the things I loved spending time on in my previous jobs when we were slow and I had the time to do them.

Updates will spring forth after the Holidays.

Also, let’s celebrate the end of October (no more spookies after Tuesday!) so we can usher in the beauty of my favorite month (besides my Birth month). November is coming!

Hope y’all are well!

♥ Christine Gabriélle