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Bathed in the Light at the End of the Tunnel

The editing gig I’ve been working for a month or so is now, finally, thank the stars and the heavens, over. While I’m thankful for the filthy lucre, working on two textbook projects at the same time and mostly close to the deadline, during an already-busy semester, while keeping up my writing (somewhat, because I had deadlines of my own to keep), pushed me very close to my limits as a human being. Last week was relatively free, but the couple of weeks before, and the last few days, have been so crammed that I felt as if I were working two full-time jobs on many days. I was getting all the familiar symptoms of stress: tightness in my chest, indigestion, loss of appetite, stiffness (which wasn’t helped by the fact I was too busy to even go for a walk many days), and worse asthmatic conditions than usual. (Though some of that is the cold air as it’s finally beginning to feel like winter over here in Korea.)

And now, it’s all done, and I’m left with:

I’m still walking and talking, so I must have done something right, but I think I’m going to be very leery about what I commit to outside of work from now on. In retrospect, if I weren’t fighting to get a few works in for an anthology to which I really must submit something, I could have taken the month off and been a little (not much, but a little) less stressed. But I also found myself last week working on another story that had just sort of bloomed in my head and demanded that I write it. So I know this writing thing isn’t something I can just turn off.

For now, I’ll be working on the manuscripts mentioned. After that, I think I’ll take a relative break — grading will be crashing in about then — and work only episodically on short pieces I’m experimenting with, one being a retelling of the fable of the grasshopper and the ant, the other being an expansion of a flash piece I wrote a while back called “Iblis.”

On the horizon?

However, for the moment, I’m thinking of taking a few weeks and just reading for pleasure. I haven’t had a chance in a long time, now, or it feels like a long time, and I need it. Maybe for that week after final exams, and before we leave on holidays? I’ll sink into a couple of fiction books, and a magazine. After that, I think I’ll try to do some nonfiction research, since, these days, going to Myanmar sounds a little, well… not like a good idea.

For now, I’m going to go eat a bunch of kyul — which are what we in North America call “Mandarin oranges” (Edit: Caroline pointed out on the livejournal version of this post that they’re also called “Satsuma oranges” in North America. Is that an American thing?) They’re dirt cheap here, especially at this time of year, and I was hit by a craving and bought a huge box on the way home from the doctor’s office. Now Lime and I have to eat them! Well, I’ve been short of fruit (and food in general) lately, so this is a good thing. (And is balanced off by the fact her mother just sent a bunch of kimchi and side dishes. Dinner the last two nights has just been rice with nice, homemade side dishes. There’s no better dessert for such meals than kyul!)

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