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Hey there!
Let’s talk about our days…
With Tidal Flats less than two months from publication, my publisher wants me to focus my attention on launching this book into the world. Which means stepping out there. With words. Posting on FB and Instagram and Twitter. And often. I’ve been doing it, but it hasn’t felt natural. It has felt as if I’m saying, hey look at me. But late last week something changed.
 
In a New York Times Opinion piece about our champion soccer team, Charles Warzel quoted a book I mentioned in the first newsletter—How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell—and he wrote that our soccer team was able to stay in charge of its narrative by entering what the book calls a “third space.” Instead of wasting time on submitting to or refuting demands, the team set the “terms of engagement” and focused its attention on what mattered to them.
 
I clicked over to photos of Megan Rapinoe and her teammates, and then I re-read what I'd written on my website, that I want to get my insides out.

So, now, with the vision of our champion soccer team in my head and with my arms outstretched, I’m focusing on being myself on social media, on saying something true and on being able to say with pride, hey, look at this thing that I did. Then, in the quiet of the late afternoons, I leave my computer for the peace of the sofa and I read.
Julia Phillips’ essay on July 1 marked a milestone—10 years of essays in the How We Spend Our Days series. Her debut novel. Disappearing Earth, which was featured in The New Yorker, was published May 14, 2019. She is currently in full book tour mode. In her essay, she writes about all our literary selves:
 
Here is the challenge of these days: the rapid cycling between reader, writer, and author, all these literary selves that engage with the written word in different ways. In the morning, I’m digesting other people’s art; in the afternoon, trying to make my own; in the evening, working to sell that product, performing confidence in what I’ve put on the page…[T]his new three-way split has thrown me. The author part wants to take up every waking minute, so I read a sentence and think of my just-released novel, I write a phrase and think of my novel again. It’s exciting, all-consuming. It turns bike rides into rehearsals for interviews and meeting with friends into tape-recorded book talks.
 
Where we are in the process changes our days. This new author self is a challenge. It’s changing Julia’s days. It’s changing my days. But what a privilege to expand into this other literary self.
Also mentioned in the first newsletter was Gordon Hempton, the acoustic ecologist who is on a quest to preserve quiet places in the world. When Kirie received that newsletter, she wrote that she lives just down the road from Hempton.

Every day, I marvel that I get to live almost without sounds of civilization here adjoining the Olympic National Park, where I was born and still live on the same property. Instead, I sleep to the sound of waves on the cliff (May through October when I sleep in a tent right on the cliff), and eagles, seals, great blue herons, and myriad other birds in the wildlife sanctuary I left/created around my cabin built mostly of repurposed materials. The only part missing, of course, is any kind of cultural or writing community…

One of the good things about the internet is that no matter where we live, we can connect with others—whether our focus is speaking out or quiet.
 
With this newsletter, I wish you days full of things that matter to you.
Let me know how you’re spending your July days. And feel free to share this email with others. Thanks for reading.
 
Peace out,
--cynthia

 
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Issue #2 July 2019
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