Galaxies Within Us

I spent this morning catching up on newsletters from authors I follow. If you’re not sure I’m subscribed to yours, feel free to drop a link in the comments. I promise to at least check it out. Developed, long-form thoughts are so much more appealing to me than bite-sized hot takes. While I’ve felt increasingly alienated from the scene to which I’ve belonged for ten years now, there are some folks who I know are intelligent, interesting and kind. I’d like to keep up with them.

My newsletter is more or less dead in the water. Maybe fixing that’s a 2022 resolution. I’ve made enough for 2021. Sure, we’re scared still and 2020’s aftershocks are still being felt, but as I stated yesterday, I’m onto the next one. All about leveling up. Bearing my torch through all darkness and lighting little fires along the way.

This past week, I did a few things that were outside my comfort zone and (in some cases) outside my normal realm of interests. I started learning how to code at Free Code Camp. New skills are important, especially in the gig economy we’re increasingly moving toward. Sure, it doesn’t have anything to do with writing and that’s okay, or maybe it does and I don’t see it yet. Still, I’m growing. Leveling up. Evolving.

I also started studying & investing in the stock market. Dry stuff, from my outsider perspective, BUT I will say there is a feeling I get watching my money grow. A feeling I used to get from likes on social media, but so much more beneficial, in my opinion. Something that means having the means to take care of my own.

I also recorded a vidcast (is that a word? a video podcast) with Kelby Losack and J David Osborne. While chatting with those two is not outside my comfort zone at all (in fact, I feel like I can be my genuine self around them), recording that conversation and putting it up for the world to see is another matter entirely. I pride myself on being real as fuck, but I’ve always been hesitant to do ALL my thinking in public because I worry about sounding crazy or insensitive half the time. The show will go up on Tuesday morning. It’s called White Trash Occultism. Links will follow once it’s posted.

Progress on ONE AND ONLY is moving along nicely. Chapter 3 will be up here tomorrow morning. You can read Chapter 1 here and Chapter 2 here. I kind of know where it’s all going, at least the part of it that I’m calling ONE AND ONLY. See, I didn’t show my hand before, but it’s 5 am on a Sunday and I’m feeling froggy. I’m working on three novellas that will actually be one novel. ONE AND ONLY will probably conclude around Valentine’s Day. It’s sequel will commence the following week and wrap up around June. The third part will wrap around Halloween. This is intended as a year long, public project. A chance to work out loud, offer early access, and think on a larger scale. Once it concludes, I’ll edit and collect them into a physical edition you can purchase.

I used to think of writing as THE thing I do. It’s time to think of it as A thing I do. We’re complicated, and I think limiting ourselves to one vocation can be mentally and economically harmful. I am Lucas Mangum. I am not one thing. YOU are not one thing. Whole galaxies swirl within us.

Good morning.

Resolution # 3

No more mental health days. I took a lot of those last year, missing more time at the day job than I care to say. Sure, I had good reasons. My brain trying to kill me. Anxiety over our crumbling society. Anger at people on both sides of the political aisle. Sadness over sick and dying friends.

But I want to keep going. Doing the things I need to support myself and my family. This isn’t about pride or so-called toxic masculinity. This is about refusing to let them win. This is about living life the way I want to live it.

This is not to say that I will, going forward, neglect self-care. Quite the opposite. There are plenty of ways to take care of myself without fucking up my livelihood.

Walks after work with only an audiobook and my camera for company. Hitting the heavy bag. Taking care of my fish and the outdoor cat who visits almost daily. Meditative tarot readings. Blogging here every damn day.

The list goes on. I’ve got this. You’ve got this. Happy New Year.

Resolution # 2

Take days off from SERIOUS writing.

I say SERIOUS because on these days off I will still blog daily, as promised. I just won’t do the big 1-2,000 word writing sessions. While I do think it’s important for writers to write as much as they can, in the same way athletes should train as much as they can, I think it’s equally important to find time for other things. Relax. Recuperate. LIVE YOUR LIFE.

“Find the thing you love and let it kill you.” Fuck that, I love lots of things, and me getting killed helps no one. So, yeah, days off.

Because of the holiday, I took four days off from major writing projects last weekend and came back stronger than ever. I spent time with my loved ones. I finally took care of that awful cloudy water in my fish tank. I got my office in the garage looking nice and homey.

There’s more to life than writing. I know I’m not supposed to say that. I know we writers are supposed to live and die by the pen (or the keyboard), but I ain’t interested in what I’m supposed to do.