Therese Arkenberg's home on the web

Updates, mostly personal

Posted by on Apr 16, 2021 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Look, I’ll be honest, after my last post to this blog it’s terribly difficult to think of a first line to this post that won’t sound obscenely flippant or bitter. I’m not bitter, actually–and fortunately. I have too many good memories, and I guess I just have a foundationally optimistic personality.

All optimism aside, much of 2020 sucked.

But there are good things happening too.

For one, I’ve received my vaccine, and that was a weight off my mind I hadn’t realized I was carrying.

Also, I’ve moved to a new home, buying my first condo. There is green grass outside my window (although snow is in the forecast for next week) and I wake each morning to birds singing and you know what? It’s a good way to start the day. I think this quiet, nature-surrounded location is better for my mental health–I enjoyed parts of living in an apartment downtown, like being able to walk to events and shops, but I’ve just aged out of lying in bed at 2:30 am listening to people shout at each other on their way home from the bars.

(Yes, in a pandemic.)

Also this new condo has given me much more closet and shelf space. I have a new desk in a bigger personal office, and a bookcase entirely dedicated to library books.

Speaking of books, I’ve found reading is…no cure for grief at all, of course, but it’s helpful in the way reading can always be helpful, in bringing you out of yourself and into connection with other people’s experiences. I’ve become something of an armchair thanatologist, reading everything from memoirs and poetry to writing from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, to a recent book on hospice doctor Christopher Kerr’s study on end of life experiences, to books on people’s afterlife beliefs. On, I’ve started putting together a list of some of the titles that have most enlightened, entertained, transformed, or at least distracted me. I also found a lot of value in Jenny Odell’s book on–well, on social media, public parks, performance art, crows, the psychology of attention, environmental conservation, and much, much more–How to Do Nothing.

I still intend to get more of John’s fiction published, and one of his short stories appears in the Outsiders Within anthology of Lovecraftian cosmic horror–“ordinary people adrift in an incomprehensible universe.”

It might pair well with Odell’s book, or Kubler-Ross’s, since they all seem to share a topic!

(I don’t mean that bitterly. The universe is incomprehensible, and sometimes incomprehensible means horrific, but birds are singing outside my window, and I was lucky enough to be loved well, and there are lots of stories out there to read. This is all true at once.)

A brief update on work–I should probably make another post just about it, but here’s a start–I am open to new copyediting clients and manuscripts! I’ve also made some changes to my process for 2021 that I think will help writers to improve their manuscripts even more, while helping keep my hours within any budget, through the use of a “guided pre-edit” service. If you’d like to check it out, get in touch with some information about yourself and your story!

I didn’t have a good opening line for this post, and I don’t have a strong closing one either. I half-remember a writer…perhaps Henry James…speaking of the death of a young friend in World War One, as being unspeakable and ugly and impossible to write about. Sometimes it’s hard to be eloquent, and sometimes (I know, I’m surprised to see myself write this) eloquence isn’t the most important thing. I’m still here. You are, too. Let’s make something of it.

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