Currently // October 2021

Take What is Offered

October is nature’s funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming—October than May. Every green thing loves to die in bright colors.

― Henry Ward Beecher

There are warm days still but as the season waxes on they are growing fewer and farther between. It’d be easy to spend the season sulking, but that only leaves so much less for me to enjoy. No, it’s better to seize what warmth and sunshine that is left. Soak it up and save what you can through the dark months to come. October is teaching me gratitude.

It’s hard, but this year I really am trying to see October in a new light. Autumn has never been among my favorite seasons. Just as the worry of a thing is always worse than the thing itself, the cool breezes and color-changing trees are worse than the winter they warn of.

Instead, I’d like to think of Autumn as just another kind of Spring. Not a season of death, as it always feels to me, but another season of change. It’s best to accept the shortening days and the cooling nights. It’s better to marvel at the leaves and find warmth and safety inside rather than out. There can be good this fall but you have to take what is offered and not lament what is lost.

And the truth is, a lot was offered. Some big changes happened this month and nearly all of it was good, nearly all of it was earned. This Autumn certainly is a time of reaping the rewards of sacrifices and hard choices that were made month over month this past year. I’m grateful beyond measure for what is given.

With that being said I’m taking the time to prepare not for the death of a thing, but for reflection and strengthening. Like trees pulling chlorophyll from the leaves, I am consolidating my resources. I am growing hard and readying for the worst of the winter. I’m making improvements. I’m making repairs. I’m preparing for a long season with myself. This fall I am letting myself change.

But before I do, here is what I am currently:

Writing in my own space again. Our spare bedroom is slowly being turned back into my old office space again. It’s a slow process, but it has meant making it easy to get away from distraction and make some real progress on my writing goals. I’m looking forward to a new month of prolific output.

Making poems and pictures again. I haven’t posted much yet but I am finding new ways to be creative with Instagram again. Going through my old photos on my phone and giving them a monochromatic make-over has been deeply satisfying and with my desk space returned I’ve gotten my old tools out and readied to make more poems and collages again.

Planning a new newsletter adventure. I’ve got a template and the start of three drafts already going. It’s been a long time since I’ve sent one of my old letters but I’ve missed the more intimate space of inbox to inbox writing. It’s so much more freeing but also so much more terrifying than a blog or Twitter feed. Check it out, subscribe, and let me know what you think?

Reading All About Love by bell hooks. I had a good run of reading motivation back in August but since finishing The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, I’ve lost the drive again. Reading about trauma was draining and though I learned a lot about myself through it, it’s been hard to want to go back to such deep introspection.

Watching Y the Last Man, though news of its cancellation has left me somewhat subconsciously uninterested in finishing the season. Like many of you, I also binge-watched Squid Game on Netflix and found it both horrifying and exhilarating. My favorite film this month was Dune from Director Denis Villeneuve. I suspect the novel will be my next fiction read.

Learning about Human Behavioral Biology from Standford Professor Robert Sapolsky, still. I blew through the first videos quite quickly but I had read a couple of his books before watching. Unfortunately, I have been stuck on video 12 on Endocrinology. I think my issue is that Sapolsky does not teach this lecture himself and he’s the entire reason I’m interested at all.

Anticipating a year of big changes ahead of me. There has been reaping this harvest season sure, but the sowing is far from done. My wife and I are finally feeling like we are coming into the lives we’ve been meant to lead all along and though it’s taken us some time to arrive, on coming into ourselves we feel the timing feels right after all.

Reflecting on what it means to make meaning and whether this very human impulse serves us well at all. I’m sure it has its uses, but moving away from the pressure to have so much purpose all the time sounds freeing. I am reflecting on where the meaning I have made for my life or the purpose I hope to serve comes from. Are these my impulses, or impulses that my culture has imposed on me?

Fearing the uncomfortable feeling that comes with growth. I’m feeling well beyond ready, and I can even say I am excited too, but there are fears that are hard lost and I will have to fight through some of my worst and long-standing. I’m confident I can do it, but the little voice in the back of my mind that has only ever wanted to protect me has her doubts.

Hating how little the Democrats have been able to accomplish in the year since Biden’s election. I knew then Republicans would obstruct his every endeavor and I make no excuses for them, but I had no idea how much our own party would blockade the way. These are reasonable benefits we all should be fighting for like paid parental leave, free community college, or expanded healthcare coverage. What should our taxes be paying if not this?

Loving the resilience I have seen from the people who mean the most to me. It can be easy to judge another person’s position in life or to resent the hardships your family put you through but when you learn to look past your pain, you can see how hard it was for everyone. You can see how each person did the best they could given their pain too. It makes it easier to see the strength you come from. It makes it easier to love.

Needing help. I have healed quite a few of my old wounds just fine on my own over the years. That isn’t to imply it was easy, only that it was done. Recently I’ve accepted there was more damage done than I was perhaps was willing to admit and there is still a long way to go. These next steps are more than I can do on my own and though I’ve known that for a long time now, I admit the time has come to make the call.

Hoping to see a change soon in the fight against Covid-19. There are still people dying every day and there is still so much more we can all do. I’m hoping those who are hesitant on getting the vaccine are able to find the clarity they need and those who refuse to wear masks consider those who are vulnerable around them. I hope this winter will not bring the same level of loss we had over the last.


All in all, this October was a month of extremes. My family has seen some terrifying times these past weeks but found time for laughter and memory-making too. I worked more hours than I have in a long time, but found a whole week in which to rest and take time for me and my loved ones. I’ve been up. I’ve been down. I’ve been all over the place! I’ve been scared, but I’ve been oh so grateful too.

But what about you? What ups and downs have you been through this October? What did you choose for your Halloween costume? What new memories have you made? What old fears will you face? Are you ready for the stress of the holiday season?

Let me know in the comments.


Currently // October 2019: The Springtime of Death

“Although I was born in April, I’m quite certain I was not fully awake until October~” 

Peggy Toney Horton, Stop the World and Get Off

I have, and always have had, a love/hate relationship with the month of October. It’s a time of morbid beauty and dark reflections, a time of warm colors, cozy sweaters, vivid flavors, and stunning natural beauty. It’s a time to slow down, to be grateful, and to be kind. It is a time of change, when the world begins to turn cold, barren, and dark. October, the prime of autumn, truly is the “springtime of death“.

This particular October went by way too fast. Halloween is my favorite holiday but I barely got to enjoy it at all. Most years I make it a month long affair but this October I got one good party in and that was all. No haunted houses, no spooky movie parties, no new tattoos! I didn’t even get around to watching The Shining, my favorite Halloween season film. No, I spent the month feeling tired and down. I was working too much and so were my friends. This year’s festivities were a bust, but that’s okay. I plan on having many more, anyway.

And now it is time for November, a time when true winter begins to move and and the holiday season officially begins. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite time of year. I’m no can of turkey, holiday music, shopping for gifts, or snow, but I don’t want to spend the next few months grouchy and grumblings. I want to focus on what I do like. I like family gatherings, Christmas trees, and gift receiving at least. I suppose I can start there and learn to get into the holiday spirit!

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing blog posts for National Blog Posting Month, or, more accurately NaNo Poblano, a very unofficial version of the same thing. I started 2019 with the hope that by this time in the year I would be putting the final touches on a NaNoWriMo outline but sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I’ve learned that I’m simply not ready to write that book. Basically, I still have a lot to learn. I’m beginning to see sense the depth of what I do not know, and it is vast. So, in the meantime, I’m doing NaBloPoMo instead. I’m keeping up my daily writing habit but working towards writing things of more substance too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages, still. I didn’t get to sit quietly in the creativity room making things out of other people’s words and images. I’m working on doing it more often though because it really does help. It helps to unplug and to remember that you can still make things without a screen. It helps to calm my anxieties and to help me forget my disappointment too. I guess collage would be my true hobby then which actually makes me feel better about considering writing as my work. Writing feels good, but it doesn’t feel like that.

Planning for the holidays. I’ve already said I’m no fan of this time of year but I’ve still got to get through it, same as every year, but this time I’d like to do my best to be proactive and get the worst parts out of the way as soon as possible. This year I would really like to get my shopping done early and to plan all the goodies I’d like to cook and bake for everyone before it’s too late. I want to get the Christmas tree up right away, and to schedule time to spend with my friends now before time gets away.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, still, but I am so close to being done. If I could stick to my scheduled reading times every day, or even most days, it wouldn’t have taken to long. In my defense though the book is incredibly long and quite technical. It’s not an easy read, and it’s harder to sustain excitement for this kind of reading than it is for fiction. I’m hoping by the first week of November I’ll be on to something new and by this time next month I’ll have a few new books to tell you about.

Watching a lot of T.V. I shouldn’t be watching. What I mean is, a lot more hours in October were lost on the living room couch than I feel good about. I watched The Watchmen on HBO, a new superhero drama that picks up 34 after the comic book and the movie of the same name. I’ve finished Mindhunter on Netflix, the crime series chronicling the formation of the FBI’s behavioral crime unit. I also finished Peacher on AMC, another comicbook based series about a bad-ass preacher Jesse Custer, his girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, and his vampire side-kick, Cassidy as they search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still, but I hope by this time next month to be finished with at least one of them. I’ve been slacking big time in this department too but I’ve also made a lot of progress. I’m just struggling to stay focused, motivated, and interested. I’m ready to move on but, obviously, the only way to move on is to get through it. I think that’s the lesson I want to take into November most of all.

Feeling down. Seasonal depression is a real pain in the ass, you know? It’s only going to get worse with the time change coming this weekend. I’ve already been experiencing lethargy, sleep problems, lower than usual self esteem, and extreme irritability. I know from experience that hopelessness will set in next and the winter gloom will feel like all that has been and all that will be. I’ll fight it, I always do, and friends and family, laughter, good food, and writing will get me through, but the person I am now won’t be back until spring.

Anticipating some fun events I have planned. I have tickets to a performance of Twelfth Night and for the new (and last) Star Wars film in the Skywalker series, but both aren’t until December. I have nothing planned for November but I think I should try to come up with something besides Thanksgiving, something I want to do, something big! It helps to get out even when the clouds are hanging around and the air is bitter cold. Having something to look forward to reminds you time is moving, you are moving, and things will change for the better, eventually.

Reflecting on how I came to be the person I am today. It’s suddenly occurred to me recently that I was once a small child, and I did things that all small children do, but for some reason I cannot reconcile that version of myself with who I am today except through very, very small increments and incidents, many of which I do not even remember. Sometimes I’m able to reflect beyond my little life and see concretely how who my parents were (how they were shaped) and their parents before them and on into the past and out into society has shaped me too. I am the product of a long line of events, experiences, and ideas so vast it feels like a kind of infinity.

Fearing the end of the year. On the one hand, I’m eager to say goodbye to 2019. I’m ready to start over, but on the other hand, I know that I had plenty of time to be a new me all this year and I didn’t. I’m afraid to end the year because I know I’ll be ending it with a lot of regret and I predict that I will begin the new one with my same old flaws and weaknesses. I’m afraid to end and begin every year just as I am right now, only older, more afraid, and rapidly running out of time.

Hating the way people perceive me sometimes. I’ve noticed that at work, whenever I try to express my needs or boundaries, or give someone constructive criticism people react as if I am admonishing them harshly even if I speak in calm tones and take on a healthy dose of reassurance at the end. There are other people around me and almost all in positions higher than mine who are much more severe in their reprimands and direction but somehow I’m the one who earned the reputation of being a “hard-ass” and that reputation is beginning to precede me too. I hate it because I suspect it is tied to my gender.

Loving my job. Don’t get me wrong, it has definitely been a stressful month there. I’m taking on a lot more responsibility now than I ever have in the past but I’m not the only one. Everyone is taking on more because there have been less of us around to carry the load but it’s easier to lift more when everyone is lifting together. I’m doing my part to make it better and that feels good. People are noticing my work and that feels good too. I’m excited to move forward and for the possibility of moving up too. I’m grateful for every opportunity and for every understanding and allowance too.

Needing talent. I have a desire but not much talent and without the aha! moments and the great ideas flowing desire turns quickly into disappointment. I love writing but I wasn’t born a writer. I’ve just want to become one someday and that has meant condemning myself to grueling work and psychological pain. I have doubts. I have regrets. I have failures and false starts. I wish I was someone with an unstoppable drive, a genius for whom the craft comes easily, someone who simply knows what to do and how to do it well. I just need a little of that or some small certainty that I will find it one day.

Hoping for an easy holiday season. This year has been one of the most stressful in recent memory and I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way, but I am beginning to feel burned out and longing very much for a bit of peace. The holiday season is, of course, not that time, but I hope this one will be easier than the rest. I hope there will be no family fighting, resentments, or misunderstandings. I hope gift shopping will be easy and I hope in the end I’ll feel like I did enough.


So, yeah, all in all, October was an okay month, not bad, but not as good as I’d hoped either. I’m disappointed I couldn’t make more of it but little all things, writing down helps to let it go. I can move into November with a clearer head and a few lessons learned.

But what about you? Did you enjoy the spooky season? How did you celebrate? Are you growing increasingly depressed as winter draws nearer too? How are you planning to spend the winter holidays this year?

Let me know in the comments.

“Golden October declined into sombre November…”

— T.S. Eliot


The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love

Photo by Kerstin Wrba on Unsplash