The Inside of October

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year, and despite being an election year I hope this year’s fall season doesn’t sneak by unnoticed. With holidays approaching and less work to do outside and in the garden, I feel like I can focus more on the inside. Unfortunately this year of Covid has forced all of us inside longer than we would have liked, but here we did try to make the most of outside while we could in the spring and summer.

We still planted flowers. We started vegetable gardening again, and purchased large hand-made planter boxes so we could do it above ground. I installed a garden tub for fish and plants. I still kept fish in the pond again this year.

My mother visited and stayed with us for two weeks in May. I got to spend a week with her in February to assist her during recovery from a hip replacement, and again in early August when she decided to go ahead and have the other hip replaced.

Inside, I finished writing and editing my most recent novel just as spring was approaching. This is a decade old project that I was determined to finish this year. I drafted numerous proposals and query letters through the spring and summer, and I sent them out almost every week. Last week, an agent asked to see the full manuscript!

In Summer, I became intrigued with some script writing software and decided to give it a free trial run to write a play. I enjoyed the process so much and churned out my 100 page script before the end of the 30 day trial, so I bought the software. I’m already thinking about another play I want to write this winter.

In July and August, I did a short story challenge where I set out to write ten short stories in ten weeks. It had been years since I wrote a short story, so I enjoyed this project very much and it was very refreshing to work on and complete each story.

Now, I’ve recently returned to another old project, a novel I started in August 2018 and set aside late last year to finish the other novel I mentioned earlier. I recently wrote to a friend that it’s been nice having all of these unfinished manuscripts to return to throughout this year. Sometimes stepping away from something and returning to it with a fresh set of eyes helps the creative process.

And then there is my tropical fish hobby which turned 1 year old in August. As a teen at home, I tended to numerous fish tanks and abandoned the hobby when I went off to college. I started it up again last year when my pond fish spawned and I wanted to bring all of the baby fish inside for the winter. They were kept in two tanks in our basement. I now have five tanks in the basement, two upstairs, and one on my desk at work! But I love them and tending to the fish has allowed for much solace from the chaos swarming about this year.

I’ve read 30 books (so far) this year. I typically read one or two physical books, while also listening to one on audio at the same time. Reading has always been a passion of mine, and I am still, always, eager to begin a new book once one is complete. You can check out my reading list here.

I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I could keep working. Still, my year has been uncomfortable but not as bad as others. I’ve remained healthy, and friends and loved ones around me have too.

So, looking into October and reflecting back on this year, I am positive about good things to come, but it is the creativity and the hope in my work and hobbies that keep me going during this time when the days grow shorter and the temperatures fall.

What keeps you going? What are you experiencing right now, on the inside?

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