A life update! What does that even mean? I love when I leave myself these very vague notes about blog posts and then kind of have to muddle through what I might have actually meant. I think a life update is probably to let you know where I’m at right now after the break in August? Sure!

climbing & yoga

It’s strange to me that this is the first thing we’re talking about in a life update, but considering it’s mostly taken over my life for the month of August, it makes sense that we’re starting here. Both my writing, reading, and blogging has been affected by the uptick in my climbing & yoga, and I may be exhausted and burning the candle at both ends, but this wouldn’t be a life update if I wasn’t honest.

Back in May, toward the end of the month, when I was first beginning to teach and go to the gym again, the owner of CRG, Raff, reached out to ask if the fitness & yoga teachers wanted additional classes. I am always an enthusiastic person, so I responded with a lot of ideas, which was probably overwhelming in retrospect and why nothing actually came of it until about July. It might have gone on longer, too, with all of us kind of being wishy washy about it, but then my old yoga boss, Jenny, admitted that she was not going to be opening a studio again for the foreseeable future, and that kind of kicked my butt in high gear. I will definitely admit that I had been waiting for Barefoot to open again, albeit in a different location, and when Jenny said absolutely not, I reached back out to Raff and was basically like, “Let me teach! All the days! Please and thank you!”

And thus started the insanity. At first, it wasn’t so bad. I was already teaching Mondays, so I’d just be adding on Thursday & Saturday. That was almost back to my normal schedule from the before times, and I was pretty hyped. People were coming to class regularly, and all of them were excited about additional classes. It was a lot, but I was happy. I’m not unhappy right now, either, it’s just that two big things were added onto my week unexpectedly. I talk about this a little in my wrap-up, but the gym is hosting a pseudo-Olympics in which we have different events for five weeks. An interest in having me there had been floated, but no one actually confirmed anything, so then, on a Monday two days before the first event, someone offhandedly mentioned they’d see me on Wednesday, and I was like come again? We got everything squared away pretty quickly, but I was suddenly on deck for the next five weeks for a four hour shift that I was not prepared for.

In addition, the other yoga teacher got in a pretty bad accident (she’s okay) one week in, and I’ve taken over her yoga class for the foreseeable future until she heals up. Thus, though I was doing pretty good previously, I was now suddenly teaching Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Sat with the four hours of summer games tacked onto Wednesday, and I am very, very tired. You can see how this started to effect the other parts of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being at the gym. I love climbing so much, my favorite part of the week is teaching yoga, and the summer games have been a blast. It is a bummer that my class starts at 7, so about half of the time, I just end up sitting in my car for an hour after work while I wait for the time to pass because someone’s not available to climb with me, but the other half of the time, I’m on the wall for two hours before class, and it’s amazing. The summer games have been chaotic in the best way, too, and I’m just so grateful to have a place to go and let loose.

But it has been a lot, and I’ve definitely seen everything else in my life take a hit because of the increased time at the gym. Thankfully, the summer games have come to an end, and though I’m still teaching on Wednesdays, I am getting home earlier, and those four extra hours are making a world of difference.

writing

Perhaps not the best idea to write a taxing book while my life is also being taxing, but here we are! I’ve talked about my current project a little here and there, but here is the long of it:

  • Andreas Leui was born in 356 BC, on the same exact day as Alexander the Great. At 10, they were introduced to each other, and they became fast friends for several years before, inevitably, they began to fall in love. They might have had a romance to span decades, too, if not for the monster lurking in Andreas’ undead heart and Alexander’s relentless desire for war.
  • When Alexander died, Andreas retreated from a social life and wandered the country for a century, heartbroken, furious, and alone. He began to build a community of vampires, slowly but surely, until, when Philip V came into power in Greece, he felt ready again to come home and provide aid to his country.
  • The same story would unravel again and again. Andreas would fall in love with a human king, who would promise him peace and demand war of him, instead. Sometimes, there would be those, like Aurelian, who would want nothing more than quietness to return to, but other times, there would be those, like Leonidas, that would rage against anything soft and push until they broke. And, for two thousand years, Andreas gave his heart to eight different men–kings, emperors, soldiers, and a single artist.

And that is Andrew’s story! He eventually becomes Andrew during the seventh lover, I believe? I know him best as Andrew, so it’s been an adjustment getting used to writing him as Andreas. I’m currently on his third lover, and it’s been interesting. Conceptually, I knew how long his story was going to be. Alexander was plotted at about 40k words, and he came right in at that. Alexander & Thanasis (eight) are meant to be the longest of them, and Rafael (nine) is a book all in his own. The other lovers, two through seven, were meant to be shorter, though not by a whole lot. Philip ended up coming in at around 30k, and it was then that I started to actually understand how long this was going to be.

When I started writing Andrew’s story, I had zero plans to care about the overall word count. I did want to give an appropriate amount to each lover, so I have been very specific with the plotting of each one, but I didn’t want to try to fit it into a normal-sized novel. Eventually, this thing is probably going to be three or four novels’ worth, which is totally fine, I’m here for it, I don’t plan on trying to publish this until well into my career. I need to be established and for my readers to trust me before I try to drop this insanity on them. Like, oh, you’re enjoying these witches who accidentally summon a demon and this psycho researcher from the 30s who makes deals by playing the cello? Well, guess what, I’ve got a two thousand year old vampire with not a whole lot of plot for you.

There is a plot, it’s just–the plot is literally just Andrew’s life told through the lens of his lovers, and it’s perfect for him, but it’s going to take some foundation building before I can get there. I think I needed that foundation building, too, because it’s been about six years in my head with Andrew, and I’m only just now sitting down to write his story, and I definitely think I needed that time before I could actually do this because wow, this is exhausting. I’m having an amazing time, and I really love telling Andrew’s story, but I’m 80k deep, and I’m nowhere near the end, and that’s daunting. So, like, the combo of overwhelming my body with physical activity and overwhelming my mind with Andrew’s story is not great, not gonna lie.

That said, I have been pulling back a bit on Andrew’s story, and I’m not trying to force myself to write every day, so we’ve been getting a long a lot better in the last couple of weeks. I’m allowing myself to take more breaks and to just admit that I’m not going to write this in one year. I’ll probably be working on it well into 2022, and I’m okay with that. This is the right way to tell his story, and I’m going to give him all the time he needs. He’s been kicking around for two thousand years, so I can spend two unraveling it.

reading

I’ve definitely talked about all that’s going on with my reading lately, and I think, honestly, it’s one of the biggest factors in pulling away from the blog for a month break. Much like writer’s block, I don’t really believe in reading slumps, but I do think that may be because of my Aries tendencies. I recently told someone that I greatly enjoyed being constantly busy, and he asked if I was just doing a lot to mask not addressing other things, and I won’t lie, I felt a little put off by that. I can say, with confidence, that it’s been a long time since I hid beneath doing things so I didn’t have to tackle whatever I was going through because I can also say, with extreme confidence, that I do not thrive well with an idle mind or hands. I like to be busy. I like to have a lot to do. I get very frustrated and upset very quickly when I don’t have a lot to do. And that’s not me not addressing my emotions, I promise, because ya girl still gets angry plenty and cries a lot and laughs so hard it hurts and all the in betweens. I am always feeling my feelings, and I like to stay busy because I will actually go stir crazy otherwise.

I don’t believe in blaming your problems on the planets, and, technically, our star signs are bullshit since the stars are always shifting, but I am a fire sign through and through. Almost to the point of being worrisome at times. Thus, whenever I hit this mythical writer’s block, I just work on something else. When Andrew really started bugging me, I hopped over to the contemporary that I’d left behind a few months prior, and that held my attention for about a week before I decided it was time to start drafting blog posts and take a break that way. When June truly tried to kick me straight in the ass, and then some, with reading, I switched out of contemporary and into Shadowhunters. It was 700+ pages long, so it was going to take me a hellish amount of time to read it, but I enjoyed those two weeks of slowly crawling through the end of The Dark Artifices like you wouldn’t believe.

And so, despite the fact that I hated most of the books I read in June, I didn’t enter a slump in July, I just didn’t read a lot of books. I let myself slow down and enjoy the big fantasy tomes that I’d been waiting to read for a while, but I won’t lie and say that June didn’t have any effect. Because not only did I dislike the books I was reading, I didn’t like the movies we were watching, and I hadn’t yet picked up my new yoga schedule or quite worked out what my frustrated feelings were toward Andrew. All of those things started happening in July, but it was taking its sweet time to the point that I didn’t even want to talk about the books I was reading, and here we are now, after a month off.

Obviously, with the schedule I’ve got going, I’m still not reading a ton, but I’m actually enjoying what I’m reading, I’ve shelved most of the rest of my contemporaries for a much later date, and I’m just letting myself drift from fantasy to fantasy. I’ve finally tackled some books I’ve been meaning to for ages, I am so close to finishing my Shadowhunters goal for this year, and I liked more books than I disliked in August, so yay!

Like everything else in my life right now, we’re on an upswing back into a good zone. I think that taking a break from the blog was much needed while everything else got a little hectic, and now that things are settling again, I’ve been having a blast writing posts for this month. As of right now, when I’m drafting this, on 8/19, every single post for September has been written. I can’t believe that. It’s been literal months since the last time I was fully prepared for an upcoming month like this. And, not only that, but I’ve actually begun writing out the October ones, too, and I’ve got ideas for about half of the posts in November & December. Things are looking great, y’all! I’m excited to be back, and I can’t wait to dive into September’s books.

How have you been lately?

Posted by:Mary Drover

she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

2 replies on “A Life Update!

  1. Never get into reading slumps- there may be days where I don’t read, but still usually still in the middle of a book

    September’s reads- was still working on Wundersmith. Plus- one major highlight already happened- Parish Retreat over Labor Day Weekend

    Liked by 1 person

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